The folks at Red Giant Software are smart. Not only do they create some amazing tools, they design those tools for maximum user productivity. The release of BulletProof 1.0 proves the point. For the past several months, Red Giant has put the software through a public beta testing period, soliciting feedback on all features of the media workflow tool. From the stability and usability of the 1.0 release, it would seem they listened to their users.
Greg “Freddy” Camalier worked in real estate when he passed through Muscle Shoals, Ala., and became fascinated by the rich musical history that came out of the tiny town on the Tennessee River, the site of two competing recording studios that produced enormous hits and new sounds for an extensive roster of musicians, including Gregg Allman, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Paul Simon and many more.
Some of the critics who’ve been praising the relentless suspense in the Tom Hanks feature Captain Phillips might be surprised to know about the semi-improvisational methods used by director Paul Greengrass. The former documentarian allows actors to break free of the prepared blocking and encourages operators to compose based on their response to what’s happening rather than on a pre-staged set of moves.
A tripod’s a tripod’s, right? So very, very wrong. So many shooters today are adopting the latest and greatest cameras, the newest and best lenses, but they’re not paying close attention to what their super cameras are sitting on. While some don’t have a problem spending $5,000 on a camera, many can’t justify spending another $2,000 on a good tripod and head.
Developed for single-operator use and extended shoulder-mounted operation, ARRI’s Amira “documentary” camera is capable of recording HD 1080 or 2K pictures onto in-camera CFast 2.0 Flash memory cards. Amira features a dynamic range of more than 14 stops, as well as low noise levels, subtle highlight handling and natural color rendering. Able to record Rec. 709 or Log C images using ProRes LT, 422, 422 HQ, or 444 codecs, the camera offers in-camera grading with preloaded looks based on 3D LUTs.
I reviewed the Sony NEX-FS700 in the November 2012 issue of Digital Video and at that time wondered about Sony’s “4K ready” claims. Sony’s 4K strategy for the FS700 camera became clearer after the announcement of the PMW-F5 and F55 cameras, which included details about the dockable AXS-R5 4K and 2K recorder. Somehow the FS700 would be upgradable to output 2K and 4K video from its 3G-SDI spigot to the external recorder.
iZotope is known as a company that makes software and hardware, including high-quality plug-ins for mastering, noise reduction and audio restoration. A number of applications come bundled with iZotope tools, notably Sony Sound Forge Pro, Adobe Audition CC and Premiere Pro CC.
One thing you never want to hear when operating any kind of equipment is “Oops!” The oops usually comes when you accidentally hit something vital, like the mode or reset button. Kevin Glenn of Videocam in Anaheim, Calif., sent me a photo of one way to avoid making that mistake. Tape a bottle cap (water bottle caps work very well) over the button to shield it from errant fingers and it is almost impossible to hit.
Dot’s the Up Side
You remember Mary from my Production Diary a couple of months ago. Yes, of course you do: she’s the client who said, “It’s perfect. I absolutely love it!” and then, a few weeks later, wanted a dumb title at the start.
Now she’s got another job for me and it’s brilliant. All is forgiven. A guest lodge in the Sierra Nevada mountains: spectacular scenery, hiking trails, horse riding, hot springs, tall red fir trees, snow-topped mountains and a decent-sized budget to boot. In short, a perfect subject for me and my Phantom Quadcopter.
I bill her for 50 percent up front. She pays quickly. I’m rich. Time to upgrade my Phantom.
Did Gyre and Gimble in the Wabe
Final Cut Pro X is steadily gaining support among professional editors as Apple integrates more features in response to users’ needs. Unlike the previous iterations of Final Cut Studio—where everything was integrated into a bundle of Apple applications—FCP X relies to a greater extent on an ecosystem of outside developers who have brought a number of useful tools to the table. This means that you buy only what you need and build out your toolkit according to your own specific workflow. Here are some tips on getting the most out of FCP X.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that in June Adobe switched access to its software from licensed ownership to a subscription model. After a year of offering both options—perpetual licenses and subscriptions—Adobe has decided to go all-in on subscriptions for the latest version of its creative tools. (Adobe continues to offer perpetual licenses only for Adobe CS6 products.)
The filmmakers responsible for the indie drama Big Sur, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, faced a number of challenges inherent in transposing Beat Generation hero Jack Kerouac’s introspective novel of the same name into a feature film set in late 1950s California. The freeform source material traces Kerouac’s (Jean-Marc Barr) life in the wake of his enormous success writing On the Road and his attempt to escape the demands and constraints of romantic entanglements. The film co-stars Kate Bosworth and Anthony Edwards as Kerouac’s longtime supporter Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
MTV has long been known as a trendsetter in the adoption of cutting-edge technology. This year’s Video Music Awards broadcast, held at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, featured the first use of the HDK-97ARRI Super 35 CMOS camera from Ikegami and ARRI, marking a departure from three-chip camera acquisition for the awards show. The eight HDK-97ARRI cameras deployed for the broadcast were outfitted with Fujinon Cabrio 19-90 PL mount lenses. The cameras were situated on pedestals, jibs and Steadicams, as well as in traditional handheld configurations.
Shooting the many interviews contained within Salinger, director Shane Salerno’s ambitious documentary about the famously reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye, was a years-long process. The first person to join Salerno on his project was Buddy Squires, whose list of credits would be the envy of just about any cinematographer working in the documentary arena. Squires has shot interviews with every type of subject, from veteran entertainers and politicians to those who are completely unaccustomed to being photographed. People interviewed for Salinger ran the gamut, from celebrities such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Martin Sheen to Ethel Nelson, the Salinger family neighbor in Cornish, N.H., who’d never spoken publicly about the long period she’d spent watching over the author’s children.