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The 4K Cameras Debuting at NAB 2012

NAB Las Vegas is the biggest convention for film/broadcast professionals around. Once a year, studios and television stations let their video nerds out of their darkend caves to spend a week strolling the convention halls looking at all the latest and shinestist production tools.

Look how shiny that C-Stand is!!

But the real entertainment of NAB is marking the steady march of technological progress. Any filmmaker in the business for more than 5 years will have experienced at least 2 major camera revolutions. We had the DV revolution, the HDV revolution, the Solid State Revolution, the DSLR revolution…

And now that the camera manufacturers have sold us all a DSLR… a new revolution must emerge to draw out and reinvigorate the fanboys and wannabes.

That revolution is now for 4K.

Sure RED started with 4K in 2007 but that was before everybody had a DSLR that could shoot super shallow focus. It was the DSLRs that pushed for larger sensors… and now that everybody has larger sensors we’re starting to demand the resolution to go with it.

To put the the offerings from the large camera manufactuerers in perspective, I’m going to frame the discussion in terms of the most talked about (therefore most popular) movie on the internets: Twilight.

I will play the part of Bella Swan – a young naive girl who’s trying to decide which of these professional camera lines she wants to invest in (or at least pretend that I’m going to invest in).

Bring on the beaus!

Team Canon

C500

What’s so exciting about it? Following up to the Canon C300 announced last year, this "bigger brother" sports the ever elusive "4K" at 10 bit. It can also shoot 4:4:4 12 bit video but only at 2K. The 4K resolution is only sent out through external monitoring cables – the camera itself records in piddily HD.

How many Taco Bell paychecks do I need to save? A ton. This camera is still in prototype phase but word is the cost is going to be in the $25,000 range putting it more in competition with ALEXA and RED ONE/EPIC arena.

Other Notes: Handsome and worldly, the C500 is not just the typical boy down the street. And in the sunlight, he SPARKLES!!

Full Canon Press Release on the C500

EOS 1Dc

What’s so exciting about it? Remember when Canon said they would have a 4K DSLR? Well here it is. This camera has pretty much the same specs as the Canon 1Dx but it manages to fit a 4096×2160 8bit 4:2:2 24p video stream onto the internal CF cards.

How many banks do I need to rob? Quite a few. Announcing at $15,000 (which means it will be in the neighborhood of $12-13k), the 1D-C is closer to the C300 in terms of cost which kind of defeats the whole "democratizing" feel of a HDSLR.

Other Notes: He has such good tastes in hotshoes. You can always tell a classy man by his hotshoes.

Full Press Release on the Canon EOS 1D-C

Team Sony

NEX-FS700

What’s so Exciting about it? The 4k "Exmore" Super 35 CMOS sensor will be able to output a 4K signal via a 3G HD-SDI cable with a later firmware update (no word on whether that will be a "free" update). But what’s really new and exciting about the FS700 is it’s ability to open up the world of high speed recording. At Full HD quality, it can shoot 120 to 240 frames for second, more than 4x what’s being offered by most prosumer cameras today. At DV resoltions it can achieve up to 960 frames per second.

Not only can this camera handle these “special” high speeds, the camera is capable of shooting 1080 60p which makes it one of the pioneers in this camera category.

How many kidneys do I need to sell? With an announcement price of $9,000 (putting it around 7-8,000 street), this camera may be one of the more "affordable" proline cameras out there.

Other Notes: Interesting how Sony is going after temporary resolution over spatial resolution with this release – kind of the same direction Peter Jackson and James Cameron are going for when shooting at higher frame rates. Internal recording is to an AVCHD format that’s not terribly exciting. 4:2:2 output is available from the HDMI. Also he has fresh minty breath.

Full Sony Press Release on the NEX FS700

Team JVC

GY-HMQ10

What’s so Exciting about it? It was 4k before 4k in a camcorder was cool. Officially released back in January, the HMQ10 was JVC’s opening salvo into the world of 4K. It does have a fixed lens and a 1/2 inch CMOS sensor so you’re not going get the cinema level deph of field but… hey…4Ks!

How many pints of blood do I need to sell? The GY-HMQ10 will only set up back as much as most camcorders in the prosumer line. At about $5,000 this is relatively affordable 4K.

Other Notes: At this point, you have to start wondering "is there a need for all those Ks"? But then you forget what you’re doing when you’re staring into his lovely eyes.

Full Press Release from JVC’s GY-HMQ10

So…

Team Canon? Team Sony? Team JVC? Or maybe Bella should go back to that Bad Boy who scheduled dates at RED Robin and then stood her up?

Until Sony and Canon finally spill the beans on their super secret Scorsese Filter (which turns ordinary footage into an Oscar worthy film), it’s still going to be a matter of story told by a filmmaker who knows how to use the tools at hand.

