Philip Bloom http://philipbloom.net Filmmaker, DP, Director Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:16:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 “City on the rise”: New mini doco shot as part of the series “We The Economy” now live! http://philipbloom.net/2014/10/23/wetheeconomy/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/10/23/wetheeconomy/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:14:21 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32480 600x315_second_shooter

I met director Albert Hughes (Dead Presidents, From Hell, Book of Eli) a few years ago between shooting Red Tails. We met in Prague and talked about working together one day. I shot my short beauty piece “Prague” whilst there.

In the spring of this year I got a call for him about shooting a short doc for him which would be part of a series of  films, produced by Paul Allen and Morgan Spurlock.

 

Screenshot 2014-09-30 19.52.05The series “We The Economy” consists of 20 shorts with the focus on the US economy, made by well-known filmmakers and told using all sorts of styles and genres. From narrative fiction to animation, to more traditional documentary (like our film).

The film I made with director Albert Hughes, who is originally from Detroit, was about globalisation and focused on what has happened to Detroit and what the future holds for it. It was to be shot of a few days in the city consisting of 2 days of interviews followed by 3 or 4 days of b-roll.

I will write more very soon when I get some time as I am currently filming a documentary in India, in the meantime here are the tech details:

Interview cameras were C100 with Atomos Ninja Blade and 1DC with Atomos Ninja Star. B-Roll cameras were A7s, GH4 and GoPro 3+.

Interviews were lit with the Cineo TruColour LS. PB Pocket Dolly from Kessler Crane with Parallax also used in interviews for B camera.

Below are some BTS photos with the gear and more interestingly some frames from the film! :)

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If you are wondering why LT it was because production requested it. It’s a damn good codec and great for the straight filming we were doing.

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I used the DP7 Pro High Bright from Small HD with LUTS so Albert could see the black and white grade live whilst shooting but still recording in C-Log colour.

Director Albert Hughes LOVES his limes!

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The trailer has just been released, which you can watch here. Our film is the last one featured. Some of the stuff from the other filmmakers looks fantastic. Personally I can’t wait to see them. I wonder if ours will be the only one that isn’t funny!! :)

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The GoPro 4 real world evolving review…. Part 1: Initial fiddling http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/29/gopro4/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/29/gopro4/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:02:44 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32411 600x315_second_shooter

 

Please keep checking back, as this post is a work in progress. I will be adding my initial thoughts and then continuing. It will be oldest at the top, newest below. Like a diary. There won’t be a formal video review, as there is simply no time to do one. This series I am shooting is giving me around 6-7 days off in total for the rest of the year! So it’s squeeze in a few words when I can.

I will share as much native stuff as possible but also share some stuff that I have cut and graded. Again, keep checking back, as I will constantly be adding stuff.

To start us off, here are two clips. Both showcasing one of the key features: 4K in usable frame rates of 24, 25p and 30p!

The car one can be downloaded as a native clip for any Vimeo pro or plus users.

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Initials shots with GoPro 4 in 4K with DJI Phantom 2 with Lightbridge from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

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PROLOGUE

I have been using GoPros since the first Hero HD. They have now of course taken over the action camera world, and deservedly so. Naturally they have gotten better with every generation. The last one, the 3+ is terrific.

The thing is GoPros have never been a primary form of camera due to my type of work. After all, I am not a base jumper, skier, surfer etc etc…this is what they have primarily become used for. My use of GoPros had been for attaching to things. People….cars…etc…

A lot changed for me though, when I used my 3+ in conjunction with something else, A DJI Phantom 2, and the result was magical for me, like a whole new dawn of freedom when it came to filmaking. The was also the first complete GoPro piece I have made! I had done some tests prior to this and some fun little time lapses but never anything considered like this.

The GoPro will never become my main camera – it will always be for specialist stuff like flying or underwater, but as a tool I have always loved it, and I am always desperate for a new one as I know the improvements will be much needed! The GoPro is an essential part of my kit, and if it’s gotten a lot better then I will be very happy! :)

Koh Yao Noi from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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Same connections on side

Same connections on side

 

IMPROVEMENTS?

The things that bugged me about the 3+ that I hoped would be rectified.

Low light performance

Battery performance

Lack of manual control

Usable 4K frame rates

120 fps onto 720p

The lack of a back button for menus, as they are fiddly.

and probably lots more…

I received the GoPro 4 at the end of last week just after getting home from filming at the Dead Sea for a week. I have been eagerly awaiting this for ages. Just how many of the above things would be improved? What else might we get?

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The aim of this evolving review/ post is to go through the differences to see just what has been improved and what hasn’t. I will also take a look at the new features and try them out. It will take me time, as I will be finding this out whilst actually using the camera on this documentary series I am shooting for CNN. So if this post/ review feels unfinished, that’s because it is and will be added to continually.

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My observations when setting it up where as follows:

Thankfully the camera shape has not changed. There is a new battery compartment with a new shaped battery with larger capacity, at the bottom of the GoPro instead of the back. The GoPro connector is still the same on the back, so the battery Bac Pac and LCD one still work. This should mean it will work with the older Phantom ZenMuse gimbals. The newer ones have changed and don’t use that anymore, which is a shame.

Interestingly/ annoyingly the Black and Silver models confuse things a lot. The Black was always the top of the range, and it is positioned as such, but the silver has all the Black has, minus the 24,25p and 30p 4K AND it has a built in screen at the back! I would love a screen to be built in without needing the LCD Backpac. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see a Black + version with a screen at some point.

GoPro 4 Silver has a screen! GoPro 4 Black does't HUH?

GoPro 4 Silver has a screen! GoPro 4 Black does’t HUH?

The side button is now no longer just wifi but also used to change video/ photo settings. The Tally light and charger are now to the left of the main LCD instead of the two small circles by the power button.

We still have no 2nd menu operation button, which is something I really wanted! Compared to the original GoPro menus which were essentially in code, these are great, but I prefer an up and down rather than just a cycle through button…maybe Hero 5?

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car gp (1 of 1)

 

The first thing I did after rapidly unboxing it was simply attach it to my Fiat Barchetta and drive through London with it in 4K mode.  The GoPro App wasn’t working with the 4 at the time, so I couldn’t see exactly what I was doing or remotely stop start it. The app of course will be full compatible when the 4 is released. Still, I got the framing pretty good considering, as you can see below. This is ungraded and untouched, shot in 4K 25p in ProTune flat medium sharpness (next time low is recommended) and ISO max set to 400. This works well when you get to the end of this clip as I go into a car park.

I am not sure what other manual control there is apart from setting the max ISO. Setting it as low as 400 is great and wasn’t available with the 3+, but I would have loved shutter speed control (aperture is of course fixed) and electronic ND. One of the biggest giveaways of GoPro footage is that high shutter speed. Yes you can use clip on ND etc, but I was hoping for something internal to help teo. If it really is just limiting ISO then that’s a shame. I will need to look into this more.

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Native 4K GoPro 4 clip car mounted from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

 

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FLYING

Naturally, this was what I was most excited about. Using my Phantom 2 with it. It’s the same size and seems very much the same weight, plus it has the same rear connector for most of the ZenMuse Phantom gimbals out there. Although my H3-3D is the newer one, that has removed the rear connector and replaced it with the side connectors and a thin piece of ribbon. It’s a shame, as it’s nowhere near as robust, but the reason is to make it compatible with DJI’s excellent “Lightbridge” HD video relay system, which is what I used it with.

