On Camera Technology & Filmmaking

patrickErnest

This is how we got beautiful, cinema-quality 720p HD, 35mm-sized sensor imagery only a few years ago. This was state-of-the-art, a Panasonic HVX-200 with a 35mm lens adapter and external monitor. Unless you were shooting a project in the very-high-end, you had to deal with Frankenstein-like contraptions like this to get a beautiful, filmic look to your HD footage.

Our new Canon EOS C-100 gets a massively better image and can almost fit in the palm of your hand. Our RED MX is bigger, but gives an arguably even better image than the c-100 (I say arguably, because the RED gets its butt kicked in low-light and skin tones by the Canon C-Series).

The thing is, these days we all have an embarrassment of great camera choices. If you’re making a movie, a high-end corporate film, a tv commercial: the tools are there. Now it’s up to you to make your tools sing.

That’s why I don’t hang out on camera message boards so much, anymore. It doesn’t matter to me if we’re shooting RED, Arri Alexa, Canon… whatever. They’re all good, they all have their uses. And I think that’s a healthy attitude. In the end, when I make a film it’s not about worshipping camera specs. It’s about telling a story.

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!

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.

 

 

About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.