Friday, 21 October 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
Thursday, 18 August 2011
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
8 Hours in Brooklyn - by Next Level Pictures
Production company Next Level Pictures has produced a beautiful slo-mo film using the Phantom Flex camera. Directed by Jonathan Bregel, the entirely Brooklyn based short, shot over 8 hours, has some wonderful scenes captured at frame rates approaching 2570 FPS and true 1920x1080. My personal fave clip is the brief but brilliantly wobbly tattoo shot, if i do ever get a tattoo, someone please remind me to pick somewhere really firm on my body. Shot on the Phantom Flex Camera, using a Tokina 11-16 & an Arri 150mm Prime
Claymore Challenge - by Tom Guilmette
Secondly we have a film directed by High Speed Camera fan Tom Guilmette, this is a brilliant short, filmed at the Claymore Challenge which is a freestyle mountain bike competition in New Hampshire. Awesome shots, some utterly bonkers moves played out at ridiculous frame rates, plus the obligatory wipe-outs too. For some really useful tips and advice on how best to use the Phantom Flex, check out Toms website here http://www.tomguilmette.com/archives/2690
Manhattan in Motion - Mindrelic
One of my recent DSLR favourites is 'Manhattan in Motion', by Mindrelic (Josh Owens). Using a combination of Canon 5D & 7D's and a dynamic perception dolly rig, he filmed hours worth of footage from various NY Hotels over the course of the month. Some of the night scenes are EPIC!
A day in California - by Ryan Killackey
Finally, another time-lapse film with some Tilt-Shift thrown in. 'A day in California' by Ryan Killackey is all shot on a Canon Rebel (which is the Canon 550i here in the UK i think) with just a couple of kit lenses and no dolly right. Its really impressive to see what can be achieved with mid level pro-sumer gear, with a little thought and lot of patience. This film is made up from over 10,000 shots, made all the more impressive by the fact that he shot 10,000 photos with a LensBaby adapter on his DSLR, only to discover he hated the results and took them all over again and produced the Tilt Shift effect via After Effects. I doff my cap sir.
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Dear Steve Jobs
I'm a big fan of Apple, have been for ages. I bought the iPhone 3, then the 3GS then the 4. I shelled out on a MacBook Pro and only recently invested in an iPad2. I love all that stuff, its life changing, without sounding ridiculous, for all the reasons that we know and love (could you do something about iTunes though please?).
As a VFX professional I have often looked at Apple for the alternative ways of doing things. I have designed and installed various depts that are based around your infrastructure, and have gone to great lengths to sing your praises when the bean counters were not so sure.
Well, I'm not sure I can anymore.
Everyone is aware of the problems or issues, that many professional editors and post production houses have with the FCPX release. I wont go into too many of the technical details, many better and more knowledgeable folk than I have picked it apart. But suffice to say, from my point of view, there's a few obvious glaring mishaps, such as no video out (my clients will love that), no audio export, and no backward compatibility. I'm not saying it wont be good, heck, it could be brilliant in a few releases, but that's not the point. Its not the software release as such that I have an issue with, its the attitude that comes with it.
How can you spend so many years, supporting the professional market, with testimonial films on your website, allowing start up companies and VFX studios to build whole departments, yet alone whole businesses that are based entirely on your software & hardware, then take it all away, with no more than a 'we don't do the pro market'. Its ignorant and arrogant and I would love to know what the thinking is behind it, and I don't want to hear the numbers excuse. I don't blame Apple for turning away from the professional market, if you can't be bothered to compete properly with the other guys, better leave them to it, but all I would ask is a little professional courtesy and a heads up that things are changing, so we could at least prepare ourselves.
And I'm not just talking about FCPX, that's just one example.
Last year I designed and built a brand new dept in a very successful, Oscar & BAFTA winning VFX company, of which I proudly still work. I convinced them to let me build it around your hardware (Mac Pros, Apple Server) all hooked up to an XSAN, with Final Cut software, working in tandem with Autodesk's Smoke on Mac. What makes it unique is the way in which we utilise the Final Cut Server software, developing and re-writing scripts to enable us to have a truly tapeless workflow. We celebrate our 1st birthday in 2 weeks.
About 6 months ago, we had a visit from your very own systems engineers, as they had heard we were using the FCS software in an interesting way and they wanted to see for themselves. They spent the afternoon, watching the work flow through the dept (over two physical sites, over a mile apart) and left, all in agreement that they we would have a film about our system put on the Apple website as a testimonial as soon as possible.
Your decisions have an impact on the industry as a whole, you should know that by now, but it's not always positive. By discontinuing Final Cut Server and no longer supporting FCP7, you have taken a workflow that you, Apple, were proud of and about to PR and ripped the heart out of it. What are the chances of you providing me with the code for the front/back end of FCS so I can develop it further as our business grows? What happens when I need a new codec supported for a tapeless camera, but you only provide it for FCPX? Why the hell did no one say 'we aren't releasing vsn 2.0 of FCS, in fact in 6 months, we're killing it, be prepared'.
There are many people out there that say 'stop moaning, its a new way of doing things, embrace it' which is all very well and good, and they can go and download the new FCPX, and be done with it. I like change, I love technology, but I've invested a lot of time and money and effort into my job, and I expect the same from the companies & suppliers that I rely on. Upgrade some software yes, adapt some hardware, of course, but don't just pull the plug on it all.
What will I do - adapt of course, but it wont be with Apple. I've been bitten by the prosumer supplier and I wont go that way again, not unless my clients want to sign off their edits via Facebook. In fact, I'll probably buy Premier 5.5, because you know what, even that's backward compatible with FCP7.
PS: Please, tell me it was the same team that worked on Mobile Me that did FCPX etc, it would explain a lot.
This letter is a personal opinion and in no way reflects the points of view of my employer
Sunday, 30 January 2011
Continuing the alien theme, have you ever played Half Life 2? No? Well, frankly I'm disappointed, but if you haven't it's one of the most successful FPS (First Person Shooter) games ever released. It's essentially a sci-fi adventure against alien adversity where you take part in a good old human uprising. It's commonly referenced for its amazing design and general futuristic style, most recently in Karl Erik Rinsh's short film for the Phillips Parallel Lines project; 'The Gift'. Now some plucky fellow called Brian Curtin has taken it to the next step by making a short film based in and around the world of HL2. Filmed on a tiny budget of $1200 and shot on a Canon HV20 Mini DV. The 12 minute short took Brian and his 7 friends 2 years to complete and no doubt a shed load of After Effects filters I expect. It's a fantastic achievement and I for one am intrigued to see what he can produce with a decent camera and twice the budget. Canon should send him a 5D.
This year at the 2011 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) the big hit was the new tablet computer, rumoured to finally be labelled as a genuine threat to Apples iPad. The 10.1 inch uber screened beauty, is running Googles new Android Honeycomb OS, designed specifically for tablet computers. If you have 6 mins spare, have a watch of the demo below, but a few highlights include full 16x9 playback of HD video, widgets such as the new vector based Google maps and a redesigned YouTube app, not to mention it has Flash on it.... I'm in the market for a tablet and was saving all my now defunct smoking cash for an iPad 2, but i may have to grab one of these and have a play.