So the new GoPro 4 appears to be fully compatible with the H3-3D, and of course I would assume the H3-2D…when I say appears to be, as mentioned above I have only used the newer version of the H3-3D. I have not tested it with the older one.

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Lightbridge gives you a massive range for first person view with crystal clear 1080 image, all the telemetry you would get from the iOS, plus you can also plug it into your smartphone and use that as a monitor (or just use an HDMI monitor).

The image with lightbridge from the Phantom is perfect. It’s pricey though, so not for everyone. Its quality is equivalent to the Vision series setup, just with a much bigger range.

Unfortunately the software needs to be upgraded for the GoPro 4, as the image froze as soon as I hit record which was a pain. Flying blind isn’t much fun! I am sure it will be fixed soon though.

The shots aren’t exciting, just a few to test out and share. This is not a “piece of art” – this is a camera test, and given I couldn’t see what I was filming due to the above issue, it didn’t turn out too bad! I just was always behind the Phantom using line of sight for my composition.

 

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What a wonderful birthday morning Dad is thinking!

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“Which ones goes in the air? The thing in my left hand or right hand?”

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Galaxy Note 3 used as my 1st person view monitor with lightbridge

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Dad posing and pretending to fly… :)

Initials shots with GoPro 4 in 4K with DJI Phantom 2 with Lightbridge from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

The sensor inside the GoPro is TEENY, and to squeeze 4K onto it is a fair bit…what’s the key though is the bitrate. With GoPro, we don’t have shallow depth of field. It’s all deep depth of field. Deep depth of field generally means more detail, and more detail means harder on compressed footage. I have been getting around 60mbit/s which is not that much really. For HD fine, but for 4K? The shots I did in the park  are clearly a struggle with all that information. I need to do an HD/ 4K comparison of the same shot to see which fares best. I feel the HD one will, as the ProTune bit rate for HD is around what I am getting for the 4K, yet for an image 4 times the size? The version you can download from Vimeo is not an original clip from the Phantom. I will add that as soon as I can.

My feeling from this is that I will use 2.7K  50p mode mostly (48p if shooting 24p), as the detail is excellent and the codec can handle it. I am not giving up on the 4K yet, but it does seem to be a bit much for it, certainly in the conditions I tried it with. Having 50/48p in 2.7k is a big plus from the 3+, as this resolution was always my favourite for details and lack of image issues, but it couldn’t do more than 30p before.

Below is a short test clip showing this mode (although Vimeo is giving me grief with the quality of the conversion, as it looks a bit shit here! I am working on it!) :)

I will add to this flying section when I have done more tests.

There was talk of a 240fps mode in 720p. I can’t see it. There is 120fps in HD now though, although the aliasing is pretty bad from my short test…I will look into this more and report back.

Check the diagonals for the aliasing. 1080p 120fps

Check the diagonals for the aliasing. 1080p 120fps

 

MORE TO COME…

That’s it for now, work has gotten in the way,  but I will keep adding constantly including more clips

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What do you want from a UK 2 day filmmaking event? Plus details of imminent 2 day shooting workshops in New York and Cumbria! http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/17/workshops-3/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/17/workshops-3/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:17:08 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32391 600x315_second_shooter

I do very few workshops these days. My filming commitments meant I have had to scale them right back (I am writing this now from many many miles away from home, about to film the second episode of a new doc series I am making for CNN) but there are still two more this year, plus I need your help to make a 2 day multi-speaker filmmaking event happen in Brighton!

If you follow mine and/ or James Miller’s work you know we film a lot in Brighton. It’s a lovely seaside town and a great place to hold the event. Below are just two of the things we have made in Brighton!

Now I See from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Overview of the Miller Air tripod from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

Survey about UK 2 day filmmaking event.

 

 

So the two-day workshops info in chronological order…New York 5th and 6th October

I have been asked by B&H Photo in New York  (the Willy Wonka of camera stores) in conjunction with Sony America to teach a 2 day shooting workshop specifically on the A7s.

This is a unique event. First off, most of the first day is out and about in the city, filming with the A7s using gear supplied to you (you can bring your own lenses tripod if you wish). What also makes it unique is it’s FREE! It’s only 25 people, so you need to apply. I want the people who will benefit the most to be able to do this!

Application has been open for about 2 weeks already and will close very soon. I just wanted to post it here, as until now had only been on twitter and Facebook.

Click below to apply and for more info.

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CUMBRIA 2-day Shooting workshop.

Later in October I will be doing my only 2-day workshop in England this year in Cumbria! This isn’t sponsored by B&H and Sony, so it’s a traditional pay for workshop, but as it’s the only one I am doing in my home country in 2014 and also my last of the year anywhere, coupled with the amazing location, it’s one not to miss!

All the info below!!

LLoyd & Colman Studio from LLoyd & Colman on Vimeo.

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IBC 2014: Plus info on my free talks, Critics and more! Sony FS7 officially confirmed! http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/08/ibc/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/08/ibc/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 19:12:39 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32343

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IBC 2014: CRITICS Day 1 from Teradek on Vimeo.

IBC 2014: CRITICS Day 2 from Teradek on Vimeo.

IBC 2014: CRITICS Day 3 from Teradek on Vimeo.

It’s that time of year again. Well actually these shows happen around the world almost non stop, but IBC is massive, probably second only to NAB in size. Broadcast shows like this are a great chance to check out new gear, but for me, I like them as I can connect with people new and old.

New kit is also often announced, and in fact Sony are announcing a new camera there (yes another one) this week. More on that later.

If you have never been before, it’s in Amsterdam and it’s every September. I missed last year’s one but am coming this year. Photokina, the (mainly) photography show is directly afterward in Cologne. That show is truly massive, but I won’t be going to it this time, that would most likely do my head in. These shows are exhausting, especially if you are working there which I am!

ADOBE

At the show I will doing a number of talks. I will be at the Adobe stand talking about how I use their software and how it fits into my workflow on a shoot. This is at 11:30 and 2:30pm on the Friday and 11:30 on the Saturday.

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MILLER

On Saturday at 1:30pm in Hall 11 stand 11 D30, I will be on the Miller stand giving an updated version of shooting and using 4K in the real world! I will be showing examples of course, and I will go into details of the pros and cons!

Also do check out the Miller charity raffle in aid of the iABM education foundation. Enter and get a chance to win the gorgeous LP’54 classic wooden tripod from Miller made to celebrate their 50 years on the business.

 

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RISING STARS

On the Sunday I will be doing an hour long talk and Q&A for the Rising Stars programme, a fantastic initiative to help the new generation get started in the industry. The conference is part of IBC and features some amazing speakers like Professor Brian Cox. I am giving one of the keynotes on the Sunday at 2pm about what you may or may not need to make great content. I will be sharing my experience and success and failures, so you can hopefully benefit from me doing this all for you first! :)

To register for the Rising Stars programme click the link here or the image below! If you can’t work it out you are clearly not at all an office type and therefore must clearly be creative, the downside is you won’t benefit from the conference because of this! ;)   Screenshot 2014-09-08 12.46.56Screenshot 2014-09-08 12.49.25

CRITICS

Last but not least, on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 4pm live each day is the 2nd return of Critics. After our mega sell out stadium live shows at NAB in April, we are back for hour long shows where Steve Weiss pulls his punches and gives rubbish critiques and I give him grief for it. You can see it live here and later on Vimeo with the link on the bottom of the flyer!

