11Dec

Camera Nerds: Having trouble getting 24p out of your Canon C100 and Ninja2?

We’ve been testing the awesome new Canon c100 cinema EOS camera, and the new Ninja2 external recorder. However, getting 24p out of the Canon c100 and into the Ninja2 has been a real trick… when you connect everything up, you’ll find the 24p option on the Ninja2 is “grayed out”.

After much time spent trying dozens of different options, I picked up the camera and moved it to another place.

And suddenly the 24p option worked!

I turned everything off, and tried again. No go! No 24p on the Ninja!

Then I waved my hand in front of the lens.

And the Ninja2’s 24p options became active, again.

Why?

Easy. By moving your hand in front of the lens, you’re telling the Ninja that the Canon c100 is sending a progressive signal inside an interlaced one. You’re showing the Ninja that there’s pulldown to be removed.

I know. Weird. But it works. I hope this helps a lot of you- I’ve seen dozens of people online begging for the Canon c100/Atomos Ninja2 24p “fix”. And this is it!

28Nov

Corporate Videography on an iPad?

UCLA Anderson recently approached us to help create an informational video for prospective students. The catch: they wanted to shoot it on an iPad. Why? Because they wanted to emphasize that, just like an iPad or iPhone, their new Fully Employed MBA Flex program is flexible, and can be easily accessed whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go.

I wrote a short intro piece that showed FEMBA Flex in action through several scenarios, and we supplemented that with corporate video style interviews, and even a remote interview done on an iPhone from a student. We also had a couple of tricky visual effects shots, including screen replacement on an iPhone, and an After Effects shot created after the shoot based on client requests.

The experience of working with the iPad was difficult at times (it has a very limited dynamic range, and of course an almost-infinite depth of field), and at the time we shot the video there were very few tools available to help us use the iPad in a filmic/cinematic way (the exception being Tether Tools‘ excellent stuff- thanks guys!) but the client was thrilled with the final result, and it’s good to stretch a bit sometimes. I’m happy that, in the end, we were able to create a very credible corporate video presentation using only the iPad and its built-in camera.

Of course, I would not recommend this approach for most projects. The subject matter is what drove the choice to use iOS devices as our cameras for the video.

 

 

16Nov

Latest Press Release: Video Agency PatrickOrtman, Inc. delivers for UCLA’s John Wooden Global Leadership Awards

Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) November 16, 2012

Video director and filmmaker Patrick Ortman created two films for UCLA’s annual John Wooden Global Leadership Awards last week in Beverly Hills.

The first film honored coach John Wooden’s storied life, including his amazing feats of success as a coach, and his philosophy for a successful life- his influential Pyramid of Success. The film also introduced the three Wooden Fellows from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, each of whom embody Coach Wooden’s values.

The second film honored Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s Chairman and CEO and the 2012 recipient of the John Wooden Global Leadership Award. It celebrated her life story, from her early days in India through her professional career, culminating with her Performance with Purpose, Pepsico’s promise to do what’s right for the business by doing what’s right for people and the planet. It included interviews with colleagues such as Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

UCLA’s Britt Benston, Director of Creative Services for UCLA Anderson School of Management, says “When I knew this would be a full-service, multifaceted request –with last-minute demands– there was no question about going with Patrick on this. Patrick can do it all: produce, direct, shoot, edit, create motion graphics, do the audio mix in ProTools, mastering, and more. He’s everything in a single resource. On top of that, he produced these challenging short films with soul and artistry. He would not sacrifice quality at any turn. As a reward, the piece earned multiple compliments and inquiries from members of our C-level audience.”

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is an award-winning Los Angeles, California video agency and corporate video production company, with clients ranging from the Fortune 500 to new tech startups in the USA and UK. The company’s website is http://www.patrickortman.com

11Nov

What Is A Video Agency?

Over the past several years we’ve rapidly left behind any new business that isn’t related to video production, and we’ve brought in substantial and ongoing investment in tools and techniques that have helped us create award-winning videos for our clients, successful web series and mobile-oriented video properties, and best-of-class multi-platform video campaigns. It’s the way of the world- professionals specialize. We’ve become solely focused on delivering great video to clients, and maximizing their video’s reach. We’ve become, in short, a video agency.

But what, exactly, is a video agency? And why should one hire such an entity?

Rob David from mega-advertising agency Ogilvy wrote:
“It is unreasonable to expect brands to have a fluid understanding of the advanced video marketplace. The changes come too fast and new opportunities open on the fly. A Video Agency of Record not only brings a brand the best of the current landscape, but positions them for the ever-changing but increasingly disciplined road ahead. ”

And that’s exactly what we’re all about. We are video specialists- we know the web, we know video, and we know how to make the most of a client’s video efforts from a strategic point of view as well as the creative and technical points of view. A great video agency helps you cut through the noise, enhances your brand, and helps drive traffic to your website.

Now, why not call ourselves a video production company, one may ask. Simple- because to us a video agency is more than a video production company. To us, the words “video production company”  conjure up visions of antiquated broadcast-only projects with limited vision. A video agency is the fast adapting, leading-edge mammal to the corporate video production dinosaur.

A video agency delivers far more bang for the buck. We give you the sizzle and the steak, and we make old-fashioned corporate video look, well, really old-fashioned. In addition to knowing how to create great video, we know how to position your video efforts for today’s landscape, and that ever-changing road ahead.

