Friday, December 23, 2011

Cinematic newyear's wishes from Filmersblog!

I have no idea if I'm able to post from where I'm going so things might be rather quiet for the next few days. But for now I want to thank all my visitors for their attention and wish you a great x-mas and an incredibly cinematic newyear!

My goal for 2012? To finish at least one (independent) film and have it broadcasted and/or selected for a major film festival!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

HDR for video on Canon DSLR's?

Apparently Magic Lantern has created something Magical- again. Check the video.

and some sample footage:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shooting Black & White

B/W straight out of camera

desaturated color image

I'm considering shooting part of a new documentary in black&white and am weighing the cons and pros of shooting black and white or shooting color and making it B/W in postproduction.

An obvious advantage of shooting color is the fact that you can decide later to go color or B/W. But I would think that shooting B/W would produce a better image for 2 reasons:

  1. hardware and software work together to produce the same image
  2. it's always better to shoot with final output in mind
On the other hand, I've read that the sensor is a color sensor and the processor turns it into B/W. In that case, you might as well shoot color. If you had a 'dedicated B/W sensor' it would be a different thing...

Here's a guy who's produced an interesting B/W image. The only drawback is that it requires you to shoot in EX Tele mode (100% zoom) on the GH2. With the APS-C crop-factor you need a wildly wide lens to be able to shoot indoors... But it's an interesting experiment:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fade out for my Fader ND..?

My first Nature Fader ND in better days...
Will I ever see my Nature Fader ND filter..? It's been 2,5 months since I ordered it from China. A month earlier I ordered from the same company and it arrived within a month. (Unfortunately it also deceased within two weeks...) I received a tracktrace# that is not known by China Post nor any other mail deliverer, for that matter...
The seller tells me I'll get my money back if he receives the undelivered package... Customer service, China stylee..? I guess I'm going to contact PayPal to settle this one for me...

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas present for my SmallHD DP4

SmallHD is offering some good stuff to their customers at less-than-wholesale prices! It's a bundle package for owners of a SmallHD DP4 monitor, consisting of:

  1. a long awaited alternative battery plate (I opted for the Sony NPF-series plate but there's one for AA-batteries or Nikon batteries as well)
  2. a wired remote control (nice!)
  3. a protective lens cover (no more burning up your screen with old eyecup)
  4. a newly designed eyecup (no more worries about sunburning your screen- very nice!!)
  5. extra 1.5 ft hdmi cable
  6. extra protective cover
  7. plastic prying tool
  8. cleaning cloth
And all of that for US $34,- including shipping worldwide! Needless to say I didn't have to wait long to jump on this offer! Why, Merry Christmas to you, too, SmallHD!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A 'documentary lens' for the GH2

I'll be starting filming for a new documentary pretty soon and I am researching what lens would best complement some lenses I intend to use. My Panasonic Lumix 20 mm 1.7 is the one for wide shots, establishing, the Canon FD 50mm 1.4 for interviews and then I want a zoomlens for run 'n gun. I'm thinking the Panasonic 14-140 because it has received positive reviews (especially for video purposes), it's a versatile lens and with the new firmware (touch-)focus is supposedly even faster. It's not a fast lens at 4.0 but with the Pannie 20mm at 1.7 and the Canon at 1.4 I should have that base covered.
I'm primarily looking for a lens that will get me out of a tight situation, whereby I can reframe without moving and that will focus fast and accurately without external monitors. Another reason to buy Pannie lenses is because I think the 20mm 1.7 is a lovely lens. I love the 'velvety' yet sharp look.
The Panasonic 14-140 not what you'd call an affordable lens at €680,- but I should be able to get a better deal on a used copy on eBay. Or I can buy a body plus 14-140 lens because they are cheaper as a set and then sell the body...

If anyone has suggestions for a good zoomlens that meets above requirements, let me know!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wrong bag, great price!

I bought the Crumpler Seven Million Dollar bag and just received it. One of the main reasons for buying it was that it would hold my Sony PMW-EX1R. But it doesn't... And I'm to blame because I didn't read the specs carefully enough.(it's a bit confusing because different sites will give you different specs.)
So now I'm stuck with a bag that won't do what I bought it for. I was going to sell it right away but I really like the look of this bag and it has some features my Crumpler 8000 doesn't have. For one, it's bigger. Secondly, it has more pockets. Thirdly, it has  a few nice other features like loops for hanging a monopod on and the choice not to use velcro (which makes a lot of noise when you may not want that). So I'll probably sell my Messenger Boy 8000 and keep this one.
(yes, Ton, you were right, don't rub it in! ;-)

Oh, and if you want to go ahead an buy this bag, I found it more than $10,- cheaper than the already great price I got at Oribags! 


Friday, December 16, 2011

These guys are giving away ALL their FCP tutorials...