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IBC NEWS

The FS7 is official. Check out the first hands on with my buddy Nino Leitner. More on his Cinema5D site!

EXCLUSIVE: cinema5D Sony FS7 hands-on from Nino Leitner on Vimeo.

From the Sony press release:

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Amsterdam, September 12, 2014: Sony has today launched the PXW-FS7, the first 4K XDCAM camera to feature a Super35 CMOS sensor. Capable of shooting in 4K Quad Full HDi (QFHD) and super slow-motion Full HD, the latest member of the XDCAM family has been designed for documentary, music video, online content creators and corporate filmmakers looking for beautiful picture quality and an unrivalled choice of recording formats.

The 11.6 million-pixel Super35 ‘Exmor’ CMOS sensor within the PXW-FS7 delivers stunning sensitivity, shallow depth of field, a high signal-to-noise ratio and fantastic low light performance. The camera has the ability to record QFHDi with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling up to 600 Mbit/s, with support for a variety of recording formats including XAVC Intra, Long GOP, MPEG HD422 and Apple ProRes 422 available early 2015 by firmware update.

Ergonomic design ideal for one-man operation in demanding conditions

The new camera has been purpose-built to provide a versatile range of creative shot options while sitting comfortably on the shoulder, even after hours of operation. The supplied grip, easily adjustable viewfinder and fully-sealed, die-cast magnesium chassis have been designed to provide robust usability in dusty or humid environments and for ‘run and gun’ applications.

“Filmmakers around the world have told us they want a package which links high quality codecs, unlimited slow and quick-motion recording and the flexibility to switch between various lenses, but without the need for a rig,” explained Bill Drummond, Strategic Marketing Manager, Sony Professional Europe. “We’ve built the PXW-FS7 to give customers a vast range of production, style and format choices in a form factor which allows the operator to do it all, right from their shoulder.”

αMount System offering a variety of expression

The PXW-FS7 features Sony’s revolutionary α Mount System, which benefits from Silent Focus Technology and Electrical Iris Control. Sony has also launched the PXW-FS7K, including the brand new powered zoom E-Mount lens FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS (SELP28135G), ideal for the requirements of today’s video production teams. Customers also have the flexibility to use other lenses with a 3rd party adaptor.

Key features of the PXW-FS7

Super35 ‘Exmor’ CMOS sensor with 8.8 million-effective pixels. The PXW-FS7 is able to capture great image quality without needing significant lighting support. It has high-speed image readout characteristics, such as 240 fps while recording 2K RAW on an external recorder, responsive sensitivity (ISO 2000) and a high signal-to-noise ratio. The PXW-FS7 supports QFHD up to 60 fps at launch, with an upgrade to 4K 4,096 x 2,160 resolution due to be made available in early 2015.

Flexibility across recording codecs. The PXW-FS7 is compatible with Sony´s new XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP formats, each supporting 10-bit 4.2:2 recording for Full HD recording. Recording in QFHD resolution, SlowMotion up to 180fps or even Full High Definition with 60/50 progressive frames is possible. By using the optional extension unit XDCA-FS7, the PXW-FS7 is capable of natively recording in Apple ProRes 422 codec, planned to be available in early 2015 by firmware update. In addition, thanks to the XDCA-FS7’s Raw interface, the PXW-FS7 is capable of 4K/2K Raw recording with Sony’s HXR-IFR5 and AXS-R5, or with a compatible third-party external recorder.

A vast range of creative choices. The PXW-FS7 features 2 XQD card slots that support simultaneous recording and relay recording. The camera includes a low-pass video filter, progressive pixel reading and advanced camera processing, enabling a broad span of creative treatments, and benefits such as high speed recording, high resolution, high sensitivity, less aliasing and less rolling shutter. To support FS7’s S&Q motion and internal 4Ki recording, a new XQD G series with ultra-high speed transfer up to 400MB/s (read) and 350MB/s (write) has been developed. The XQD card G series is designed specifically to further enhance the PXW-FS7 workflow. In parallel, the camera’s built-in ND filters offer exceptional shallow depth-of-field, allowing users to further expand their shooting styles without requiring external ND filter equipment. S-Gamut3/SLog3 & S-Gamut3.Cine/SLog3 are supported for flexibility of post-production options.

Easy mobility and choice of shooting style. Sony has also today introduced the VCT-FS7, a light-weight rods support, featuring 15mm rods and an adjustable shoulder pad. This enables the use of additional Matte boxes, the easy attachment of Follow Focus systems or of an external recorder. In addition to the on-shoulder operation, the PXW-FS7 can also be set-up on a tripod and as a handheld camera. The supplied handgrip provides easy access to relevant functions.

 αMount System enables auto exposure and SteadyShot stabilization during shooting. The PXW-FS7 uses the E-mount lens system and comes supplied with a new E-mount lens FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS (SELP28135G), which is the world’s first 35mm full-frame interchangeable power zoom lens i.. The new E-mount powered zoom lens features constant F4 value, independent rings for Iris, Zoom and Focus control and is dust and moisture resistant. The SELP28135G has steady shot stabilization, minimum focus breathing and is enabled with Sony’s new SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) to reduce zoom and focus noise while shooting. Furthermore, Sony’s optional LA-EA4 A-mount lens adaptor allows compatibility with a wide range of high-quality A-mount lenses, benefiting from the PXW-FS7’s auto-focus function for quick and convenient operation.

 

ORIGNAL POST

I don’t do rumours as a rule but I am breaking it because:I mentioned this briefly but it’s confirmed that Sony is releasing a new 4K professional camera at IBC, confusingly called the FS7 which makes it sound higher end than the F5 (I address this further down). It was leaked onto a Chinese site with the picture below.

A: It’s officially teased now by Sony and

B: Because of the implications

C: The leaked photo is genuine.

D: Numerous sources have confirmed this with me.

Now, I had been hearing mutterings about this camera for a while. I am not under NDA so I am not in the “official” know but I do know many people who are under penalty of death if they talked about this due to their NDAs. They wouldn’t tell me squat, naturally! :) Despite this, through a number of other sources I am pretty confident most of these rumoured features are true. So much so that I put a fiver on at paddy power and if all these come true I could make a hundred quid! :)

Super 35mm sensor, whether it’s new or not I don’t know.

E mount so you can put a METABONES EF adaptor or even better a Speedbooster for effectively full frame image. 

XDCAM labelled but records in the same high quality pro format as the F5 and F55, XAVC.

Records INTERNALLY at 4K. Whether this is full DCI or UHD not sure. I have a felling it’s the latter.

12 bit raw output via 3g SDI. Assuming this will work with R5 and hopefully the Odyssey 7Q soon

HD of course and I believe it will also do at least 150fps in HD most likely 180fps is 24p mode.

There is a large rear dock that could be multifunctional. It may even take an R5.

I am expecting optional battery solutions, v-locks for example or the Sony L series batteries. If it can take L series it means we could have some very impressive power consumption.  

Integrated LCD/ EVF loup reminiscent of the EX3

Nice shoulder mounted design

 

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From the image you can see it used the cheaper than XQD cards for the XAVC rather than what I use in my F55 which is the stupidly expensive SXSPro.

Since buying £10,000 of them they brought out a firmware update that lets me use XQD cards on my camera with a cheap adaptor. Annoying for me, good for new customers!

We also have full auto modes…if you like that sort of thing.

