17May

I Really Like My Panasonic HVX200

hvx200 I’ve had my HVX200 for only a few months, and I’ve used it on a bunch of jobs- mostly small commercials, industrials, a concert film, and a short drama. I love this thing! First of all, I was smart enough to get a few P2 cards (you need P2 cards to record high definition with a HVX200- it records to solid state media, not tape, when doing highdef). And my Apple MacBookPro now has a nifty device by Duel Systems, which plugs into the cardbus slot and allows me to offload the P2 cards extremely quickly into my Mac. The new version of Final Cut Pro (shipped, should be here in a day or two) makes the P2 highdef workflow even easier. It’s also backwards compatible with my DVX100.

On set my HVX200 absolutely kills the other “prosumer” cameras I’ve used- the DVX100, the Canon H1 and XL2, and the Sony Z1:

I love the Z1 in every way except one- it records interlaced and it doesn’t record 24 frames a second. It’s great for video and industrials but for more filmic things it means I need to spend a ton of time in post converting it to progressive frames and a better framerate. That’s what we used for “Headhunting” and “Deliverance By The Slice” and it worked very well. But I don’t always have the time to do all this post work for clients on tight deadlines. Plus, it’s tape based. And that sucks.

The XL2 is nice, but it’s only standard def. And it’s tape based.

The DVX100 is still a cool camera (I used it as Bcamera for the concert video). But it’s getting old, and it’s only standard def. And again, it uses tape.

I hate the Canon H1. Just hate it. It was used on that PSA I helped out on last fall. Plus, it’s tape based.

Going tapeless with the HVX means I don’t have to log tapes and wait for long imports, and I’ve found that for my work 3 P2 cards work just fine. Most importantly, the pictures and sound are absolutely incredible. I do a lot of greenscreen, and the better colorspace of the HVX200 over the (also nice) Sony Z1 is really a godsend.

I don’t normally go on about a product. But this camera has changed how I work, all for the better.

20Apr

Not A Foot Fetish Movie

FeetI uploaded more raw stills from the movie “The Visit” that I shot for my friend Erica. They are here.

These are raw HVX200 frame grabs. All I did was stretch the images back to the size they would be projected at. Yes, the image at right has had an 85 filter added to it in post. I was goofing around with filters.

The movie turned out pretty well. Look for it in festivals soon.

I’m finding that I can get away with a lot more with this camera than with others. For instance, we shot at Cedars Sinai and on Sunset Blvd. No hassles from anyone. And the footage came out pretty nice.

I am extremely excited about Apple’s new Color application- sure, for critical jobs it is best to hire colorists. But for a lot of jobs, this opens up a ton of interesting possibilities. And since I do some of my own compositing and effects work I think I’ll take to Color like a duck to water.

20Apr

I’m Gonna Be A Creative Cow

My friend Brandon and I are working on a tutorial for Creative Cow, the largest pro video site on the Internet. The tutorial will document how we planned, shot, and edited a concert performance with multiple cameras and no synchronization.

I know, that sounds a bit geeky. So it goes…

20Apr

I’m Gonna Be A Creative Cow

My friend Brandon and I are working on a tutorial for Creative Cow, the largest pro video site on the Internet. The tutorial will document how we planned, shot, and edited a concert performance with multiple cameras and no synchronization.

I know, that sounds a bit geeky. So it goes…

20Apr

Heaven Just Got A Lot More Crowded

Woah. The Catholic Church decided that Limbo doesn’t exist, after all.

For those who don’t know, limbo was the place where unbaptized babies and good people who didn’t believe in the church doctrine or who died before they could partake in the wonders of being Catholic went instead of heaven. You know, like the people who died before there was a Catholic Church at all.

You gotta love a religion that proves its vitality by changing the rules centuries into its existence. I guess in the end they decided that maybe making one small nudge in the direction of God loving all of us would be a neat idea.

5Apr

Still Photos from The Chantilly Sisters

bellyHere’s about a hundred stills I shot last night for The Chantilly Sisters, a show now playing at the West Valley Theater in Canoga Park.

The show is getting good reviews, and a website is forthcoming. There are also plans to tour the show around the USA.

Photos on Flickr

Photos taken with my Nikon D80 and a crappy zoom lens that came with the camera. No editing, cropping, or color work has been done yet. Once the director chooses a few stills she likes I’ll do a bit of touchup if needed.

Despite the D80’s lens only being a f4.5 I think it did a good job of capturing the show.

2Apr

Frame Grabs from “The Visit”

JohnI shot most of a short film this weekend for my friend Erica. We shot in an old Hollywood theater owned by Ricardo Montalban (TV’s Mr. Roark from Fantasy Island and my own personal favorite Kahn from Star Trek The Wrath of Kahn).

This was the first project I used the Brevis 35mm lens adapter on, and while Erica wanted most of the shots to be deep focus shots rather than the very shallow focus the Brevis can give, we had a lot of fun with the lenses and possibilities that the Brevis brought. One huge advantage of this adapter is it just screws onto the camera- no fiddling around for 30 minutes to get it set up like a certain other lens adapter.

This is also my first project where I’ve had to deal with very low moody lighting rather than the flat blast of light usually used in comedies. I think it turned out pretty good, given our time and other limitations. The actual location looks nothing like what we created for the film, so unlike most of my proojects where I start out with a good practical location and then add lights to accent the characters and story, this time we had to create a mood completely from scratch.

By the way, the out of focus lights outside the window are Hollywood at night.

Here’s a link to the frame grabs from my camera- no color correct or anything, these are raw frame grabs:

Pictures from The Visit

I’ll be adding a lot more frame grabs as I import the footage and get it ready for Dave to edit.

2Apr

Frame Grabs from “The Visit”

JohnI shot most of a short film this weekend for my friend Erica. We shot in an old Hollywood theater owned by Ricardo Montalban (TV’s Mr. Roark from Fantasy Island and my own personal favorite Kahn from Star Trek The Wrath of Kahn).

This was the first project I used the Brevis 35mm lens adapter on, and while Erica wanted most of the shots to be deep focus shots rather than the very shallow focus the Brevis can give, we had a lot of fun with the lenses and possibilities that the Brevis brought. One huge advantage of this adapter is it just screws onto the camera- no fiddling around for 30 minutes to get it set up like a certain other lens adapter.

This is also my first project where I’ve had to deal with very low moody lighting rather than the flat blast of light usually used in comedies. I think it turned out pretty good, given our time and other limitations. The actual location looks nothing like what we created for the film, so unlike most of my proojects where I start out with a good practical location and then add lights to accent the characters and story, this time we had to create a mood completely from scratch.

By the way, the out of focus lights outside the window are Hollywood at night.

Here’s a link to the frame grabs from my camera- no color correct or anything, these are raw frame grabs:

Pictures from The Visit

I’ll be adding a lot more frame grabs as I import the footage and get it ready for Dave to edit.

30Mar

Happy Spring, LA’s On Fire

440145925_69f1d9704e_m.jpgYup, we’re in Springtime in Los Angeles and everything’s a burnin-down. This is the view from my balcony of the Universal City fire that happened today.

Click here for more photos.

Other than the blazing inferno happening down the street, I have to say I love Springtime in LA. Most of pilot season is over, so the traffic isn’t so crazy with out of town actor and producer types, and I know that when I get into a traffic jam it’s because a geniune LA native is driving like a freakin’ maniac or a grandpa on ‘ludes.

Seriously, it’s a beautiful day in Los Angeles… hope you enjoy the pictures. If you look closely at a couple of them you can see the Disney buildings and the Warner Bros. water tower.

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