Friday, 30 July, 2010

Panasonic consumer 3D camcorder

Its here! A consumer 3D camcorder.

It shoots with two lenses. To a single video stream using the 'side-by-side' method. Any 3D TV set - like the Samsung 3D LED TV or Panasonic Viera 3DTV available in India now can play this video stream as 3D which you can view through glasses.

Also, if you have a Blu-ray player that can play AVCHD memory cards, you can just pop in the card and see 3D. Its still not a substitute for professionally shot 3D movies, but for simple holiday shoots it should be great.

Cost not announced yet. Details on Panasonic's web site.

FCP media management done right

If you have a Canon 5D/7D project and are grappling with an offline-online workflow. Or you've been through the reconnect hell in FCP. Or you need a better consolidate workflow. Especially for projects that originate with digital files like HDSLR files or some other such. 
Then check out this article over at 2-pop.

It uses FCP Reconnect from Video Toolshed. It costs US$ 59. I haven't used it yet, but I've seen situations where it would be invaluable especially the situation mentioned in the article at 2-pop. Check out the video at the Video Toolshed site.

Also check out other offerings from Video Toolshed. Many are free and really useful. Also write to the maker Bouke. A very helpful guy.

And please please. Buy it. Its only Rs 2800 or so. After buying it, when it works for you, do please write to Bouke and tell him about it. And copy me with details on how you did it. I could even pay you for it. Really!

Wednesday, 14 July, 2010

Canon 5D or 7D directly in FCP

There is now cosiderable interest among film-makers to use Canon 5D MkII or 7D or 1 D Mk IV to shoot for theatrical or TV release. The pros and cons of shooting with HD-DSLRs are all over the 'net, as are workflow discussions. And I get a call or mail many times a week on this.

My preferred workflow for Canon 5D/7D files is to
  • Buy as many cards as you think you need - so don't erase and reuse cards.
  • Make two hard disk copies of all shoot files, keep them at different locations.
  • Consider writing to DVDs or get a blu-ray writer and write to Blu-ray disks.
  • Stripe original Canon .mov files with time code before editing.
  • Convert Canon H.264 movies with striped TC to Apple ProRes HQ before editing(ProRes 4444 does not give any additional benefit)
  • Use a safe RAID drive to store files during editing.
For striping TC (time code) on Canon files I use a free utility called QtChange. With QtChange, if the correct settings are not used, it is extremely easy to permanently corrupt a Canon .mov. Result, reshoot. Use with studied caution, please. Also, do not try QtChange on Canon .mov files which are on a Win NT drive.

I've donated towards the development of QtChange and if you use it, I urge you to do so too. Bouke who writes the software, is a knowledgeable and helpful guy.

A faster and easier way to handle Canon 7D files is to the use the new Canon EOS Movie plugin E1 for FCP. This works for FCP 6.0.3 to FCP 7. Please read all instructions carefully and then use. Pay particular attention to the 'create disk image' step, and give logical and non-repetitive reel names. And please do not omit adding reel names, preferably one per card.

This plug-in converts Canon H.264 .mov files to Apple ProRes or Apple ProRes HQ upon import, and uses the time of day to stripe the files with time code. It also requires that the original folder structure of the memory card is preserved. But then if you've read the instructions you'll follow that part.

Link to the plug-in here...
This plug-in is free and you need to address all support queries directly to Canon.

If you use this Canon EOS E1 plugin, you don't need to use Compressor as this plug-in handles all conversion.
If you don't want time-of day time code but would like to add custom time code, you have to use Qtchange.

A recent article at
listed a set of software and plug-ins if one was planning on using a DSLR to shoot - short or long feature.

The softwares are...
Magic Bullet Grinder $49 - but you could manage to do this with Compressor or the Canon EOS plugin, or other free utilities.
Foundry Rolling Shutter plug-in $ 500 - but you can avoid rolling shutter at the shoot stage.
Canon EOS Gamma Curves - UKP 29 - but you can arrive at a similar look with some trial and error
F_DeNoise with Nuke - US$ 6000+US$ 4400 - and an experienced Nuke artist is needed.
F_DeNoise for FCP - US$ 500 - if you definitely are shooting very high ISO.
DV Fixer part of Boris Continuum Complete 7 FxPlug - US$ 995 - may get away with aliasing with careful shooting.

So, feel free to get whichever you think you absolutely have to have.

My instructions on getting enough cards, backing up your media, and using a RAID for editing still remain, and I urge you to consider storage seriously. Unless you have the option of re-shooting some or all of your footage due to data loss.

Due to the sheer volume or requests I get for digital acquisition, I am now accepting donations for support so as to be able to better ration my time. So, if you plan on shooting on Canon 5D or 7D and would like workflow advice or support during your project, click on the 'Donate' button alongside (to the right of this column below my picture), and you can reach me.

Thursday, 1 July, 2010

Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010 - Film vs HD-DSLR

If you've been to the CAS presentation in Mumbai last weekend, and are wondering how HD-DSLRs would fare in tests like these, please check out the Zacuto tests. This was Film - Kodak and Fuji - stocks exposing the same scenes as six top DSLRs that shoot HD video 5D MKII, 7D, 1D, 550D/T2i Rebel, Nikon D3s, Panasonic GH1.
Results of the tests, the Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010 - Film vs HD-DSLR are as below...

Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010: It's all About Latitude

Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010 Webisode 2: How Sensitive Can You Get?

The Great Camera Shootout 2010 Web 3: The Revolution Begins...

If you are a member, you can download these.
For those who don't yet know about the HD-DSLR phenomenon, its about still cameras that shoot video at HD resolution. Some love it, some gloss over the defects, most just get on with the job of taking great pictures.

Collectively, an estimated 200,000+ still cameras that can do HD video may have been sold so far.