The quality of the LCD/ EVF is unknown, but it’s part of the camera. It seems only expensive cameras suffer from having sod all including with them! It’s funny but that shape keeps making me think an URSA style 10″ screen was on there once! Thankfully it isn’t! Let’s hope the LCD/ Loup is not of the same quality of the Fs100/FS700!!

Price point: I have had from numerous reliable sources to be a list price of just $8k. I say “just” because for what you are getting this is amazing.

Is this a replacement for the FS700? No. Sony tweeted this:

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So the FS700 stays but what differentiates it from this new XDCAM camera? The FS700 sells for $7700 at B&H. The camera records AVCHD HD internally. It can do 240fps in burst mode internally, but it can also send a raw signal to an external recorder to record 4K and 2K raw plus continuous slow motion in full quality up to 240fps.

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The leaked image

The leaked image

Just the other day a “hack” for the F5 to let it record 4K internally was made public by my friend and former colleague at Sky News Paul Ream. By saving settings and modifying them via text edit, you can make the F5 record in modes only the F55 is supposed to have even up to 60p. You can see a tutorial here.

Sony F5 on left and F55 on right. You can tell only from the colour of the lens mount. Silver is F55.

Sony F5 on left and F55 on right. You can tell only from the colour of the lens mount. Silver is F55.

As an F55 owner who bought this very expensive camera over the F5 basically for the internal 4K recording, I am very interested to see what Sony does to respond to this announcement (yes it stills sounds weird!). Apparently there will be an announcement about the F5 and F55 on the 12th too. Sure my F55 has a global shutter and a different colour gamut but it’s the 4K internal recording that sold me on it. If the F5 had 4k officially and I was buying a camera today, I would buy the F5 not the F55.

Actually that isn’t true. If it was today I would wait until the announcement of the FS7 and depending on the image that I see this week, I would buy this. Why? It’s WAY cheaper, has the same codec, internal 4k and HD, 180fps (maybe), E mount which is preferable to FZ mount as the Canon adaptor is very expensive and not as good as the Metabones, plus the option of a Speedbooster is a big plus. I would love an effective full frame in a proper video camera. Do I care that it may only be UHD 4K? Not really, not at this price difference. The power consumption and use of L series batteries is a big plus. It’s also way cheaper. Did I say that?

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By saying this, I am basically saying I personally think Sony will severely damage their F5 sales with this camera, and of less importance to them I am sure, the FS700 which in modern camera terms is getting on a bit now. It’s over 2 years old! :)

So why are Sony bringing out this camera, which is going to essentially make the F5 rather pointless? Why are Sony being so aggressive with their competition with themselves? Yep that sounds bonkers, but they are! Well there is nothing else out there at this price point, and it’s better to sell more cameras for less money than fewer cameras for more money isn’t it? Well only if the cheaper camera sells significantly more units than the more expensive ones.

Sony will absolutely have to put 4K in the F5 now officially, not because of the “hack” so much but because of this camera, but it’s still going to need something else.  That means what do F55 owners like myself get? Who knows. I hope not a massively devalued camera, as I haven’t paid it off yet!

Oh well, it’s still an amazing camera with features that no other camera can rival at any price, really. I say this to myself as I rock back and forth like a madman each night worried to death! :)

My Sony F55 with it's new VOCUS

My Sony F55 with it’s new VOCAS rig

My Sony F55 with it's new VOCUS

My Sony F55 with it’s new VOCAS rig

My Sony F55 with it's new VOCUS

My Sony F55 with it’s new VOCAS rig

If they gave the F5 4K internal, what would make people buy it over the new camera?

Perhaps the DCI 4k if the FS7 is only UHD?

Maybe the slow motion on the new camera will be at similar intervals to the FS700, so no fine control of the specific frame rates.

16 bit Raw output compared to the 12 bit, which to be fair is not that big a deal for almost everyone.

I am not sure what else but they need to add more with this massive price difference or simply drop the F5 price, which doesn’t help current owners. It’s a tough one, and I can see a lot of F5 owners being a bit miffed maybe about this. Some people will say that’s the problem with buying expensive cameras these days and also being an early adaptor. Maybe, but I have owned my F55 only a year and with all the media, EVF, raw recorder and batteries it has cost me a huge amount of money. It’s an investment, and investments ideally last a lot longer than a year.

Sony have promised these camera will be constantly upgraded with firmware, and this has been true so far. So maybe we are in for many more features that could separate these two beasts from the young pretender?

 

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I have no camera loyalty to any manufacturer. I still think the Canon C300 is the best documentary camera out there, but mine is now sold because of the F55. I couldn’t justify keeping it after I bought the mega expensive Sony.

I did keep both my 1DC and my C100. The C100 is an amazing camera for the price. Sure no 4K, no slow motion and the codec sucks, but stick an Atomos on it and you have a C300 pretty much.

For the new CNN doc series I have been shooting, my main camera is the F55, the camera on my Movi M5 is the A7s, and the main B-Cam is the Canon C100. They are a bit tricky to cut together but do-able. All have their pros and cons.The F55 is not exactly a subtle camera and quite often I need to look less pro, so I have been using the A7s a lot. The C100 image really does impress though.

 

 

Canon of course need to respond soon, or they will lose out. They need a 4K internal camera to compete around this price point AND they SO need a camera that can shoot super slow motion. Whether they can bring it in at around the $8k mark seems unlikely, given the C300 price point is still around $12k, but they may well have to give Sony a break from competing with themselves! ;)

There we go. Find out if I was right on the Friday the 12th. If so, then I am most likely going to buy this as my new B-camera, it’s such a great price and it could well be my A-camera when I don’t want to bring my much heavier F55 with me on shoots when space and weight is a premium, like some of the destinations for this new series are going to be.

I absolutely won’t be selling my F55, first off it isn’t paid off yet, but also it’s an amazing camera that does have more features than this new Sony, and I do expect Sony to bring it more features to keep it their flagship large sensor broadcast camera.

We shall see on Friday if this is all true and whether I will make that hundred quid at the bookies!

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Everything You Need to Know About Codecs http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-codecs/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/09/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-codecs/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 03:46:09 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32321 600x315_second_shooter

“It shoots AVCHD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 1080P 24Mbps at 8-bit 4:2:0.”

Say what??

David Kong here with another video tutorial for you, this time on codecs. I’ve found a lot of confusion and mis-information around the internet about how codecs work, how the differ, and why those differences matter.

Hopefully, this video/post will clear those up. I know it’s long, but I really wanted to break it down and explain things thoroughly, rather than just skimming the surface like a lot of tutorials do. Codecs can sound impossibly complex when all you get is a bunch of numbers and acronyms, but the main concepts at work really aren’t that complicated.

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I explain the concepts behind different types of codecs, but I also give some real-world examples which should help you understand how these algorithms work on a practical level, pulling frames into Photoshop to break them down and examine how our codecs have changed the image.

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The reality is that there are dozens of different techniques that codecs use, but I focused on the ones that are most important for you to understand because they can impact your shooting and editing decisions on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s an outline of what I cover in this tutorial:

  • What a codec is - And how it differs from a container.
  • Different types of codecs – And why I frequently use 4 different codecs on a single project.
  • Bit Depth – What it means and why it matters.
  • Chroma Subsampling – 4:4:4, 4:2:2, and 4:2:0, and when it becomes an issue.
  • Spatial Compression and Blocking – One of the most common artefacts you see with normal work.
  • Temporal Compression – Long-GOP codecs, inter-frame compression, and ALL-I codecs.
  • Lossless vs. Lossy compression – How image compression differs from data compression.
  • Bit Rate – How to calculate bit rates and the differences between kbps/kBps/Mbps/MBps.
  • Raw – Briefly, the difference between Raw, compressed, and uncompressed (this could have been a 40-minute tutorial on its own!)

