Category: Creative Filmmaking

PSR20007b

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The GH4′s internally recorded 4K files can be converted to a chunky 2K 10bit ProRes 4444 image which grades extremely well.

To test this theory I call on colourists to have a go at it.

Arri Alexa ProRes files are available from their FTP server. Details below.

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The Digital Bolex has stumbled into the world. It is alive. Now it must find a place for itself. Most importantly of all – is this new replicant Bolex actually convincing?

Time to find out.

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Frank Sauer, Andrew Reid test the GH4

Myself, Andrew Reid (above right) and Frank Sauer (be sure to check out his work here) are currently shooting with the Panasonic GH4!

So the big question has arrived – is the GH4 worth kicking your girlfriend out of bed for at 5am to catch the magic hour light? The answer is yes and we are putting our new girlfriend through her paces with a week of action packed shooting, featuring free-runners, drones, gimbals, abandoned theme parks and apocalyptic Berlin factories.

Here’s day 1 of our GH4 production diary -

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GH4 vs BMPC

Already we have 2 affordable 4K interchangeable lens cinema cameras due and we’re only a month into 2014. Red Dalsa created the first 4K cinema cameras and these were first shot with on set in 2006 (The Dalsa Origin – Wikipedia)

Since then the rate of progress needed to commercialise such powerful hardware and sell it to consumers for $2000 in the case of the GH4 and $4000 for the Blackmagic Production Camera has been relatively speedy. Quicker than the time taken for full frame DSLRs to break the $2000 price barrier. Red never did succeed in making an affordable 4K cinema camera for the masses or a DSLR replacement.

Neither camera is entirely finished yet but I’ve seen footage from both the new cameras and shot with their predecessors for much of 2013. Here’s my opinion on how their strengths and weaknesses are going to work out…

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gh4 and external HD-SDI XLR unit

Based on a pre-production model

Since the GH1 I have been shooting with Panasonic’s mirrorless system for video. Without this series of affordable cameras my early work as a cinematographer and filmmaker simply wouldn’t be the same. The GH4 marks a much needed major leap for the line, the first to shoot 4K to an efficient internal codec AND output 10bit 4:2:2 1080p over HDMI to an affordable external recorder like the Atomos Ninja!

On a visit to Panasonic I got to see the camera, see 4K sample footage and give my feedback. Here’s an account of what I saw…

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Cooke lenses

What is it that makes Cooke cinema lenses so special?

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Shane Meadows - Blackmagic shoot for Jake Buggs

Above, left: Shane Meadows shoots with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Shane Meadows (Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England) is in my view the best filmmaker since Danny Boyle to come out of the North of England. While shooting his latest film, a Stone Roses documentary “Made of Stone” Meadows met Jake Bugg at a London gig where he was playing as a support act.

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Sony RX10 / A7R

More than any camera that came before it even from Sony themselves, the A7R marks the end of the DSLR era and a transition to a future. Next to this camera the Canon 5D Mark III looks, feels and performs like the dinosaur it is.

However it’s the Sony RX10 that is arguably the most capable from a video perspective.

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Download the LUT now

For the full guide to the world of raw video on the 5D Mark III – order the EOSHD Shooter’s Guide book by Andrew Reid

With the new version of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve (10.0) you can grade and edit 5D Mark III raw DNG sequences, with image quality at the Adobe Camera Raw level for the first time and performance through the roof.

EOSHD Film LUT is an instant cinema style which quickly and easily improves the look of 5D Mark III raw video in Resolve 10. No grading skills required.

This LUT gives you a more film-like image, a less harsh electronic look compared to the standard Rec.709 colour space and default settings. It gives you more detail in the highlights and a smoother more natural feel to colour.

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The Sony RX1 has amazing stills but awful video! I began thinking how could I use this otherwise great little camera for video? The answer is to rough up the image beyond comprehension, with trick filters. Here’s how I did it.

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5D Mark III raw tonality

To learn more about using raw video on the 5D Mark III, get your copy of the EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter’s Guide here

What is the real advantage of installing Magic Lantern for raw video on your Canon DSLR, specifically the powerful full frame 5D Mark III?

Is it possible to finally SHOW it? Yes it is.

