MOX Open Source Movie Format Crowdfunding Campaign

If you've ever longed for an open source alternative to Quicktime, now you can hep make it happen. From the MOX Indiegogo page:

There are already movie formats aimed at professional users, but they each fall short in one way or another. Some are not cross-platform, making them difficult to hand off to colleagues. Others do not support key features like higher bit depths and lossless compression. Few have well-designed APIs so that applications can take full advantage of them. Most require developers to pay licensing fees.

The source of these failings is that the formats are not open. Controlled by video software companies, their inner workings are shrouded in mystery. If users need the format to add a new feature or support a different operating system, it is entirely at the company's discretion to do so.

Compare this to an open format like JPEG, which can be read by any program on any device. Or see how OpenEXR has evolved to add features for today's visual effects artists. There's no reason we can't have the same freedom with a movie format.

Imagine of ProRes wasn't controlled by Apple. Imagine a movie file that played back with the correct gamma on every computer. Imagine multi-channel, high-bit-depth movie files for VFX collaboration. Imagine a camera that shoots both a lightly-compressed, ungraded log digital negative and a compressed edit proxy with the on-set LUT baked in—both in the same file.

The film industry needs this.

MOX is the brainchild of Brendan Bolles, who co-created eLin with me at The Orphanage, and wrote the OpexEXR code that now ships with Adobe After Effects.

I love that the campaign is simple and clean, with no superfluous perks like t-shirts to distract Brendan from his coding tasks.

Please contribute. If you have questions or skepticisms, please let Brendan know, either on the campaign page or on Twitter. He's making this for you, so tell him what you need.

Introducing Offload

When Red Giant introduced BulletProof, we sought to solve a great number of problems with gathering, organizing, and managing the huge quantity of media we create with our cameras. Some people swear by it, but it's a lot of app.

Everyone needs a trusted system for copying footage from their camera cards to their computer. For most shooters I know (video and stills), that's still a manual, drag-and-drop process. It's fussy and error-prone, and there's no way to be sure your files are free from corruptions or errors. Want a backup? Manually initiate another copy.

Today, Red Giant launches Offload. It's a simple, powerful app for getting your shots off your camera and onto your computer.

Speed

Offload is fast, at both copying and verification.

Safety

Offload uses the field-proven checksum-verified copy technology from BulletProof. Each file is tested to be identical to the camera original, and Offload shows you this process in an intuitive, graphical way.

Configurable

We realize you've been doing this without our help for a while now, so Offload allows you to easily set up folder naming templates using dates, camera info, and custom text. Keep your same workflow—but let Offload automate it for you.

Director-Proof

Offload is easy. There's nothing to learn. It has one screen, no options, and no catalog file to manage. You already know how to use it.

Visible From Space

You're on a shoot with a hundred things on your mind. You return to your laptop and try to remember if the card sticking out of it has been copied and backed up, or just copied, or hasn't been copied yet. Just me?

Offload's interface is big, colorful, and communicative. Gold means something's happening. Blue means done and safe. Red means bad. You'll know your copy progress at a glance, even from across a busy set.

Backup

Offload makes it easy to add a second, backup copy destination. The copy finishes first, and you can remove your media card right away. The backup will continue in the background, using the same checksum-verified technology.

Works Your Way

Offload plays nice with your exitsting workflow, instead of trying to replace it. It's just a better way to copy files. For example, if you double-click a thumbnail, Offload takes you right to the media file.

Offload is simple, powerful, and affordable. It doesn't ask you to change how you work. It makes the process of transferring media visual, easy, and fast. Its checksummed copy technology could save your butt. It's available today from Red Giant for only $49, or as a part of the Shooter Suite, which also includes PluralEyes and BulletProof.

Cameras Cameras Cameras

Between IBC and Photokina, the past couple of weeks have seen numerous interesting camera announcements.

Panasonic LX100

Panasonic announced the LUMIX LX100. The name makes as much sense as camera names ever can, as it's bigger and badder than the single-digit LX models that were my point-and-shoots of choice for years. Some of my most-loved photos were made with my LX1, LX2, and LX3. I have an eight-foot-wide print from my LX2 hanging in my home. The LX100 is a MFT camera with a 10.9–34mm ƒ/1.7–2.8 lens (24–75mm AOV equivalent), that you can operate one-handed, even if you can't fit it in a pocket. For stills only, this is a tempting street-shooter at $899 (Amazon pre-order).

Oh, but it does shoot 4K video. Which means everything shoot 4K video these days.

Except the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Here it is. Don't buy it.

Samsung NX1

Samsung announced the NX1 Mirrorless Digital Camera. It features a Super-35 sensor and shoots 24p 4K to HVEC H.265, which is a next-generation codec that promises higher quality and smaller file sizes than current popular codecs such as H.264. The price for all that is insanely low at $1,499 (Amazon pre-order), but it's a Samsung lens mount, so get ready to do the adapter dance.

Canon, time to wake up and smell the Samsung.

AJA CION

AJA announced the CION at NAB 2014, and they perplexed me with their statements that the camera, while capturing an alleged 12 stops of dynamic range and recording to 4:4:4 ProRes, would not have a log recording option. Well, the demo footage they brought to IBC seems to corroborate my suspicion that, while AJA might have designed a great form factor for their first camera, they might not have figured out how to make it produce competitive imagery. Check out this deep dive on the footage by Art Adams.

Question: What is in this reel that shows me what an amazing camera the Cion is? Answer: nothing.

AJA proudly labels the footage "ungraded," but it's contrasty and color skewed. Adams spends a lot of time on the color problems he observed, but my biggest issue is the luminance response. This camera should shoot log, period.

Apertus AXIOM Beta

The Apertus AXIOM beta crowdfunding campaign has 13 days left to raise $100,000. Once again, I find myself skeptimistic.

Sony PXW-FS7

Super 35, 4K up to 60 fps, HD up to 180 fps. Configurable viewfinder and super cool handgrip included. All for $7,999 (B&H preorder).

When the CION and Blackmagic URSA were unveiled, I joked that the companies had announced "camera-shaped cameras." But the FS7 is a camera truly designed to be operated by a human being, right out of the box. I want one.

Alexa 65

Meanwhile, in the big kids department, ARRI announced the Alexa 65. From newshooter.com:

The sensor is slightly larger than a 65mm 5-perf film frame and is comprised of three Alexa sensors that are arranged vertically and seamlessly stitched together.

The camera uses rehoused Hasselblad medium format lenses that cover the sensor and are of the highest quality. The lens mount is a larger PL type.

Damn.