As always, comment and let me know if anything here isn’t clear.

How Codecs Work – Tutorial from David Kong on Vimeo.

Coming Soon…

I’m also going to do a more “practical” post on how to choose export settings when you’re rending out of Premiere / Final Cut. This video was more theoretical, explaining the techniques that codecs use. The next video will be all about how you make those decisions about how to tweak the settings. Let me know if there’s a particular setting that has always confused you, and I’ll make sure that I cover it!

– David

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My slightly belated entry for this little internet craze… http://philipbloom.net/2014/08/31/als/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/08/31/als/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:32:58 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32297 600x315_second_shooter

It’s been everywhere. You can read about how it came about and what ALS is and why it’s great that awareness has been raised for this disease.

I had been nominated quite a few times, the first I believe by Lok from Digital Rev. I would have done it in the 24 hours that the rules say, had I not been wiped out by man flu. I would say I am just about fully recovered, so I decided now was the time to get it done!

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I had my A7s ready for second camera but I didn’t use it in the end. Here with the wooden camera rig

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Using the F55 and my Sigma 50mm F1.4,  I shot everything at 180fps. This is recorded super slow motion in-camera so it’s 180fps in 23.98p and plays back slow motion instantly. When on my premiere timeline, this is 100% speed, to get it to play back at “normal speed” I then sped it up by 750%. 180 divided by 24 is 7.5 hence 750%. I simply razor bladed the clip at the moment I wanted to go back to what was recorded, the super slow motion, and changed the speed back to 100%. To go back again to “normal speed” for the post ice reaction, I just did the same thing razor blade on the 100% shot then the cut section becomes 750%

We did two takes, as the first one I didn’t want to use as I wanted this to be a one shot, and dad had the bucket in frame before pouring it on me and after. I wasn’t manning the F55, where I would have seen that, as I was a bit busy. Being the perfectionist that I am I had to redo it! I could have fixed it in post, but I am a purist, “fix in on set” kind of guy, hence the hair dryer and take two! Mum bought some more ice which I think adds to take two anyway.

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Audio was taken from my RX100 III that was doing a shot of my dad which you can see near the end. There isn’t any audio when shooting high frame rates on the F55, so do remember that, especially if you want to run the shot at normal speed like I did.

I did put a RODE Smart Lav II on me and my iPod touch in my pocket, but I must have accidentally click pause in the RODE Rec app, stupid me, as I didn’t record all my audio. So for the edit I used a mixture of RX100 III audio, foley, and some ADR for my dialogue. I know it sounds a teeny bit fake, but given the nature of what this is, I felt it actually added a slightly surreal touch to it.

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I lit this with my Cineo Lighting TruColor LS remote phosphor light. This is a stunning light. I bought it to use on the documentary in Detroit for all my interviews, and since then it has become a key part of my kit. The bigger version, the HS which kicks out the equivalent of 4K  (this is around 1K) I have used many times. I love it, but for practical reasons I bought the smaller version.

I will be talking about these lights more soon. I also have the exceptional AREA 48 Soft. Another lovely remote phosphor light

This was graded with FilmConvert (10% off wide code bloom at gopb.co/filmconvert) and a bit of custom curves. You can see the comparison below. Left is original S-Log 2 with S-Gamut colour. Right is the graded version

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Anyway if you fancy doing one, go for it!! I have challenged Eric Kessler, Vincent LaForet, and James Miller. If you do go for it, try and do something more than having it filmed on your iPhone! After all….we are filmmakers aren’t we? :)

That’s it for charity silliness from me for now, that is until Movember…I hope to do it again this year. Fingers crossed!

 

 

 

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Get your film made with #ProjectFilmSupply from The Music Bed http://philipbloom.net/2014/08/25/get-your-film-made-with-projectfilmsupply-from-the-music-bed/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/08/25/get-your-film-made-with-projectfilmsupply-from-the-music-bed/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 21:14:37 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32274 600x315_second_shooter
The Music Bed have been a revelation for me. I adore music, and my taste is very eclectic and my collection of music rather large. It would be great to be able to use what I want on all my films, but of course it doesn’t work that way.  So when TMB came along and I started to browse their library, even though I had never heard of the artists, the music was fantastic and I have used them so many times over the past two or so years (maybe longer?) Their tracks in my epic reviews have helped carry their length, but it’s not just my reviews. So much of my personal films are scored to TMB music. 

Strangely, they asked to come to my home earlier this year to make one of their mini docs. Christian Schultz who shoots these is a visual poet and a lovely chap. I thought it was a total waste of his skills, talent and time to come with the team to my little house, but they insisted and I was pleasantly surprised by the mini doc they made. Even though I was utterly jet lagged when they did the interview and don’t remember saying half of the stuff in here. It’s way more personal than normal interviews. Oh well.

I wanted to share this on my site without doing a specific post, which would come across as a bit too narcissistic! Thankfully this was the perfect chance to share it here rather than just on my social media outlets!

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Making Room from The Music Bed on Vimeo.

Anyway, back to the main topic of the post. It’s always flattering to be asked to be a judge for filmmaking competitions, and this one is fascinating. Rather than submit your film to win the prizes, you submit your idea. We, the judges, with the help of the community,  then choose the top 3 and then the winner. The prizes are pretty epic. Let me hand over to the fellas at The Music Bed to explain properly: 

 

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When it comes to championing independent filmmakers of every skill level and walk of life, we can’t think of a more kindred spirit than Philip Bloom. Philip was one of the first and finest to latch on to The Music Bed’s vision of licensing relevant music to filmmakers — as well as inspiring and resourcing creatives to tell stories better than ever.

Philip is also a contributor to The Music Bed’s sister stock footage licensing company, Film Supply. Together, we’re raising the stock film aesthetic bar and challenging creatives to grow in their knowledge and love for film and meaningful storytelling.

That’s why we’re so excited about our latest campaign: #ProjectFilmSupply. The idea is pretty simple. We’re going to help filmmakers bring their dream projects to life.

#ProjectFilmSupply from The Music Bed on Vimeo.

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This is the biggest giveaway we’ve ever done, with over $50,000 in prizes available from seven incredible brands: RØDE, Kessler, Freefly, G-Tech, Blackmagic, No Film School, Zacuto, LensProToGo, and Squarespace plus music and film licenses from The Music Bed & Film Supply. All filmmakers have to do is pitch their short film ideas on themusicbed.com/projectfilmsupply, and the public will vote on which films they want to see made.

This isn’t just a chance for filmmakers to win some money and some gear. It’s a chance for them to bring the projects they’re most passionate about to life.

 

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Here’s how #ProjectFilmSupply works, step by step.

 

Step 1: For one month (starting August 4), we’ll ask the filmmaking community to submit a short film idea + mood board for the project they’ve always dreamed of creating.

Step 2: Those who submit an idea will ask their friends, family, and followers to vote for their projects.

Step 3: The Community + TMB will decide which three film concepts rise to the top and which one absolutely has to become a reality (the two runners up will receive loads of incredible prizes)

We can’t wait to see the amazing films that come out of #ProjectFilmSupply! Please spread the word, follow along, cast your vote, and if you have a dream project in mind — enter to win at themusicbed.com/projectfilmsupply!