One thing I've learned in all my years of FCP use is that you've never learned enough and there are many ways to achieve the same thing. So when you're still working with FCP 7, I'm sure you're going to get a lot of pleasure out of these tutorials. Compliments of Genius DV, who decided to give away all of their FCP and a bunch of Motion tutorials. Here's one for all the 'Trekkies' amongst us. (aka Star Trek-fans)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mailbox: (un-)original Canon batteries...

This is a very interesting phenomenon: usually they tell you you're getting the real thing but you're buying clones... In this case they told me these batteries are 'not original' but they seem to be the real thing. These batteries say 'Canon' and they even sent the 'original' Canon boxes along, as 'proof' that I'm really getting Canon batteries.
I realized I needed some extra batteries for my SmallHD DP4 monitor after I was on a job a few weeks ago and realized I had only 3 batteries for the entire day. That should be enough but I was feeling a little anxious about running out of juice and that's very distracting. My motto is:

                                           "Bring twice as much juice as you expect to use."

If these are the real McCoy, US $16,- a piece (shipped) is a very decent price. I'll keep you posted on their performance.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Canon & Nikon are killing eachother...

It's a little juvenile for my taste but an A for effort. Since this is made in Amsterdam (hometown of Filmersblog) by 32 members of a Dutch electronics forum called Tweakers, I thought it deserved a place on the blog...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Anyone for Carrot Juice..?

What can I say..? It's disgusting, it's funny, it's crazy and... it's a shitload of work, I'm sure. But someone had to do it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The customer is always right...

..even if he's wrong.
What do you do if your customer has very different ideas about what is considered a very common transition? Or wants a certain shot replaced 'because he says so'? Wants to replace the soundtrack of your film with music you've tried to avoid listening to your entire life? Wants to ruin the rhythm and mood of your piece by adding a powerpoint presentation?
Wants to put this guy in the film not because he actually has something to contribute but because it's his boss..?
What if your customer has no taste at all? Wants all christmas trees turned pink & yellow? Wants all humans replaced by monkeys? Wants four versions of the same film so he can decide which one he likes best? So what do you do?

You just do it. Why? Because he's paying the bill and it's his film- you can be an artist in your own time... (This article is a reminder to myself...)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nice bag, great price

Did I mention I have somewhat of a bag-fetish..? I love bags almost as much as my wife does- and that says a lot... The difference is that my bags are functional and tax-deductible whereas my wife's bags are often disfunctional and disposable...
My bags are mostly 'work-bags': bags to hold & protect camera's and other gear. I have six bags just lying in my office and another 4 bags in my closet.
Now today I received an email from a company called Oribags. Usually I throw these ads out but when I spotted a picture of a Crumpler bag in the email, my attention was grabbed. It turns out they had a special deal going on for a messenger type bag called the Six Million Dollar Bag for US $69,90. Now I already have a Crumpler and I love the quality. But I want a bigger model as well. The Six Million Dollar Bag is a fairly big, waterproof, well-cushioned camerabag. I wanted the biggest model they had and when I searched their website I found and ordered the Seven Million Dollar Bag for 79,90 shipped. Considering B&H sells these bags for $145,- that is an excellent price!
This bag will serve double-duty: not only will it hold one or two DSLR's with a few lenses but it will also hold my Sony EX1R videocamera if I don't want to bring my full-fledged Petrol camerabag.
With this latest acquisition I have 'a bag for every occasion', as my wife likes to say...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mailbox: Manfrotto hybrid mono/tripod BHDV-1

Manfrotto BHDV-1 and 550D/T2i
I finally received my Manfrotto BHDV-1 today, a good 2 months after I ordered it. I guess these things have become sort of a collector's item, considering their short-supply and the fact that Calumet now charges €135,- more than the €250,- two months ago?! (a typo?)
Just unboxing this monopod was a delight because I immediately felt how light it was: this is really THE camera-support system if you want to move quick but can't -or don't to want to- work with a shouldersupport device.
I took it out to the park today with my Canon 550D/T2i with the Tamron 17-50 zoom lens and it works like a charm. Apart from obvious advantages like mobility and light weight, it is also more practical in setting up your system in tight places. I set up behind a tree or in the shrubs where I would not have been able to set up my tripod. I could do pans, tilts and follow focus very smoothly, even zoomed in. The ballhead at the base allows for pans and slight tilts while the small fluid head on top enables 'true' tilt action.

ballhead for smooth panning- and slight tilting
561 BHDV fluid head: simple and effective

I doubt I'll be using this tripod for camera's other than DSLR's and the fluid head performs as desired. Simple and effective with fixed drag. The 561BHDV head has a maximum load capacity of 4 kg so I could easily mount my Sony EX1-R videocamera onto it.
This monopod goes up to 200 centimeter and down to 76 cm so you can get all the height you want. Because it's so light, it's so much easier to get unusual angles like high shots above the crowd or extreme low (walking) shots by holding the monopod upside down, for instance.
The Manfrotto BHDV-1 is a true hybrid between a monopod and a tripod: I wish I had discovered this little gem earlier. You can buy the monopod without the fluidhead at €147,- and then mount a small, cheap head like the Fancier 717 (aka Weifeng), for instance. Considering that this option at Calumet Holland is €240 (!) cheaper than the BHDV-1, you should be able to buy a nice Chinese fluid head and have a similar setup at less than half the price of the Manfrotto BHDV-1. (If you want nothing but the BHDV-1, it's worth shopping around for this system. This store sells it for €100,- cheaper than Calumet)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Turn 2D into 3D