The Assistant Director’s Conundrum–”Sloppy” Filmmaking Versus “Good” AD’ing

Know the difference between rushing to “make the movie” and rushing to “make the schedule”.

So, what is the difference between sloppy filmmaking and good assistant directing?

If you’re a fellow assistant director, or even a fellow filmmaker, you may or may not have ever been caught in a situation where you’re saying to yourself something along these lines: ”Well, we made our day, but in making our day, did we actually make a movie?” As in, a “good” movie.

Every show, whether it be a feature, a commercial, a TV series, an industrial…EVERY show has its own pace, and there are many variables that determine the pace at which any particular show moves–the size and experience of your crew, the style and working process of the director, the work ethic of the actors, your budget, the complexity of the scene of the movie in its entirety, the style of the show (period pieces tend to DRAG) what format you are shooting on (some digital workflows are time VACUUMS), etc, etc, etc (I’m sure we could let this list go on forever)–but, as an AD, it’s your job to be able to feel out the pace of the show and be able to move it along at its most efficient gait. Sometimes it’s a fine line…

Michael S. Chandler | Read the Full Article

Top 4 Filmmaker “Must Do” Legal Practices, and Why

by Gano Lemoine.

Aspiring filmmakers often let the contract and business details of film production be an afterthought, thinking “that’s not fun. Or creative. And I don’t have the budget for that un-fun, un-creative stuff. I’m working with my friends… it’ll all be fine.”

But they’re unlikely to do so again after the many problems arise (which they always do) and perhaps render their hard work practically and commercially unusable. Neglecting contracts and business formalities may prevent getting investors for your film, or may cause a host of other problems that mean a film cannot get interest or distribution.

What follows is a brief list of a few critical “what and why” business details that filmmakers must do, from the outset, to minimize obstacles to a film or project’s success.

1. Form a Production Company

Form a Production Company through which the film must be made. Why?

First, that will be the legal entity into which development/investment money is deposited. Why not take money/investments personally? Because of the second primary reason – liability. Liability in film development and production can come from multiple angles – from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for taking investments without the proper paperwork (a “prospectus” or “private placement memorandum” – VERY different from a “business plan”), or from an accident involving the cast or crew on set, or to a bystander not part of the cast or crew (think a lighting element falling onto a passerby), or to the production “losing” funds needed to pay cast and crew.

This “parade of horribles” isn’t fiction – it happens all the time. And if it happens without the legal protection of an LLC or similar legally separate production company, the legal liability will likely fall personally on the producers and those heading up the project, and potentially onto the investors – meaning that personal assets will be responsible for whatever harm or legal claims.

The third reason is that the legal entity will be the “person” (a legal “person” under the law) that contracts with all those involved in the film – from the producer(s), directors, cast and crew, transportation, catering, etc. If anything goes sideways with these contracts, it is the legal person that is held accountable instead of the actual persons heading up and investing in the project.

2. Get a contract with the writer(s)

Get a contract with the writer(s) for the legal acquisition of the script or story

A literary acquisition agreement (a/k/a an “option/purchase” agreement). Failure to do this means that the production does not have formal rights to the intellectual property it is making – meaning the writer/creator may have the ability to withdraw his material and prevent the production from doing anything commercial with footage already shot. So it is critical that this be accomplished before any production – or even development – takes place.

Think that you are “friends with the writer” and you’re therefore “in this together?” Are you willing to bet the entire project and all your hard work on that assumption? What is it that they say when you “ass-u-me” something?

Creative partnerships crumble all the time. Without a written agreement in place from the VERY beginning, the entire project is at risk.

3. Get lawyer drafted investment documents.

Investments – get lawyer drafted investment documents. Or risk having to refund all investments, fines, jail time, and lawsuits by the investors themselves.

Under the SEC and state securities rules, if you have taken someone’s money and have given them an expectation of a “return” on that money, you’ve probably sold a “security.”

Yes, even selling shares of your little film may well constitute a “security” in the eyes of the federal and state governments. That doesn’t mean you can’t take such investments. But it does mean that if you do so without following the proper legal requirements, you may have to give back ALL of the money taken for the project (yes, all investments – not just the one that the gov’ment found out about), and it may mean fines or even jail time.

And independent of those terrible consequences, failing to have the right legal language in investment documents leaves the production open to lawsuits by the investors if they become dissatisfied with… all sorts of things – how you’ve spent the money, how long it has taken to get a return on the money, the size of the return (or lack thereof).

Proper investment documents are as much for the protection of the film and filmmakers as they are for the protection of the investors.

4. Production contracts – use them – ALWAYS. Without exception!

Like it or not, a film is a business. Even the “auteur,” if he hopes to continue making filmic masterpieces, cannot ignore the business realities that filmmaking is expensive (even in this digital age), it takes money, and money rarely comes to one who does not handle it in a businesslike manner.

