Blackmagic Changes Things Again

Today, Blackmagic Designs announced two new cameras (and some other stuff, like a new version of DaVinci Resolve- one of the tools I use every day to make beautiful videos and films). The first is a 4K, super35mm sensor camera that uses Canon EF lenses. Oh, and it’s got a global shutter. Price? $4,000. They claim it’ll be shipping in July, too.

The second is a pocket Super16mm 1080p camera that records ProRes or compressed DNG (like the 4K camera). It’s TINY. It fits in the palm of your hand. And it can use the beautiful Leica and Fuji lenses we own and use on our XPro-1, with an adapter. Price? $999.

This shakes things up quite a bit in my world. Now, if Blackmagic can actually ship these things in quantity, on time… well, it’ll change things for filmmakers of all budgets.

I pre-ordered the pocket one today. Why? Because it’s priced right, and because I can use lenses I love with it, and because I can put it in a bag and use it underwater if I like. It’s just incredibly flexible. Oh, and I’d be able to shoot stuff in crowds and in plain sight without getting busted by the police. Not that I’d ever do that, of course- one must obey the laws of one’s municipality regarding shooting films.

I’ll most likely get the 4K one, too, but I want to see some footage and get some “in the field” reports of it, first.

To me, these cameras really aren’t for TV commercial production, or corporate work. They’re for indie filmmakers. They’re what the RED Scarlet should have been, which is a quality way to record images that look like film. Blackmagic is even branding these cameras as “digital film”. For most TV jobs, we’ll stick to Alexas and Canon’s C-300 or whatever the latest is (that’s another story), because those cameras are the standards and they do an excellent job. But if I were shooting another indie film like “Unlaced”, or maybe a web series, I’d seriously consider using the Blackmagic cinema cameras.

 

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What’s it like on a green screen set?

Here’s a video we made a few years back that shows exactly what it’s like to be on set in a green screen stage:

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“Unlaced” Official Selection, West Chester International Film Festival

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We’re pleased to announce that “Unlaced” is an official selection of the West Chester International Film Festival. More on “Unlaced“.

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“Unlaced” Movie Trailer

Here’s the promotional trailer for my film “Unlaced”. It’s about a man whose life has come undone, and it’s based on a true story. This is the theatrical trailer (so as Grandpa Simpson would say, “Turn it up! Turn it up!”), and it will play in front of movies at AMC theaters in Boston as part of the promotional campaign for the Boston International Film Festival.

More at “unlacedthemovie.com“.

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“Unlaced” Official Selection of the Boston International Film Festival

laurel-leaves-update

We are thrilled to announce that my film “Unlaced” is an official selection of the Boston International Film Festival, this April in Boston, MA. Thank you, Boston! And congratulations to everyone in the “Unlaced” family.

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Studio City Film Festival Day and Time for “Unlaced”

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Hey, everybody- “Unlaced” is playing in Block 18, on Friday, February 8th. We’re the second film in the block, and we’re playing immediately after “Elegy for a Revolutionary”, a really well-produced, big budget short film that’s won about 20 awards according to its website. Fantastic!

Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 if you reserve online. Check out www.studiocityfilmfestival.com for details.

Don’t know what “Unlaced” is about? Visit our page, or check us out on Facebook.

 

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Studio City Film Festival & More

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My film “Unlaced” is set to be shown at the 2013 Studio City Film Festival, and we’re very excited to see it up on the big screen. The festival runs February 6-10, and we’ll have our exact date and time to share, soon.

Also, we’re currently working on a documentary for our UK client, and I just finished directing 3 episodes of a private TV show for a corporate client.

2012 in Review

2013

Happy 2013! We hope this year brings you peace, happiness, and success. And yes, you guessed it- this is another “Year in Review” post. ┬áHere’s some of our 2012 highlights:

  • We were pleased to add a Fortune 50 client (PepsiCo) to our already stellar Fortune 500 client list, with our well-received short film about PepsiCo’s amazing CEO Indra Nooyi.
  • Our client UCLA worked with us to create the first college promotional film shot entirely on an iPad. It turned out surprisingly well.
  • UCLA also partnered with us to create another well-received short film about legendary basketball coach and leader John Wooden.
  • Oxford University Press continued to work with us, and we shot video interviews and other material for a documentary on Los Angeles food truck culture.
  • We got to interview and video a number of other interesting and often high-profile people in 2012, including Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed (he’s an excellent interview, by the way). And we’re proud of the web promos, TV commercials, and corporate video production work we created for our technology, legal, and other clients this past year. Thank you all for your patronage.
  • On a more personal note, we finished production and post production on Patrick’s short drama “Unlaced”. It’s about a man whose life has come undone, and was shot in glorious widescreen on RED digital cinema cameras. It looks amazing, and begins showing at film festivals this fall.

2012 was a year of growth and tons of great video production projects for cool clients. Cheers to an even better 2013!

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!

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.