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Video review of the Sony A7s!!! http://philipbloom.net/2014/08/06/a7svideoreview/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/08/06/a7svideoreview/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 08:11:24 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32261

If you use any photos/ Screen grabs elsewhere, please credit philipbloom.net. Thank you!

Please read my ethics statement here

Philip Bloom A7s V2 1

The review is FINALLY DONE! Only 4 weeks this time, which is pretty good! There is a lot in it. Featuring footage from Brighton, Richmond, Maidstone, New York and Detroit. Used it a huge amount, including actual proper shooting jobs and in a variety of situations!

There is a very small amount of flesh on display here, not mine. Just a bit of painted topless ladies who pose for photos in New York. Might be not safe for work…captured as part of the street filming scenes.

As always with my reviews, I take my time to create the content which in turn helps me form my opinion, rather than just shoot some footage then put a review out based upon a snap judgment. Pointless.  You need time with a camera and time to truly form an opinion worth sharing. Should you listen to this opinion? Sure! Why not? Just don’t buy anything based on it, not on any one opinion… especially mine! Check out other reviews and try before you buy if you can!

If you do decide to get one the if you use any of the affiliates here (which don’t cost you a penny more) then it help fund any future reviews! They really are so financially illogical as they take so much time but I do still enjoy doing them…it’s just they take all my free time and cost a fortune! Also any use of the Vimeo Tip Jar feature is also appreciated. This can only be done through the actual Vimeo page where the video is hosted here. 

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Rather than move my “Evolving review post,” I have just created a new one here and added the actual video review. The problem is the way the Facebook comment section works – if you change the publish date of a post, then all comments go! That’s crap! Especially as there are a few hundred there. So do check out the “No longer evolving review” post for loads more thoughts, photos and info!! You can download original 4k clips there too.

Below is the 9 Second abbreviated version! 

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Sony A7s 4K quick test for download purposes. Cine gamma 2/ S-Log 2 from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

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How to succeed as a video journalist http://philipbloom.net/2014/07/30/how-to-succeed-as-a-video-journalist/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/07/30/how-to-succeed-as-a-video-journalist/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 21:28:38 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32243 filming in Gaza 10 years ago

filming in Gaza 10 years ago

PHILIP: I have been a journalist for 25 years. 17 of those were working as a news cameraman in some bloody awful places but covering some incredibly important stories.

Just how important people like Christian (who has written the guest blog post below) are must not be underestimated. Without people like him and the countless others working in TV news, risking their lives to make sure what needs to be told is told, we would live in the dark ages, and some of the most desperate plights of man, the injustices,  would never be highlighted and we would remain ignorant.

Yes, some TV news programmes are biased and their journalism can, at times, be questionable, but I am a firm believer that these are in the minority. UK TV news for example is forbidden to be politically biased, unlike UK newspapers, although in reality it’s not as easy as that. Anyway, this is for a different post.

For me, my 17 years in TV news were the most important years of my professional life. I learnt so much and would not be doing what I am today were it not for my time at Sky News. It’s rare to see people ask me about wanting to work in TV news. Everyone wants to make movies. Well I can tell you that working in this profession is one of the most rewarding careers you can have. It can be creative, exhilarating, terrifying, rewarding, soul destroying and life affirming to name just a few. Most importantly, you can be doing something that truly matters. That to me is important in life. I had to leave for many reasons. One of the key ones was it was changing me too much into someone who was becoming too bitter and too cynical. I needed to find a way to change this.

This is a brief guest blog post, essentially an introduction to Christian’s excellent book. All proceeds of the sale go to the Rory Peck trust, a wonderful thing to do, Christian. The Rory Peck Trust is the only organisation dedicated to the support, safety and welfare of freelance news-gatherers around the world. Best of luck with the e-book and for the excellent work you are doing out there Christian. Stay safe!

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GUEST POST BY CHRISTIAN PARKINSON 

@imagejunkies

It doesn’t matter what you call yourself: cameraman, shoot/edit, video journalist, multimedia journalist, backpack journalist, SoJo, photog, shooter, photojournalist, video Producer, visual journalist…we are image makers who love to tell stories. We document the world around us, capture moments and try to explain them and why they are important. It‟s not just a job, it‟s a calling.

I’m Christian Parkinson a full time shooter/editor and VJ for the BBC and blogger at http://www.imagejunkies.com. I’ve been shooting and editing national and international news for twelve years, firstly with ITN and then with the British Broadcasting Corporation. I spent four years with the BBC’s Africa Bureau where my work in the Democratic Republic of Congo won the prestigious David Bloom Award presented by President Obama. It was later shortlisted for an International Emmy.

I’ve always been a fan of books and blogs that look behind the scenes of our job and give a taste of the skills and logistics required. My favourite Phil Bloom post is his excellent article on traveling with gear http://philipbloom.net/2012/02/13/flying-with-gear/. Therefore I have recently finished writing a book that examines and explains the practical and personal skills needed to push your career forward. Camera Confidential is not about the technical side of video journalism. It‟s not going to explain white balancing, the difference between CCD‟s and CMOS sensors, and it won’t discuss camera specs (I’ll leave that to guys like Phil who know what they are talking about!). No, this book is the book I wish somebody had given to me when I started shooting many years ago. It will answer questions such as: How do I find my first job? What paperwork do I need to complete when travelling with kit? What gear should I carry in a war zone? How should I protect my camera when shooting in the desert/snow/jungle? How do I shoot an anonymous interview?

Chris with rebels in Libya

Chris with rebels in Libya

Working as a cameraman or video journalist in news and documentaries is one of the toughest but also one of the most satisfying jobs in the world. The years you spend shooting news and telling stories will stand you in excellent stead for any other challenge within the industry. As Philip Bloom told me: “I learnt from some amazing cameramen at Sky news. I knew nothing when I started. News cameramen work fast, think fast and react fast. I would always prefer to work with someone from a news background. You can always spot them. I would love to see the cameramen who look down on news shooters try it for a week! To create quality images under immense pressure is testament to the quality of people out there.”

Phil is one of many contributors to the book and his input sits alongside other giants of the industry like Darren “DC” Conway and Fred Scott who are multiple award winners for their outstanding news and documentary filming. It’s the interviews with guys like them that I think make this book special.

Chris with 5D in Kenya

Chris with 5D in Kenya

I’ve tried to keep Camera confidential short and concise and I’ve included handy lists like the one below that covers working in extreme desert conditions.

➢ The black colour of your camera will soak up the heat so keep it covered or in the shade whenever possible and don‟t leave the viewfinder tilted up toward the sun. Also if you are expecting sandstorms or helicopters to be taking off and landing nearby then have a cover for the camera ready – in Afghanistan I often keep a bin bag handy to throw over the camera to protect it from the immense dust cloud thrown up by choppers. Your cameras rain jacket can also be used.

➢ ▪Keep your kit clean. Carry a paintbrush to dust the camera down regularly. Be wary of compressed air as it can push the sand grains deeper into the system. Use a UV filter to protect the lens and keep it spotless otherwise you‟ll get shots ruined by dust.

➢ ▪Don‟t change disks or tapes in the open air, if you have to then do it as quickly as possible. Try and change them inside your vehicle or tent and then store them somewhere cool and in a waterproof/airtight case – Tupperware boxes can be useful for this.

➢ ▪Consider bringing some pelican cases and a pop up tent to store your gear in if staying outdoors overnight.