26Oct

Does Your Company Video Evoke Strong Emotion?

If you’re hoping for your latest content to go viral, it has to do one thing: evoke strong emotion.
– Scott Stratton, Fast Company

Audiences expect quality these days. I’m not just talking about production quality, although in many cases that’s quite important. I’m also talking about the quality of your video’s story. Does your video even tell a story? If it does, is the story simple, honest, and direct? And does it appeal, on an emotional level, to your audience?

Video can be incredibly powerful, it’s the most effective way to intimately connect, to convey ideas and get your message across. But video has to be done right to be effective, and even more so if you wish the video (or better yet, the ideas you’ve presented in your video) to go viral.

These days, even corporate videos are expected to evoke emotion and tell a story. The old ways just don’t work anymore, audiences are more sophisticated and have higher expectations. And it doesn’t matter if your audience is the general public or your employees at a sales meeting. If you don’t work hard to tell your story in a way that grabs them, you’ve lost them.

 

 

24Oct

All Push and No Play Makes You a Dull Person

Google expects their people to spend 20% of their time working on pet projects. That’s a whole day a week. It’s a really great idea, and not just because it often results in new products and services for Google to offer the world. It also makes for better performance at one’s “day job”. Google’s not the only big company pushing the idea of encouraging their people to spend time working on projects not directly related to their “real jobs”, either. 3M’s been doing it since forever. And they brought us post-its, so you know they’re onto something.

That insistence on working on pet projects and playtime gets me thinking about our business, the business of video & film production. Often there’s not enough playfulness involved- I know a ton of talented guys who spend all their time going from video production gig to video production gig. Never resting. Never tinkering with pet projects. I’ve watched a lot of them get burned out, and most of them fall into a rut, where their videos get stuck at a certain quality level and never progress to the next level.

I really believe that all push and no play makes one a dull person. That’s why we’re always working on a couple side projects while we do our paid projects. It makes our paid work better, and it makes us more well-rounded people. Sometimes, it even opens our minds to new ways of doing things.

 

17Oct

It’s a Great Time to be a Filmmaker

Whatever kind of films or videos you make, this is a great time to be a filmmaker. There’s amazing cinema-quality cameras out there that are affordable (Blackmagic Cinema Camera, 2K Raw footage), super high-end stuff that’s becoming affordable for professionals to own, not rent (RED Scarlet-X), and now, finally, ultraportable “crash cams” like the new GoPro Black Edition (2.7K footage).

The big drawback of the GoPro is its codec: it only records in H264 mode, which isn’t as robust as what professionals like. But it does have a HDMI out, so it’s likely possible that you’ll be able to hook up something like an Atomos Ninja to it someday, for better quality footage. Here’s a link to the GoPro announcement.

They’re hoping to start shipping in November. Which may mean you won’t be able to actually get it until Spring, who knows. But I do think this is a camera that every professional video production company will have in their filmmaking kit. Again, not as a main camera, but as a specialty one.

I’m excited. These are the kinds of tools that even a wealthy person, or a high-end production company could not afford even a few years ago. It’s a great time to be a filmmaker, and I can’t wait to continue using these tools to tell amazing stories, both for myself and for our corporate video clients.

 

15Oct

RED is like the godfather

Most of you know we shoot primarily on RED digital cinema cameras, in 4K (that’s a lot more than HD) resolution for our corporate videos, TV commercials, web spots, and so forth. It’s one of the many things that set us apart from the competition, as RED helps us deliver images that look as good as feature films for a fraction of the price.

When I bought our original RED One, we qualified for the very generous trade-in to RED’s latest generation cameras. Problem was, I was shooting a film and those cameras weren’t ready, yet. So instead, I just upgraded our RED One to a RED MX (new sensor, new SSD storage, etc). That camera performed amazingly on my film “Unlaced”, and it’s done a lot of work for clients, too.

But I’d always pined for the latest generation of RED cameras. Why? Because as awesome as our RED MX is, it’s a beast. It’s heavy. It gets really hot. And it’s a pain to travel with on airplanes. Still, our window for the trade-in to the latest generation had closed, so I figured we’d just suck it up for a couple of years and deal with what we have.

I considered jumping ship to BlackMagic Designs for smaller jobs, to still deliver quality work to our clients, even putting in an order for their new 2K Cinema Camera.

But today RED made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. They’d rented out a limited number of Scarlet-X cameras for a big project, and they are re-selling them for about 40% off their list price. I just had to jump on that, and we cancelled our BlackMagic order. For what we do, staying on the cutting edge is important. Moving down to 2K from 4K doesn’t seem smart. Plus, we already own all the stuff we need to make REDs work, and we know how to make gorgeous pictures with RED.

And now we can offer our clients multi-camera shoots, which will come in very handy going forward.

15Oct

The Biggest Secret to a Successful TV Commercial

We do a lot of local and regional TV commercials, along with the occasional national spot, and we’ve won a ton of awards for some really good work we’ve done in that space. After working with a variety of clients from the Fortune 500 to Mom-and-Pops, it’s become painfully obvious: the reason many spots just don’t work is a total lack of focus and the absence of a solid concept.

Conversely, if you create a local TV commercial that has a strong concept and message, one that’s focused and not scattered, you’re miles ahead of the competition.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

 

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