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Raafi Rivero

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About Raafi Rivero

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    Brooklyn, NY

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  1. Why Color and Skintones are so tricky to get right

    Here's a pretty comprehensive LED test that was on NoFilmSchool a few weeks back. I thought it was pretty helpful showing the plusses and minuses of a bunch of different brands (including price) in both daylight and tungsten modes: http://nofilmschool.com/2017/04/2017-led-light-shootout
  2. Kinefinity Terra is now shipping!

    Some new Kinefinity Terra footage shot in RAW. Call me a believer.
  3. What is the definition of a "cinema" camera?

    Basically, yes. Super 35mm sensor or larger, professional codec (usually RAW, but if not a high-bitrate codec), minimum 10-bit processing but 12-bit preferred, professional lens mount (PL or EF).
  4. Kinefinity Terra is now shipping!

    BMD's customer service hasn't exactly been stellar either, and they're native English speakers so not sure the comparison really holds water. To me, the advantages of the Terra cameras over BMD are the higher ISO, less FPN in the shadows, lighter weight, cheaper media, ability to add speed-boosters, and more lens mount options. The Ursas obviously have native RAW support via Resolve and faster shipping times. and the UM Pro has native ND which is huge. They're very even competitors in my book, all the way to their near-identical pricing.
  5. Please explain: Video vs. "organic"/cinematic look

    I'm a big fan of the A/B test. Meaning put on your favorite scene from your favorite director (Scorsese, Coppola, Spike Lee, whoever)... and then put on the last thing that you've shot. What are the differences? The low-hanging fruit are things like sensor size and resolution, followed by dynamic range, bit depth, and motion cadence. Then you move on to lenses, lighting, and camera motion. Then there's color-correction. Followed by production design, locations, and costume choices. And, finally, talent. The "look" of your project results from a confluence of all of these things. As you start out, almost none of these will be comparable to your favorite films. But you can pick them off one-by-one. Start noticing things. Get better. Over time you'll inch closer to your idols. Stu Maschwitz, one of the minds behind Red Giant Software, has been writing about getting a film look out of digital tech since the MiniDV era, then designing products to help you achieve it. Lots of insights in his archive.
  6. Handheld Shooting

    Here's a pic of the rig. It's all spare parts or different things I picked up on eBay or at B&H - at least 3 different brands for the top handle, shoulder pad, rails, etc. I have a follow-focus but it's not pictured, and probably didn't use it on that shoot. On the back is a Ken-Lab KS-6 gyro stabilizer. It does help stabilize things a little bit, but it makes noise and the battery runs out after about an hour of use so it's mainly just a counter-weight on the back of the rig. @mercer - it wasn't ML Raw, just plain-old h.264, but I did use a LUT from Vision Color in-camera, and another (light) pass on color in post.
  7. Handheld Shooting

    That thing looks pretty cool!
  8. Handheld Shooting

    Thanks! Yeah I agree, there are a few shots where the shake is unwelcome. That was actually my first shoot with that rig, but I'll never go back to just shooting handheld without one. (until I get a camera with IBIS, that is). Camera was 5D mkII, and lens-wise I had three Leica R primes (manual focus) and two Canon zooms: the 24-70 L and the 70-200 L. The interviews and stuff inside the tents was most likely the primes with manual focus, the racing + track stuff was all on the zooms. Part 1 was shot only on the primes. Really like the smoothness of most shots on that one, too.
  9. Handheld Shooting

    The cheap stabilizers like the Glidecam, etc can give smooth shots but take a long time to balance the camera. Something like that works better for cinema-type shooting where every shot is planned and the extra time to set things up is built into the day. The other disadvantage of those type of stabilizers is they really wear out your wrists and are annoying to use for more than a few shots. Monopods are good for stability, not so good for freedom of motion. If you imagine yourself following a character around or doing any sort of run-and-gun then these aren't a great solution. The are great if your style is to get lots of different static frames in a day and you'd like to improvise. But if your talent tends to move a bunch, or you don't know exactly what to expect then the monopod will not always be the right tool. Gimbals obviously give great stability and the newer ones are easier to balance. Ergonomically, they do wear out your wrists and lower back because all the weight is in front of you. And unless you also want to invest in remote follow focus, then you'll have to plan your shots to always be at single focal lengths. Not a huge concern depending on what you shoot, but a limitation nonetheless. The "holding the strap around my neck" technique works well for a couple shots, but doesn't feel good for a whole day of work. Your wrists and arms eventually tire out, and the image starts to get shaky. If you plan on getting a shoulder rig, the key thing is to make sure it has enough weight behind the actual shoulder. A lot of the cheaper ones have a shoulder pad but require you to hold the camera up in front of you which, wait for it... wears out your wrists and lower back. If you're shooting the whole day you'll tire out and the images will start to get shaky. A properly balanced shoulder rig, with counterweights behind the shoulder, though heavier, will yield smoother shots and won't tire out your arms as much. Shoulder rigs also have the advantage of leaving your hands relatively free to make focus adjustments, and giving you a wider range of motion. The trade-off is that you don't get magical steadicam-like shots. You get handheld. Good handheld. Here's a piece that was shot with a Canon DSLR, and almost completely on a shoulder rig. There are a few super shaky shots in the nighttime intro that were without the rig, but pretty much everything else except the two tripod shots was with the rig. It's not steadicam, but it's smooth enough to tell the story. And you can tell from the "right there" improvisational feeling of everything that I wouldn't have been able to get most of those shots any other way:
  10. 2016: Camera and Lenses in Review