➢ ▪Take a backpack with a bladder (like a camelback) so that you always have easy access to liquid. Make sure you and your colleagues remind each other regularly to hydrate – you‟d be surprised how easy it is to forget.

➢ ▪Experienced South African cameraman Glenn Middleton has filmed extensively in the deserts of Africa and the Middle East. He has this advice: “Filming in the desert is a big challenge; I wish they made a condom for cameras. The dust gets everywhere, but now that cameras don’t shoot with tape anymore it is a bit less risky. Don’t make the mistake of trying to clean your camera with a blast of air, all you doing is blowing the dust further into your gear. Use a paint brush instead. The best plan is to keep the camera free from dust and at the end of your shoot take gear in for a service. I found that a few plastic bags help if you wrap it around the camera. It doesn’t make for easy filming but it‟s better than nothing.”

Oh, and did I mention that all proceeds from the book are going to charity? I decided that I wanted this book to help others within our industry and therefore I have released it in conjunction with the Rory Peck trust who receive one hundred percent of the money made from sales. If you don’t know them the RPT  provide practical assistance and support to freelance news-gatherers and their families worldwide, to raise their profile, promote their welfare and safety, and to support their right to report freely and without fear. Due to my own years working in Africa and seeing the huge risks that local freelancers take I’ve asked for any money made to help give safety training to shooters from the continent.

If you want to purchase a copy of the book then please feel free to follow the link below and click on the tab that says “get your copy of camera confidential”. Enjoy!

https://rorypecktrust.org/rpt-live/July-2014/writing-camera-confidential

 

 

 

 

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Every Moment Counts – Producing Content With A Tight Turnaround http://philipbloom.net/2014/07/29/every-moment-counts-producing-content-with-a-tight-turnaround/ http://philipbloom.net/2014/07/29/every-moment-counts-producing-content-with-a-tight-turnaround/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:58:44 +0000 http://philipbloom.net/?p=32177 pb_670x67

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 Philip: Whilst I won’t be reviewing the Nikon D810, mostly due to the absolutely lack of any free time to get it done, you can read about it and see the images from it thanks to my buddy Preston Kanak’s guest post below. My Sony A7s review is coming soon, after that I won’t be able to do anymore camera reviews for the foreseeable future due to my filming commitments for the next few months. 

Pretons Kanak from a few years ago when we first met filming "Confluence"  That's me in the reflection!

Preston Kanak from a few years ago when we first met filming “Confluence”
That’s me in the reflection!

 

By Preston Kanak

Earlier this year, NPS Canada & Nikon Canada contracted us to shoot a short film utilizing the new Nikon D810. What we wanted to do with the project was find a way to showcase the capabilities of the camera while also telling a story. For this project, we chose to produce a full campaign that included a short documentary, behind the scenes film as well as a photo series. As for this post, what we want to do is give you a look at how we approached this project. We will be looking at:

We have also talked about the score below which has been the topic of most of the negative conversation for this piece. Feel free to jump ahead to see why we approached it in the way we did.

Like with any campaign, it is imperative that a strategy is developed early on so you have a goal you are working towards. With this project having such a quick turnaround, like is a lot of the time, it was imperative that we had our plan clearly laid out to ensure delivery on time. Our approach with this project was to craft the story before we even started shooting. Before going any further, we must state that we are a new company and as such, we are just talking from our personal experiences and are learning with every project we produce. It is a learning process and we continue to refine our workflow with every project. Below we have attached the final short film we produced for the project. The BTS has also been attached lower in the article. It can be accessed by clicking here.

Importance of developing a detailed proposal

As much as many may not enjoy developing proposals, it is an essential part of the process. For us, we view it as a critical part of the process and the first chance you have at impressing your client on your work ethic and attention to detail.

Proposal Breakdown

When approaching our proposal, we wanted to paint a clear picture of what we wanted to produce. We broke down everything from our story to the characteristics of our lead character. We were looking at shooting a documentary on a fisherman and did not have a candidate secured when developing the proposal so we had to develop a character profile to help explain what we were trying to do. Our strategy with all proposals is to include as much information as possible to help when approaching production. We have included a few screen grabs from the proposal.

Binder Sections

Project Introduction

A legacy is built upon a foundation of passion and perfection that extends far beyond a lifetime. This legacy is carefully refined with every decision that is made. Be it a fishing operation or the refinement of a digital camera, these decisions are what shape an industry.

For this project, our goal is to showcase what the D810 was capable of producing in both still and video formats. A photo series, a 30 second teaser, three minute documentary and BTS video was produced that showcased the capabilities of this camera while focusing on the technical specifications that make this camera unique. This campaign was not only the current customer base but also the general public because of the format of storytelling.

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Story Development

Every Moment Counts is a short that follows the journey of Manny Vaughan who has been fishing for 70 years. This film features his journey of passion and drive through his many years living and breathing on the open sea.

When breaking down the story, there were a lot of things we had to consider. We had a rough idea of the story we wanted to tell that we developed in the pre-production / proposal stage and it was imperative that we hit our key story points. When we started to collect story points, our first goal was to do a sit down interview with our lead character, Manny. This interview went on for about an hour and a half. What was great about it was that it didn’t come across as an interview, rather, a conversation between two people. This was a great approach as we were able to have a real conversation with Manny and we were able to get him to open up.

Regarding story points, the story we really wanted to tell was that of a fisherman who has fished his whole life. He is a character that cares deeply about his family but also about fishing. The major conflict developed in the story was the sea. What we wanted to do was turn the ocean into a character and place it as the antagonist of the story. By doing this, we feel we were able to develop our story points.

Our story opens with Manny talking about the power of the sea and reveals the inciting incident that you must not take the power of the sea for granted. It is a powerful force and it is key to respect it. In the way he delivers the lines, the subtext is that he knows this through personal experience and sets the stage for the rising action and climax that occurs later in the story.

For this piece, we setup the story in a way that first introduces Manny and then goes on to reveal that he has lived a hard life and this is paralleled through his voice – which is rugged, coarse and aged. We felt that this really aided in this idea of growth, experience and age. After establishing who Manny was, we then went on to introduce to the audience about his life and experiences with fishing. We started with some early memories fishing with a safety pin and how when he finally got real hooks, he thought he was ‘big time’. We see through the way that he delivers his story that he truly loves fishing.

Our first plot point or point of conflict is in his description of his fear for the sea. We find out early that even though he has a fear for the sea, fishing overcomes this fear and it is this passion that keeps him coming back. As the story continues, we revisit the idea that the sea is a place to fear and to not overlook this power. He reinforces this power by revealing one of the main reasons he fears the sea. This loss of his friends of sea still haunts him and it was our goal to capture this emotion. We did this by showing him for the first time on camera. As we move closer on his face, we see his eyes wheeling up with tears.

Our resolution to the story revisits his love for fishing to show that no matter how much fear exists, it is the love for the task that keeps bringing him back. His connection with family and friends is his guiding light and is what truly makes him happy. At the end of the day, what we wanted to leave the audience with is a story about the value of family and how activities such as fishing can bring people together. Our focus on the act of fishing and commitment demonstrated through the 70 years truly shows the role passion plays and how it is critical in living a satisfied life.

Click to view slideshow.

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Character Breakdown

Our focus is on the small rural fisherman who has been able to do what he loves while still being able to support his family at the same time. Our focus isn’t just about the success of catching fish – it’s about the journey. Work-life balance has always been a challenge but this is normal. A culture breeding a work ethic built on hard-work and long hours has allowed our lead character to continue to build on the family legacy.

