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Last updateThu, 21 Dec 2017 2pm

 

Introducing – Tools for Cinema Quality Assurance

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Cinema Test Tools for the non-Technical Manager – Post Installation Quality Assurance Has Begun

Cinema Test Tools is a free resource for the cinema industry, tuned most particularly for the non-technical manager. The tools include several DCPs, all with interesting means of testing the sound and picture quality for the interested by lightly trained staff. The lessons on sound and light are written to provide a foundation to communicate with the technician who must respond quickly and well to the information that they discover.

The key is a free Managers Walk Through Checklist that correlates with the many DCPs. It helps bring an understanding of the many nuances of the auditorium's situation in a straightforward way. 

Red's EPIC/Scarlett Problems {Update}

July 6 Update: A new Jannard post says the EPIC bug has been found and demented (and insinuates that it was the same bug that was holding back the Scarlet) and insists that they are back on the road of building the most best great and ultimate. A hint that the manufacturer is found, by saying that it will be built in the US, though that is not explicitly stated. The delivery dates are not hinted at, though some versions will definitely be in 2011 since the 28K sensor won't be available since then. 


 

Jim Jannard continued his excellent client experiment by filling everyone in on further bug and manufacturing delays in a 14 June reduser.com post;

 

... we have a bug. It has held us up now for two months. We have working cameras, as you know. But we aren't going to release anything until the cameras are done and bug free. And we have stumbled on an issue that has caused us considerable grief. It is unexpected and it has us baffled.

The fix could be tomorrow. Or not.

We have been a "lucky" company up to this point. The moon and stars lined up for us for the RED ONE (since we didn't have a clue what we were doing in the beginning) and the RED ONE did all we asked. The M-X sensor is incredible... as you know. Our new ASICs for the EPIC and Scarlet are complicate times a million. And they work. Another miracle. Everything was late but on track. Then we hit a snag.

We have an army working on this. 24/7. Trust me when I tell you that we have been humbled. I have questioned our aggressive goals every day.

So what does this mean? Obviously another delay. To compound matters, the company that was to make Scarlet has made an incredible announcement recently and has significant issues. You can probably figure out who this is. This will force us to find a new manufacturing partner for that product. When we 1st got wind of this, we decided to make EPIC in the US, hoping that the company would find a solution in time for Scarlet production. That now seems unlikely so we are now scrambling for a new partner.

The manufacturing problem that is mentioned is presumed to be tied to Foxconn in China who is undergoing some major restructuring. It has to have several manufacturers scrabbling. For example, Apple has long made iPhone and other products with this group.

The EPIC and Scarlet camera are meant to bridge the original RED ONE, the Scarlet with 3K resolution and 5K or better for the EPIC. As recently as April, the EPIC was slatted for shipping in July, the Scarlet in August. 

Richard Lackey's http://dcinema.wordpress.com/ has a great synopsis.

 

Bloom Compares DSLRs [Updated]

Details of the damned, but for just this one moment, these are those details for a handful of cameras that make the cut, manual control being the main hurdle. Take away point: There will be something better soon, so concentrate on lenses and skills.

Which… “Video DSLR” to buy? | Philip Bloom

The comments section is just as important...

[Update - 26 August] There is now an announcement for a Canon 60D, in between the Ti2 and the 7D. As one of the commenters says: "The camera you have always takes a better picture than the one you are waiting to be released."

Proof in the Pudding where Red One is Concerned - Leitner

This year, in presenting Antichrist, the NYFF showcased some of the most beautiful footage ever to originate from a Red Digital Cinema Red One camera. To the lamentations of a Händel aria, Antichrist opens with a black and white prologue of lovemaking in the shower, cross-cut with a sequence of the couple’s young child making his way to an open window high about the street. Gut-wrenching for any parent (and I am one) to contemplate.

...

After the foreboding prologue, Antichrist switches to color, a palette that’s pallid and shallow, with mists and fogs shrouding every landscape. ... but Von Trier and Mantle have collaborated on surreal images that echo scenes of damnation in Hieronymus Bosch, black horror in Goya, tangled limbs in death camps, and Spencer Tunick’s naked crowds.

They’ve done this by achieving exquisite control of lighting within the limits of the Red One’s digital capture—avoiding burnt highlights, for one—while extending artistic control into postproduction by ...

 

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Out Of The DarkAges; Digital has finally won over | HD User

Small Version of candle in cathedralAfter shooting 2012 with Panavision’s Genesis, we began searching uncharted territory for an upcoming feature film project that had a considerably lower budget. Most of the film would be shot in low-light scenarios, and lots of scenes, again, would play in front of blue or green screen. So we knew that we needed a low-grain, high-sensitivity recording solution. My digital compositors, and me personally, have preferred digital noise over film grain for a long time. But not every Director of Photography would think the same way. Some because they’re simply afraid of working in a different medium than they had been for the past decades, and others for more valid reasons like, for instance, dynamic range.