    The Terra 6k has shipped to a few users. There's a very active Facebook group where I go to get my daily Kinefinity talk fix. Here's one of the first clips: I took the plunge and ordered the 5k version which won't ship for a few months. Wish i I had known Panasonic was planning to release the G85 - bought a GX85 early in the fall. It performed admirably until it took a ding and that was that. The G85's superior build quality is definitely worth the bump up in price. Technically it came out in 2015, but I'm really loving the Westcott Flex light: lightweight, portable, good output, dimmable. I got the daylight-balanced one during a flash sale at B&H.
  11. Why I am leaving this world behind (a love letter)

    On a recent project, where I shot interviews in New York, London, Mumbai, and Barcelona, I filmed interviews in the following configurations: - with an additional shooter and sound person (me on the b-camera so I could concentrate on asking questions, and the shooter on the A) - with additional shooter, no sound person (me on b-cam, set-and-forget sound levels with a lav and boom mic feeding into Zoom recorder) - one-man-band: lav mic on the interviewee, and boom mic on a chair or stand feeding into Zoom H4N recorder. Maybe my Westcott Flex light. A-cam was Canon DSLR (or c300 mk1 for a couple interviews), B-cam was Canon DSLR or GX85, Zoom H4N (boom and lav mics), Leica R lenses, and usually one light. There are tradeoffs in every scenario. With a crew of three there are less worries about gear. Everything is taken care of and you can really focus on the questions you're asking, how you respond, and ensuring a strong connection with the subject. This is by far the best. There's nothing worse than being in the middle of a powerful interview where someone may be bursting into tears, or relating the heart of their professional work, and you're sitting there nodding to keep them talking while wondering if your audio levels are too hot. With just one additional shooter, I find that there's a nice balance between finding the perfect shot and covering your bases on the technical level. That said, something goes wrong on the audio side in these types of setups at least 10% of the time. I've had nice results working as a one-man-band and keeping the camera setup minimal (sometimes with the GX85 on a table as a second camera). But again, the stress of someone leaning out of focus, the audio levels not being right, camera drifting, or the dreaded 12-minute limit on the DSLR can be intense. On the one hand these interviews are very intimate - it's just you talking to the subject with maybe one light, so sometimes they may feel more comfortable. The conversation can be very free-flowing. On the other hand, on the technical side there is invariably some nagging issue with exposure, focus, audio, or framing. Picking crew size is like picking the camera, lens, and setup for any shoot. Not every setup is right for every situation. It is important to consider what you'll be shooting and how you'd like to capture it. That is the simplicity you're looking for. The choices about gear and crew size should flow from there.
  12. Out now: FCP X 10.3

    Here's my story. I started interning at a post-production house in September 1999 and learned Avid Media Composer first. They eventually they hired me full-time and I learned Avid front-to-back. In film school I bought FCP (2 or 3) for personal projects. I stuck with it over the years and it got better and better. I became a diehard FCP guy. Never went back to Avid. Never left FCP7. I even cut a feature in 7 this year. Last year I spent a month on FCP X. It didn't stick. And this year, after another flirtation with Avid, and a separate flirtation with Resolve, I spent about three months in Premiere. Premiere has all the most important features from FCP7 that I needed to move on with my life. I can use it. It works. About a week ago I download the FCP X 10.3 free trial. And... Wow. It takes some getting used to - the magnetic timeline concept is not something that feels "natural" to someone who's cut professionally for many years (commercials, features, industrials, etc.). My brain is wired to think in tracks and bins and everything like that. But FCP X is fast. Faster than premiere. Faster than anything. The amount of time from "I have an idea" to "I'm looking at that idea on a timeline" is the fastest of any app I've tried. I'm loving it. It's missing a bunch of stuff from FCP7 that would help. Just a few knick-knacks and shortcuts that could make the process faster. But the trimming tools on the timeline, the speed and intuition that they add to the process. And, more importantly, the silly intermediate steps that have been subtracted? There's so much less friction to the edit. As I start to get to the parts of the post process where I have to send out XML and move the project through external applications like mixing I can see some of the normal professional gripes. But as a creative tool? I think I'll be here for awhile.
  13. Swing-away 3-stage Matte Box

    I posted this to eBay too, but would love to know it landed in the community. It's a full-size swing-away matte box for 15mm rods. It has two 4 x 5.65" trays, and the rotating stage takes a 4x4 filter. Includes french flag and side flags. It's well-used, but it works well. here's the auction http://www.ebay.com/itm/322306496203?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649
  14. GH 4 versus G85 for 4K video

    I haven't tested the G85 but have tested the GX85. IBIS is the killer feature the two cameras share, but the GH4 still has a couple features that make it a good choice, depending on what you're planning to shoot. Advantages of the GH4: - 10-bit signal via HDMI at 4k, if you plan to use an external recorder this is still a killer feature. The GH4 is the only camera < $7k that offers this. - VLog - if you plan to shoot cine-style or for color correction, this gives you more dynamic range and grading options - slow motion - GH4 offers up to 96fps in 1080 setting Really it comes down to how much or whether you plan on shooting handheld. If you're downconverting everything to 1080, then technically you can get a 10-bit image out of the G85, too. With a shoulder rig or something similar you should be able to get great handheld shots without stabilized lenses, you're just committing to carrying around more gear.
  15. TERRA 6K Footage

    More Terra 6K footage was just posted to the Kinefinity Facebook group. I could do without the watermark, but here are the links - viewable in 4K. And more downloadable clips (no watermark):