When selecting our candidate, it is key we find someone who is nearing retirement but has lived a long and full life. We will target an active fishing community that is struggling to make ends meet with the new regulations being introduced that limit the opportunities for small operations to succeed. We are not making a statement about the industry, rather showing that no matter the obstacles, passion is what keeps these operations running.

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Bringing The Proposal To Life

Our goal with this production was to try bring it to life as close to our proposal as possible and we felt the best way to do this was to immerse ourselves in the local culture and spend as much time with the locals as possible. We became regulars at a few places on our trip – from the breakfast joint (Eat Restaurant) to the restaurant at the top of Peggy’s Cove for our double Espresso and Kahlua and a cookie (you had to eat to have a drink and that was the cheapest thing on the menu :)). Immersing yourself in the local landscape is imperative. We would not have been able to accomplish what we did without having made friends with the locals.

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Why Collaboration is Important

With any project, finding a strong team is imperative. For this project, we had a great team that helped with the process. From creative to photography to locations, I relied heavily on the help of the entire team. At the end of each day, we would go over rushes and talk about how we could approach the next day better. With all projects, it is key that you make the working environment one where people feel they can give creative input, no matter if they are above or below the line. The one aspect that was a bit unique for us on this project is that we brought in a musician to produce a custom score for the film.

Offering Creative Liberties to Collaborators

Being in a place to offer creative control to various team members is a valuable tool – albeit stressful unless you completely trust these team members. For this project, we brought in Karrnnel Sawitsky. I’ve worked with him on two other projects and felt he would be the perfect fit for this project. When he arrived on location, we already had a locked story edit and were able to give him something to work from. When he arrived on location, we had told him that the temp track that we were using would be tough to beat with the custom score.

 The Music

We talked in depth about our approach for this project and knew the impact the music would have upon the story. We wanted to craft a song that also told it’s own story – one that would accent the visuals we had in place. There were certain spots that I wanted certain emotions to be hit but overall, I left Karrnnel with the creative liberties to go in the direction he felt best.

After hearing the edit and talking with crew members, many liked the vibe of the original temp track that Karrnnel had previously recorded but I felt that going with new track – although riskier – would be the better route to go as it felt right the more I worked with it. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. For me, I feel that the track we chose is perfect.

Obstacles

I think our most challenging part was finding our local talent. It was absolutely amazing how everyone was willing to help without asking for anything in return. People just opened their doors for us and this was really quite amazing! I’m not sure we would have had this experience in too many other places.

Our first major obstacle that we had to overcome was to secure talent and locations. Before landing in Nova Scotia, we had one potential candidate lined up and although he had a great story to tell, it wasn’t quite what we were looking for. We then spent the next four days searching out new talent as well as locations.

Our biggest word of advice for others looking to produce something similar is to immerse yourselves as much in the local culture as possible. Talk with the locals. Make friends. Ask questions. Introduce yourself and most importantly, be friendly and show interest in what they have to say.

How to develop a comprehensive Pre-production strategy

Once you have secured the project and contracts are signed (if you decide to use them), the next plan of action is setting the project into motion. I will generally start by breaking down the key objectives and then move to develop scripts that achieve the core objectives. No matter how large or small a project is, I will also develop a comprehensive strategy. This process is usually fairly straightforward as we generally spend a lot of time crating the proposal so a lot of the heavy lifting is done upfront. Attached is a screen grab of a table of contents that would generally be included with a proposal.

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Regarding pre-production, the key things we prepare are the scripts, scouting, schedules and crew / gear breakdowns. Because we will generally breakdown the creative elements in the proposal, we are able to move directly into refining our concepts and prepping the shoot.

We start by assembling a production binder to use for production. We take our proposal and parcel it out into the different areas of production. We make sure we have all releases, NDA’s, travel information or any other pertinent information we may need for the shoot. We also make digital copies that are available to all crew members during production. We still find it handy to have paper copies on set in case any last minute questions come up.

We manage all productions using dropbox teams and have attached a breakdown of the folder structure below.

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By having a template folder to work from, and using colour coding of folders, we are able to see what still needs to be done and what has been done. We can assign folders and tasks by dual colour coding folders to show who is doing what. As we start to turn folders green, we then print off the content in the folder and add it to the production binder.

Value of Open Communication with Client

A positive working relationship with clients starts with transparency and open communication. For us, this is extremely critical and something we are always working to improve. If open communication is established early on, the entire process goes much smoother. Gaining the trust of your client also sets up for a good working relationship that goes beyond the project you are working on and potentially leads to more work. Lay out beforehand what can be expected from the production and ensure that clear timelines are established and met. Whether or not there is a hard deadline for a project, set one and lay out all elements of production that need to be completed. We will usually show the client this timeline and provide updates along the way.

Importance of Clear Objectives & Deliverables

The first critical step is the breakdown the deliverables and to set out the clear objectives for the project for both the client as well as your teammates. By having clear objectives, not only do you have something to work towards, but you also have an outline of expectations for the project. For this project, we wanted to produce a documentary, behind the scenes film and photo campaign. All of these assets were to be delivered on July 6th. Because of the tight turnaround, we knew we had to start working on the project as soon as possible as we were set to land in Nova Scotia on June 16th.

THE DOCUMENTARY

For our documentary, we had a concept breakdown developed before landing and had an idea of the key story points. We had the questions prepped before finding our lead and catered, as we needed to ensure we captured the story we needed. We shot the interview on day five and by doing this; we were able to cater our supporting footage based on our locked story edit.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Before landing in Nova Scotia, we already had our intro and our script written and recorded and our music selected for the piece. All we had to do while on location was shoot the interviews and supporting footage.

For this film, we separated the days in which we shot our interviews, as we wanted to shoot the final interviews as close to the delivery date as possible to include a comprehensive coverage of the project. For the crew that wasn’t on location for the entire shoot, we did their interviews first and edited the sound bites right after the interview. For the rest of it, we pushed hard to assemble the edit right after we filmed the interview so we could start putting together a rough assembly as early as possible.

DELIVERING ASSETS ON TIME

Our other major obstacle was delivery time on assets. We were shooting right up to July 4th so we had to start working with our assets right on location. Without having done the prep before hand, we would have had no chance at finishing before our delivery date. The second we got green lit, we started to prep all assets including the selection of music for the behind the scenes, graphic treatments and other elements. Anything we could start beforehand, we did.

The Edit

With the quick turnaround we had for this project, it was key that we started the edit while on the road. With the long distances between locations, we decided to put the edits together while driving. This was a great way to review footage we just shot and start to see the film take shape. By doing this, we were able to quickly see what we still had left to film and were able to adapt the project as we worked on it.

The Grade

For people curious about what the footage out of the new camera looks like, we have included a side by side comparison with the raw footage beside the graded footage. We added sharpness to the raw image as it is easier to see the gradations in the raw footage. Outside of the sharpness, the footage is untouched.

Wrap-up

A reality of a lot of productions is that there isn’t a lot of time from pre to post. This process, depending on the complexity of the shoot, can be very challenging. What we hope we were able to do with this post is help with the process – even if only in a small way. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about any aspect of the process, do not hesitate to ask and we will try include it in the post as well!

If you would like to find out more or hear our thoughts on the camera, make sure to check out our post on the Cinescapes blog.

 

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