We started testing the RED One with the new Mysterium-X sensor, which has been shipping for a few weeks now, and then the ARRI ALEXA joined the race. The ALEXA is currently a prototype and scheduled to ship in mid-June of this year.

Now, because I’m so excited about what I saw, I’ll give you the test results upfront.

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REDucation Returns to LA Center Studios

Premiering to a powerful and positive response in July, the second presentation of REDucation is set for October 12-18, 2009 at LA Center Studios in downtown Los Angeles. REDucation is the first and only RED sponsored, immersive production and postproduction training that focuses on the RED camera. REDucation presents a rare opportunity for the entire production team to learn best practices, on set technical, and post production workflow from experienced experts and the camera manufacturer.

REDucation is presented in two separate training sessions; each is three-days long, or as a complete seven-day training package. The three-day RED Tech is crafted for Camera Assistants, DITs, Data Wranglers, and cinematographers and focuses on the technical support roles that allow cinematographers to do their best work. RED Tech also focuses on best on-set practices with RED.

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Great Camera Shoot Out...Film Not Dead [Updated]

Regarding the Great Camera Shoot-Out 2010, Philip Bloom says on his site (where there are also behind the scene photos: 

The webisodic series showcases the top performing hybrid HD-DSLR cameras: Canon: 5D MKII, 7D, 1D, 550D/T2i Rebel, Nikon D3s, Panasonic GH1 and compares the image quality of these cameras against the gold standard of 35mm film. In addition, the Canon 5D MKII test includes the new 24p firmware. 

The Vimeo site where the films prints files are also posted:

Each webisode of the series features various controlled camera assessment tests which include: resolution, latitude, sensitivity, speed & ultra high speed, noise, color & green screen. The battery of tests were administered under strict controls and conducted by Robert Primes ASC, Gary Adcock, Philip Bloom, Jens Bogehegn and colorist Ryan Emerson. See the reactions to this test following 2K screenings, where “HD DSLR is compared to 35mm Film”. The test results were projected in a 2K theatrical environment at three screening locations: Stag Theater at Skywalker Ranch, LucasFilms Ltd., AFI (American Film Institute) Theater in Hollywood and the FilmWorkers Astro Color Timing Theater in Chicago. Hear commentary from the screenings by top ASC, Hollywood, Indie Film and Event & Convergence Photographers.

There is nothing this author can say that the Zacuto website and comments don't.

[Update: There are now 3 in the series. Look out for the tabs at the same Zacuto Shootout link.]

Holly Shorts Winner Gets Red; Hayden Fun

Hayden Film LogoHaydenfilms 4.0 Online Film Festival Awards Ceremony will be held during the HollyShorts Film Festival in Los Angeles. Mark calendars for Friday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. at Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater at 8400 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

The 5th HollyShorts Film Festival will showcase more than 140 of the world's best and brightest short films, videos and webisodes of 30 minutes or less at high-profile venues throughout Hollywood. There are also numerous receptions, Q&A sessions, networking events, panels and forums.

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Matching Lenses and Sensors–Optics White Paper

Remember: A lens is not guaranteed to perform in a 5-Mpixel camera simply because it is specified as a 5-Mpixel lens.

Edmund Optics and Schneider Optics explain aspects of matching one technology's advances with another's.

Pictures and arrows at the following link:

Matching Lenses and Sensors

With pixel sizes of CCD and CMOS image sensors becoming smaller, system integrators must pay careful attention to their choice of optics

Greg Hollows and Stuart Singer—Mar 1, 2009

Each year, sensor manufacturers fabricate sensors with smaller pixel sizes. About 15 years ago, it was common to find sensors with pixels as small as 13 µm. It is now common to find sensors with standard 5-µm pixel sizes. Recently, sensor manufacturers have produced pixel sizes of 1.4 µm without considering lens performance limits. It is also common to find sensors that contain 5 Mpixels and individual pixel sizes of 3.45 µm. In the next generation of image sensors, some manufacturers expect to produce devices with pixel sizes as small as 1.75 µm.


ASC: New Officers - Goi President

Michael Goi, ASC has been chosen by his peers to serve as president of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).

The other officers are Vice Presidents Richard Crudo, ASC, Owen Roizman, ASC and Victor J. Kemper, ASC; Treasurer Matthew Leonetti, ASC; Secretary Rodney Taylor, ASC; and Sergeant at Arms John C. Flinn, III, ASC. The other board members are Curtis Clark, ASC, George Spiro Dibie, ASC, Richard Edlund, ASC, John Hora, ASC, Stephen Lighthill, ASC, Isidore Mankofsky, ASC, Daryn Okada, ASC, Nancy Schreiber, ASC, Haskell Wexler, ASC, and Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC.

“The members of ASC are committed to the ideals of the great cinematographers who created images for the classic movies we love,” Goi says. “I remember being enormously touched when I saw The Graduate when I was 8 years old. I didn’t recognize it then, but years later I appreciated how the artful use of light, shadows and composition by Robert Surtees, ASC served the story.