So even first effort indie films are a business – a proving ground to show that you can handle the business, artistic and technical demands of being a filmmaker. And as such there are contracts that MUST be used in the work of this business; contracts that clearly state who owns what, who has rights to what, profit/interest divisions, etc. The who, what, when, where, why (perhaps) and how much regarding the business transactions involved: the script/story option purchase agreement, cast and crew agreements, talent/interviewee release agreements, name and likeness releases, licensing agreements for use of the intellectual property of others (music, photographs, products, film or video clips (no – YouTube does not mean it’s in the public domain)), location agreements, craft services contracts, transportation agreements, insurance (workers comp, liability, errors and omissions, defamation protection), sponsorship and product placement agreements, distribution (foreign and domestic) agreements, appropriate trademark registrations, and the list goes on and on and on.

Reprinted by Permission.

Gano Lemoine, is a Los Angeles based lawyer with 19 years of legal and business experience, including expertise in film and television development, entertainment and media law, video game development, business, real estate, and class action/complex litigation. Visit his law site at Lemoine Entertainment Law

Everything can be Viral

Its the ultimate goal – the dream of marketing. Going Viral is what everyone strives for but no one really has a handle on. Here are a few examples of pieces of the production puzzle that can be used to get your audience to become an active participant in your film’s marketing.

Filmmakers need to be cognizant of the fact that anything they prepare in the very long lead-up to their productions is a potential piece of content that can be leveraged in the overall mission of engaging their target audiences.

I remember attending a discussion in Montreal by Six Pixels of Separation author Mitch Joel about how he may very well have been the very last journalist to have interviewed Nirvana headman Kurt Cobain, and how – in those days, with the help of desktop public and Word files – newspapers were assembled manually. He remarked how if he’d just kept his interview and liner notes from the interview from back in the day they’d be worth well over a tidy sum today which he could have flogged on eBay.

Humorous? Maybe not. There was a lesson in what Joel was saying: don’t throw anything out or underestimate the power of the work you’re doing in the leadup to your ultimate end point. Because you never know what has the power to engage and electrify an audience. You also can’t accurately predict what bonus materials audiences will ultimately pay for, oftentimes more than the picture you’re attempting to market itself.

So what are some of the contents you might think about pressing into service – extra-diagetic contents, stuff “outside of the main picture” – as part of your overall marketing thrust?

PMD For Hire | Read the Full Article

I Know That Voice!

The names may not be recognizable, but their voices are household staples. Even in an era where Animation studios are trying to insure their films with A-List celebrities as voice actors, there’s something unique and wonderful about those behind-the-scene actors who really elevated voice acting to another level. “I Know That Voice” explores their work including appearances by Billy West, John Di Maggio, Tara Strong, and June Foray.

Michael Bay’s Rejected “The Dark Knight” Script

“We pan to a beautiful woman: platinum blonde with a huge rack. She is the hottest woman in the world, but she wears glasses because she is also the smartest woman in the world.”

Who wouldn’t want to see this get made?

BTW: I just got done reading a bunch of tweets from idiots that just found out the Titanic was a real ship. So to all of you…. this is a parody!

C. S. Lewis Advice to Young Writers

In his life, C.S. Lewis received thousands of letters from children who were eager for more knowledge of his bestselling Narnia books and their author. Lewis always replied with understanding and respect. Below is an example where he offered 5 writing tips to his young fan.

In the book above “C. S. Lewis’ Letters to Children” are collected many of his responses to other letters, in which he shares his feelings about writing, school, animals, and of course, Narnia.

VIA: Letters of Note

The Kilns,
Headington Quarry,
Oxford
26 June 1956

Dear Joan–

Thanks for your letter of the 3rd. You describe your Wonderful Night v. well. That is, you describe the place and the people and the night and the feeling of it all, very well — but not the thing itself — the setting but not the jewel. And no wonder! Wordsworth often does just the same. His Prelude (you’re bound to read it about 10 years hence. Don’t try it now, or you’ll only spoil it for later reading) is full of moments in which everything except the thing itself is described. If you become a writer you’ll be trying to describe the thing all your life: and lucky if, out of dozens of books, one or two sentences, just for a moment, come near to getting it across.

About amn’t I, aren’t I and am I not, of course there are no right or wrong answers about language in the sense in which there are right and wrong answers in Arithmetic. “Good English” is whatever educated people talk; so that what is good in one place or time would not be so in another. Amn’t I was good 50 years ago in the North of Ireland where I was brought up, but bad in Southern England. Aren’t I would have been hideously bad in Ireland but very good in England. And of course I just don’t know which (if either) is good in modern Florida. Don’t take any notice of teachers and textbooks in such matters. Nor of logic. It is good to say “more than one passenger was hurt,” although more than one equals at least two and therefore logically the verb ought to be plural were not singular was!

What really matters is:–

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”

4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.”

5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Thanks for the photos. You and Aslan both look v. well. I hope you’ll like your new home.

With love
yours
C.S. Lewis

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