Cut|Color|Post

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

Try Before You Buy AJA CION

If you're interested in the AJA CION then you may be in luck. AJA is running a promotional program to push the camera into the hands of the production community. If you fill out a short questionnaire and submit that to AJA they'll determine if your project meets the criteria for them to loan you a camera (and some corresponding gear) for your shoot. 

Ready to try the CION production camera on your own shoot?

Simply fill out the form below to start the application process. Your application will be reviewed by AJA, and if approved, you’ll be notified when to expect delivery of your loaner CION camera and associated accessories. We will begin the approval process soon!

Once you receive your CION camera you’ll be able to see for yourself the cinematic, film-like quality of CION.

Please note that the #TryCION program is currently available in North America only. Be sure to read the details of the program at the bottom of this page.

You can check out AJA #TRYCION program here.

The New MacBook

The MacBook itself, meanwhile, runs quite well for a device powered by a Core M processor and with no fan inside. Based on a few minutes of web browsing, typing my name over and over in a Pages document, and poking through Numbers, it seems like it’s up to the tasks for which it is clearly meant. It’s not for gaming, it’s probably not for editing video, but it does the basics really well.

It's a MacBook. Not a MacBook Pro. This machine is for general, simple computing tasks - Word Processing, Facebook, Twitter, online shopping, etc. It is not meant for heavy computational tasks, like photo/video editing, color grading, compositing, or audio production - it has an Intel Core M processor and integrated Intel HD Graphics 5300 GPU for crying out loud. Those aren't powerful chipsets. If you need a lightweight, ultra portable machine that lasts all day and has an absolutely gorgeous screen...this is your machine!


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.


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.


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.


You've Gotta Train People to Look at Things

This is a good way to spend your next 30 minutes. Cinematographers Geoff Boyle, Rodney Charters, and Bill Bennett talking about 4K, 3D, VR, lighting, and learning to see.

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.