This is some amazing effect and it can really draw you into the story- literally. (Incidentally: I read a piece yesterday which claimed that it was scientifically proven that 3D sells- literally. 3D commercials apparently result in selling something like 40-60% more than 2D. As long as you don't have to wear the stupid goggles, which really turns me -and a lot of other people- off of 3D...)
Anyway, if you can't afford to shoot 3D or don't want to shoot 3D, you can always see if you can manipulate 2D images to look like 3D. Pretty cool.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

FREE Magic Bullet presets pack

A lot of tails start wagging when the word 'free' enters the equation. In this case that's entirely justified because Brent Pierce has done a very nice job of creating a collection of Magic Bullet 'Awesome Looks'. The only thing that's expected of you is retweet the word, have a copy of Magic Bullet Looks and act like a dog who's just gotten a nice, juicy bone...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

25P for the Panasonic GH2!

The firmware upgrade is here! 25P at 24Mbps. Now I can shoot broadcast material with my little GH2, cut it with other 25P material. Higher standard bitrate, too! And a bunch of other improvements:
  1. Added a video mode [HIGH BIT RATE] which is suitable for editing video recorded at high bit rate(24Mbps).
  2. Added a function [POWER ZOOM LENS] when using power zoom lens.
  3. Full area enlargement of AF area setting.
  4. Improved in the speed of consecutive shooting when shot with auto bracket.
  5. Increased number of recordable images in consecutive shooting.
  6. [EX.TELE CONV. (Extra Tele Conversion)] can be set ON/OFF separately in photo or video recording.
  7. More accurate light adjustment of built-in flash.
  8. Improved in the AF performance in video recording.
  9. Synchronization of alarm volume for low battery with [BEEP VOLUME].
  10. Added a function [HALF PRESS RELEASE].
  11. Improved NR (Noise Reduction) in high sensitivity shooting.
  12. Added a function [TOUCH SCREEN] which is ON/OFF control of touch-screen.
* Available with LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. only.
Click here to notice page about firmware update.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The end of the DSLR era..?

This sign scores high on the Monty Python-index. Interesting... technically I could bring my Sony EX1R, a really lo-res piece of junk compared to these hi-res DSLR's, and be left alone! But what is the reasoning behind this? Copyright? Safety? Fear of high-quality camera's? There is no reason because there is no idea behind this! It's infinitely silly!! Let's swarm the London tube with lo-res camera's! Or, let's get really naughty and organize a DSLR meetup with Philip Bloom, take the subway and get us all arrested!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Warm and funny

Love just about everything about this video: it's British, humorous, great timing, well written, looks spiffy and... it's short.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Explosive material

After seeing this extreme slomo footage of things blowing to pieces, my kids told me I should go out and buy one of these camera's. Anyone know of a used Phantom lying around that I can snatch up for a few bucks..?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mailbox: Neat Video

There are still some things that are magic. They make you look at technology in awe. I had heard people raving about a Final Cut Pro plugin that removes unwanted noise called Neat Video. I never really needed it but now somehow some unwanted grain/noise was introduced to footage I shot recently. I have no idea how or why it showed up but it needed to go... Neat Video took care of business. It is simply magic. And it does it without degrading the image in any way- as if you were shooting RAW. Or, as if you shot it that way in the first place. It's not a cheap plugin but the same goes for your reputation... ;-)
I bought a license for FCP 7 but that works in Motion 5 as well, I have been told. Take a look at this demonstration shot at 10.000 ISO(!) on a hacked Panasonic GH2.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I've always had a soft spot for the Cam Caddie. It's small, cheap (only $40,-), multi-functional and it looks like some kind of bug. It's just that I've had too many other stabilizers and rigs to ever go out and buy one, but this little bugger could prove a very worthwhile little 'cage'.
You can mount just about anything onto it: lights, mics, monitors, handles. It serves like a stabilizer and will get you smooth, low-angle shots. And last but not least: it protects your camera, sort of... You can also secure the camera between the platform and the handle with these special lockout kits (ridiculously expensive- this screams for DIY!) to get a nice, stiff rig when working with heavier camera's and/or gear. If you don't have a cage, rig or money, give this a shot. As I said, they're $40 new but you can often find them used on eBay for half!

Here's an old-school promo video on the Cam Caddie (cheap and effective, just like the cam caddie!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What do RED M-X, Phantom, GH2, 5D, and HVX-200 have in common?

... a man called Shian Storm, who put together a demo-reel with footage from all these camera's. Guess what... most of it is shot on a GH2!