Here is the most in-depth comparison yet between the standard video mode and raw and why the image quality is worth your attention.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Camera supplied by CVP who came through and fulfilled my pre-order from NAB in early April. Personal note: I was saddened to learn of the death of CEO Phil Baxter earlier this month and in Phil’s memory a fund has been set up which will donate a pot of cash to the Make A Wish Foundation UK charity. This charity helps fund memorable experiences for young people fighting life threatening illnesses. Donate here even just a small amount helps further the dreams of those kids.

The Blackmagic Pocket Camera is finally at EOSHD HQ, and comes from one of the first new batches to ship since the white orb sensor calibration issue was resolved. Have they fixed it? Let’s not get too caught up in things like that for the moment. For me this camera is all about the lenses.

I’ve been a Micro Four Thirds shooter since day one with the G1 back in 2008. This was the first camera to tempt me away from Canon and over the last 5 years I’ve been building a rather ridiculously obsessive collection of Micro Four Thirds glass for my GH1, GH2 and lately the GH3, as well as c-mount glass.

The best c-mount glass is mainly vintage Super 16mm from the 60′s and 70′s. Classics like the Kern Switar 26mm F1.1 for instance, which an ex-BBC cinematographer once described to me as being “made by spacemen” such was the performance before the technological era of computer assisted optics design.

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In part 2 of the SLR Magic anamorphic coverage we’ll look at how the prototype lens looks and performs on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

There’s also a poll in which you can help influence the final lens flare this anamorphic produces.

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SLR Magic anamorphic flare

SLR Magic are working on a 1.33x anamorphic adapter. Hong Kong based shooter Edwin Lee has tried it out. The lens is ‘compact’ and attaches to the front of your prime. SLR Magic say it works best currently with their 35mm F1.4 on Micro Four Thirds and the Canon EF 50mm F1.4 on full frame.

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Magic Lantern’s raw recording module for the 7D is a perfect illustration of why colour depth and dynamic range are more important than resolution.

It’s also a huge step up for Canon APS-C video shooters and free.

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Andrew Reid shoots KineRAW MINI

Thanks to Michel and Ludwig at HD Videoshop in Berlin for the test unit. Essential primer details on the MINI are here.

The KineRAW Mini is a very cool option in the emerging raw market. With an almost identical range of features and the same 4K Super 35mm CMOS sensor found in the larger, more expensive KineRAW S35, this baby version has a form factor I absolutely love. It is not just small but light as well – very suited to the kind of art-film-on-location shoots I love.

EOSHD takes a brief hands-on look at what the camera offers.

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800px-George_Clooney_-_White_House_-_October_2010

George Clooney is a canny operator. The director and actor has launched a tirade at the hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, now a major stakeholder in Sony, who is campaigning to have the profitable Sony movie business partially sold off.

Clooney says it is becoming more and more difficult to get films like Argo green-lit – echoing the concerns of other top talent in Hollywood.

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Turning blue blood green with raw on the 5D Mark III. A dying woman wakes deep in a strange place, a wounded dancer wanders crumbling hallways. All footage was shot between 1250 and 5000 ISO.

Andrew Wonder (Undercity / blog) has just released a narrative short film shot in anamorphic (a modified Iscorama called the Wonderscope) on the 5D Mark III in raw. Here is a guest post from Andrew on the making of – and his take on the DSLR raw revolution.

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Bolex H16

Above: EOSHD picked up this Bolex H16 for under 400 euros – it came with a complete set of Schneider Xenon lenses

I love the 16mm and Super 16mm format and there are two cameras on the horizon that could offer very exciting images. Digital Bolex with their global shutter, raw and extensive feature set then Blackmagic with their diminutive Pocket Cinema Camera which shoots ProRes and raw.

With only weeks to go until the expected Pocket Cinema Camera shipping data I’ve been stocking up on c-mount lenses. Here’s a guide to which ones work, which ones don’t, and how to spot a bargain.

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EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide, Cover

Dispelling the myths – optimising performance – never read another endless forum post again!

Payment via PayPal, just $19.99 (usual price $29.99)

My third book launches today. It is available to download immediately and for the first week you can get 33% off the usual price making it just $19.99.

It is an enormous 12 chapters and 106 pages.

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The EOSHD Panasonic GH3 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Anamorphic Shooter's Guide - Second Edition
More EOSHD Guides