16Jun

RED One Diary: Greenscreen and Tungsten

Greenscreen RED shoot, Burbank

It’s no secret that the chips that power video cameras are balanced more towards blue light (daylight) than orange light (tungsten, inside lighting). The RED One is no exception, and it’s not usually a problem. Unless you’re dealing with footage that is underexposed and shot indoors, and shot using tungsten lighting.

This was the situation from a recent shoot we did in Burbank. And using our 80D filter on the camera didn’t really help a lot because the lighting was already so low.

Now, if this happened today we’d have been using the new RED firmware build that gives much better results in these situations. But we couldn’t afford to go back and reshoot, so we were stuck.

Luckily, the RED community (special thanks to the 4K Ninjas for their constant experimentation and helpfulness) is on the case- there’s a plugin for After Effects called NeatVideo Pro that can seriously reduce the blue channel noise that happens in these situations.

We bought a copy. It’s magic. Suddenly, unusable footage is looking very, very good. Greenscreen keys that took a nodetree that looked insane in Shake are now easily keyed with one click inside Keylight. And I’m talking wispy hair and all. Amazing.

So we’re getting the word out- if you shoot or edit RED, get this plugin. Now! It’s only $100, and can save you tens of thousands of dollars while making it possible for you to deliver shots that your clients will utterly love.

11Jun

From the Interactive Archives- The Cluetrain Manifesto

Sometimes clients still ask us about why the internet is so important, and how to get up to speed about how the business environment’s changed and guidance with the opportunities and pitfalls that this brave new world brings.

Even though it’s about nine years old (which is forever in Internet time), I still like to point clients towards The Cluetrain Manifesto. Sure, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth, but what was once thought revolutionary and provocative has now become commonplace. Any company that wants to make it online needs to read and understand- and implement- the basic tenets of this book.

I just found out that there’s a new 10 year anniversary edition of the book coming out shortly, and in the meantime the text of the original book is at the link above, for free. Enjoy!

9Jun

Business Marketing In This Economy

stormm-plane

There’s no doubt that these are interesting times. And while the government may bail out or take control of certain businesses deemed “too large to fail”, it’s doubtful that small or medium-sized business owners can expect any help from Uncle Sam. You’re on your own. As an interactive agency, we’ve been in the interesting position of watching how companies deal with these stormy times. We’ve learned some things, and I’d like to pass them on to you.

Don’t Be RoadKill

What’s a business to do, when companies are failing left and right and you’re being squeezed from above and below? What you don’t do is stay on the ground, frightened and helpless. If you do that, you’ll soon be roadkill. Inaction = death. We’ve seen a few former clients and an awful lot of competitors fall into this paralysis, and they’re all either bankrupt or on the edge. You’re smarter than that, so strap yourself in and Read More »

4Jun

Microsoft SQL Server -> MySQL

It seems like we spent much of the first half of this year moving clients from Microsoft SQL Server database web applications to open source MySQL database applications. We’re still working with one of our larger clients on an enterprise level web initiative that heavily uses Microsoft SQL Server, but it’s fair to say that at least two thirds of our client base is now running MySQL, including several online store locators and other web applications.

Read More »

4Jun

Nikon D5000 Tests- Monterey Aquarium

Here’s some more photos taken on our Nikon D5000 dslr camera at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California last week. The aquarium’s a pretty tough subject in some ways, and it provided an opportunity to get a little better with “on the fly” shooting, and to get more familiar with the D5000’s menu systems and shooting modes.

Read More »

23May

Nikon D5000: Virtual Reality Rig Setup

Virtual Reality Rig: Nikon D5000, Sigma Fisheye, Nodal Ninja 3 II  

Here’s our proposed new virtual reality rig- our brand new Nikon D5000 camera, our trusty Sigma fisheye lens, and the Nodal Ninja 3 Mark II pano rig. We’d been using a Nikon D80 for our virtual reality rig for about a year, and while it’s amazing in its own right the new D5000 has the ability to crank up to ISO 3200, which is insane!

We’ve been shooting VR longer than almost anyone- ever since Apple’s QuickTime supported VR (with QuickTimeVR), and we’ve done virtual reality projects for clients ranging from Major League Baseball (a cool World Series project of baseball stadiums) to the Olympics (including a lot of venues), and corporate clients such as Sprite and Accenture. Read More »

19May

Open Source for Web Design and Development

firefoxad5701

Let’s get it out of the way right up front: Open Source is not the be-all, end-all for web design or development. There are projects where it makes a ton of sense to go Open Source. There are also reasons for choosing other routes. Right now, we’re helping to design and develop a rather large project that isn’t Open Source- it’s all Microsoft. And that decision was the correct one for the client and their situation.

That said, we use Open Source tools a lot, and most of our clients benefit from the advantages Open Source brings to their projects.

LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) has become our preferred development environment. Not because the tools are free, but because it gives us the ability to work with a wider variety of clients and a larger community of developers. I make a Read More »

16May

Another Good Review of Couch Cases

Our web comedy series is a Featured Pick at eGuiders.com, and their reviewer Varlo Vanore said our show Couch Cases is  “full of relationships gone awry, risque sitcom situations, and great side characters. I give them lots of props for the story lines and production value… This one is worth keeping an eye on.”

Thanks Varlo!

© Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved PatrickOrtman, Inc.