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RED Studios Hollywood Announced

RED Studios Hollywood LogoIn a surprise move, RED announced that they have purchased the property formally known as Ren-Mar Studios (Website History Page) and have (will?) renamed it as RED Studios Hollywood.

Jim Jannard says, "There are 5 stages at RED Studios Hollywood. RED will take one for demos, etc. and the others will remain as working stages for various productions." And to the question of, "Why RED Studios Hollywood. Why not just RED Studios. Are you suggestiong more acquisitions in the future?" he answers, "So as not to confuse with RED Ranch in Las Vegas."

The RED Ranch in Las Vegas was announced last year. Current news is that the site has yet to be built upon, but that doens't mean that work isn't being done on the design and permitting side.

Meanwhile, the famous lot that was at one time the DesiLu Studios at 846 N Cahuenga Blvd, and which has long been used for everything from movies to TV shows to music videos and band rehearsals, appears to be on its way to being a showcase for the new line of RED cameras, while generating income as a normal lot.

The Lake Forrest facility that now manufactures and repairs the RED cameras will also remain open.

Here is a link to the property map

Wexler Medium Cool and Coming Home July 2

Wexler at Aero Theatre - July 2, 2009       
    
Haskell Wexler, ASC, will be the guest of honor at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre for a double-feature presentation of Medium Cool (1969) and Coming Home (1978) on July 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Wexler wrote, directed and photographed Medium Cool, and he shot Coming Home for director Hal Ashby.

Ticket prices are $10 general admission, $8 for senior citizens and students (with current school ID), and $7 for American Cinematheque members. Tickets are on sale now at www.fandango.com and at the Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica.

Taken from the notice on the ASC website at: Wexler at Aero Theatre

Separating Worlds through Color - StudentFilmmakers Magazine

David Zanit writes a nice piece in StudentFilmmakers Magazine which brings out points that one doesn't think of until they need to be handled.

"...I wanted the shot to start calm, and then, with no warning turn chaotic. The point was to illustrate how our characters had to live in a constant state of unease never knowing when the next attack would be. I suggested we try to cover the scene in one moving take. The shot started handheld high up on a crane looking down into the camp. After a moment, the explosions started. As the explosions moved through the camp, the crane lowered, and the camera stepped off the crane and moved quickly forward through the camp.

To achieve this, the grip department had to get a special “walk around” platform for our crane. I stood on the platform wearing a safety harness that was attached to the crane. Another grip went up in the crane with me to help safety me and help with the camera before we started rolling. When the crane lowered to the ground, several grips had to step onto the crane to make up for the lost counterweight when I stepped off (to make sure the crane arm did not shoot back up into the air). They also had to unfasten me from the crane. All of this had to happen very fast; it was absolutely crucial that I did not step off early.

Standing on the crane with a mask to protect me from the dust.

Once off the crane, I still had to run forward into the camp with our very skilled pyro technicians making sure I was always safe from the explosions. My team did a great job pulling off this very difficult shot.

Read the entire piece at:
Lighting Period War Film, Shades of Hope | 
Separating Worlds through Color

 

Bigger Chips and Smaller Systems

Discontinuity. Game-Changing. Every 12 months is a new story for sensors and cameras, and this year it seems to be "How can we shape the larger end of the professional pyramid?"

Sony, then Panasonic, then Red. Capturing the flag of feature coolness is the marketing dream, with hopes of turning that into a quarter's worth of profits. If one group gets to hold the flag longer, as Panasonic did with their ______________, they might make a profit. One just hopes that the engineering team doesn't get complacent when they should be making the next version of cool.

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Transition Rounding Errors

Times of transition bring out the iconoclasts and entrenched white papers and no end of forum discussions. In his latest Digital Content Producer article, D.W. Leitner cuts through the arguments with a paraphrase from James Carville: It’s the audience, stupid. He's going to Park City with the partner he brought to production, long GOP MPEG2, and he's sticking to his decision.

He makes an end-around to discussions that started years ago and are still going on in the forums; compression, long gop, is/is not 'good enough'. And why not? As he points out, A) He did the tests at the time, with the technology available, and B) the technology has gotten him the product he needed at the budget he had in a manner he considered painless compared to a previous headache project. In the process he mentions that the technology performed without dropouts during the recording phase, a comment that is mirrored in technical papers (albeit a Sony Broadcast document), as well as many forum comments - the post production phase also is easier and has fewer dropouts while handling more data than H.264 variations.

So, who is to knock it? Use what works.

Except – that we are in a transition that has moved startling fast – 1080i was defensible until 1080p showed up in every home for less than a 1,000 moneyunits, as well as multi-processor computers and the NLE software to support them. The testing has to keep repeating as each technology ripens. For example, Phillip Bloom makes an astounding presentation which doesn't once attempt defense, instead showing all the same ideals of cost and quality for camera technology that wouldn't have been discussed by movie pros 3 years ago (and then, only to disqualify.)

The good news is that the horrors of the unresolvable video delivery and presentation format wars didn't allow a merely ‘good enough’ standard to inhibit innovation the way that 16-bit audio became.