Cut|Color|Post

excerpts, quips, and musings on the production and post-production industry, and other stuff of interest

Arri Alexa Mini Announced

What an unfamiliar sensation to write the words “lightweight” and “ARRI” in the same headline. But here it is: Camera manufacturer ARRI just surprised us with the announcement of a new cinema camera: The ARRI ALEXA Mini. A small and lightweight, carbon fibre version of their hugely popular ARRI ALEXA cinema camera.

This camera from Arri will finish off what was left of RED in Hollywood. The previous case for RED was the ability to fly their camera body on a variety of drones, jibs, and rigs. Now if a director is shooting on Alexas or Amiras (and who isn't in Hollywood?) and need to get a mobile shot or into a tight space they're going to grab the Mini, not the RED.

Further irony that this Arri announcement came on the heels of RED's Weapon camera upgrade announcement. I doubt that's a coincidence.

TIP: ShotOnWhat is a great resource if you're curious about what camera was used on a given movie.


Atomos Shogun Release Delayed

We know that the cornerstone of our success in the last 4 years has been delivering the technology professionals need at the right time & price without any sacrifice for reliability & performance in the field. So while we feel everyone’s pressure to have Shogun available, we refuse to release a single sub-standard Atomos feature. We will not treat our community of users as Beta testers and will not release the Shogun until the standard we are famous for has been met.

Well if that isn't a shot at Blackmagic, specifically, and RED more generically then I don't know what is! Though I appreciate them taking the time to perfect the firmware...whether or not they achieve that remains to be seen.


Final Cut X Update - 10.1.4

Larry Jordan has a good write up on the most recent Apple FCPX update. The most recent update certainly seems aimed squarely at the high-end post-production professional with MXF support, AVC-Intra additions, and high frame rate fixes. However, his concluding section gave me the most pause:

There will be much more to come. Apple is not turning their back on the application, but releasing new updates and upgrades essentially every few weeks.

The recent growth of Premiere Pro and rapid development cycles from Adobe are an excellent incentive for Apple to keep pace. Competition is a wonderful thing.

While many can, and do, quibble with Adobe's subscription model it seems hard to deny the speed at which Adobe now moves to update and bug fix their software. That has ripple effects across the market - Avid, Apple, Autodesk have to respond to that development speed or risk losing ground. I've not hidden my support and daily use of Adobe's Creative Cloud for my post-production team, but what I support even more is the overall competition. If Adobe pushes Apple, and Apple pushes Avid, and Avid pushes Apple, that's just fine by me. We're the ones who benefit from that competition.


FCP 7 on Yosemite

Oh, and that was running Yosemite version 10.10 so we know Final Cut Pro Classic is still working on Apple’s latest operating system. At least for now. I even went between Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro X on the same day so the two FCPs are living together in perfect harmony. At least for now.

I can only imagine the outrage that will ensue the day that FCP 7 no longer runs on the newest Mac OS. Never mind the fact that FCP 7 is now 3.5 years (and counting) beyond its supported shelf life. It was EOL'ed June 2011. As a corollary, if you're still using FCP 7 it's time to move on - Avid, Adobe, Autodesk, and Apple all have excellent software options.


The GH4 and DSLR Cinematography

In fairness though, the GH4 is not so much a ‘replacement’ for a professional cinema camera, more an additional option for the filmmaker which will be selected when the unique abilities of the tool are required by certain work. The simple fact that there’s even a comparison to be made to a $15,000 cinema camera says a lot about how far Panasonic has reached to connect with filmmakers.

I think you could also say how well designed, both ergonomically and technologically, the C300 is, that even after 3 years of being on the market it still sells/rents so well. As a corporate video pro the C300 is my preferred camera for shoots. I can shoot outside in bright daylight, inside in a dimly lit environments with minimal extra gear (rigs, recorders, XLR packs, screens, etc.). Everything I need to pull of a quick shot is onboard the C300 from Day 1. Even today in the growing world of 4k this and 4k that, the C300 still creates a crisp 1080p image that I turn to time and again for my day-to-day work.

That said, there are more and more cameras that are starting to look appealing to me (none of which are DSLR based cameras). Specifically, the Sony FS7, when it ships, looks like another winner for cinema, corporate, or event shooters. The XAVC codec continues to get praise from every corner of the industry. Sony may have finally produced a camera "for the rest of us" in the FS7 for around $8K according to pre-order pages.


When Will HEVC See Industry Adoption

“Therefore, there will be no single date for when the industry will officially ‘adopt’ HEVC. It will roll out over several years, and it could be beyond 2018 or 2019 before [it becomes] fully ubiquitous. That is not an official date, just my best guess, based on what I’m seeing and past experience. In particular application spaces, such as video over the Internet, we already are starting to see it happen with software encoding. However, it won’t be a complete or meaningful rollout until it is in the hardware for market applications such as traditional broadcast over direct-broadcast satellite, cable TV, and terrestrial, where highest picture quality at lower bit rates are required, and for UHD content to the consumer. These rollouts take longer.”

I think after 2019 is a good guess for when h.265 starts to become ubiquitous (though the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will feature h.265 encode/decode for FaceTime, see tech specs under "Video Calling"). The software for content creators has to begin incorporating it, and then consumer devices have to incorporate a h.265 decoder processor on their devices - TV, cell phone, tablet, game console, etc. And until HEVC gains significant consumer-level device traction you can bet there will be minimal consumer-level adoption of 4K/UHD.