Tools

Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

Needables
  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Monday
Apr282014

GH4 4K and Slow Motion Samples

My buddy Gordon Laing of Camerlabs came to town, with one of the few pre-production Panasonic GH4 bodies in hand.

Naturally, we dranks some beers and ate some Chairman Bao.

We also grabbed a few test shots. Nothing too special, but I thought I’d share them here.

First things first: Having held and operated the GH4, I’m more enthusiastic about owning one than anyone should be based on this hastily-shot footage alone. The camera is capable of much better.

We played with 96fps (1080p) at the Ferry Building. The 96fps mode is a bit soft, with some color moiré. It seems (speculating here) that the camera sub-samples the sensor a bit to achieve this frame rate. Still, 96fps is fun as heck. If we’d had more time, I would have played with the synchro-scan menu to try to reduce the flicker.

At Off The Grid, we shot some ISO 800 4K. Or rather, we shot UHD (3840x2160), because it seems that 4K (4096 x 2160) is only avaiable at 24.0 fps mode, not at 23.976—which is a bummer of a (seemingly artificial) limitation. There are plenty of reasons to shoot true 4K at 23.976.

Other observations:

  • Even after choosing CINE-LIKE D, I was still able to adjust custom picture settings. Of course I turned the contrast all the way down, and sharpness too. But I didn’t have time to test these settings.
  • Off The Grid shut us down right away when they saw my Redrock Micro Eyespye Deluxe rig. So we packed it up and kept shooting video, using the GH4’s viewfinder. This worked surprsingly well. Holding the little GH4 with the tiny Panasonic 25mm f1.4 lens up to your eye provides great stability, and the viewfinder is plenty sharp for focusing, especially with the handy peaking feature. It’s a lot different than holding an SLR out from your body so you can see the rear LCD.

B&H charged my card this morning for my GH4 pre-order, so here’s hoping I’ll be able to shoot some better footage very soon.

You can order the GH4 from B&H or Amazon. Read the full Cameralabs review.

Thursday
Apr242014

Magic Bullet Looks 2.5

Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 is a free update from Looks 2.0, with some big changes and some meaningful small ones.

20% (or 200%) Faster

We rebuilt Looks to run on the Universe GPU engine, which means it now previews and renders “over 20% faster.” But depending on your system, it can be a lot more than that.

LUT Tool

Use one of the pre-built LUTs, or import your own.

S-Curve Tool

Often the purpose of a LUT is to add contrast back to flat or log footage. But working with a LUT is a bit of a black box. What if you’d like to control that contrast curve—customize it a little bit? The S-Curve Tool gives you a graphical handle to intuitively modify the curve to taste. It ships with presets for S-Log, Log C, BMCC Log, and Cinestyle. The defaults are, of course, designed for Prolost Flat.

Strength Slider

Finally.

More to Come

Rebuilding the guts of Magic Bullet Looks to use the new Universe engine means big things for the future. We’re already hard at work on the next great update!

Magic Bullet Looks is a part of Red Giant’s Color Suite.

Thursday
Apr172014

Slugline Birthday Sale

From the Slugline blog:

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Slugline’s launch. For Clinton and I, It’s been an amazing year of building and using the app.

By far the best part of the experience has been the amazing screenwriting community, more and more of whom embrace Fountain and Slugline with open arms every day. The feedback you’ve given us has helped make Slugline better than we ever could on our own. Your unanimously 5-star ratings and reviews have given us something to be proud of for sure, but we have so much more work to do.

But for now, it’s our birthday—so let’s celebrate! Today and tomorrow, Slugline is on sale for 50% off. That’s USD $19.99 instead of the usual $39.99.

Get it now on the App Store!

Monday
Apr072014

Lightroom Mobile

Adobe has released Lightroom mobile, an iPad companion app for Lightroom that syncs with your desktop catalog via Creative Cloud.

Is it the mobile companion app to Lightroom I asked for two years ago? Not exactly. It’s both much more, and a little less.

Lightroom mobile is based on the rather remarkable achievement of running the entire Adobe Camera Raw engine on your mobile device. This, combined with the recent addition of lightly-compressed proxies to the DNG format, means that Lightroom mobile can accurately edit the full range of values in your raw originals, and then sync those adjustments back to your main catalog.

If the editing features are miraculous, the sorting and metadata features are, let’s say, streamlined. The only thing you can sync are Collections. I don’t use Collections as a part of my organization, which means I have to create them just for the purpose of syncing. You choose which Collections sync, up to 60,000 photos.

You can flag and reject shots. That’s it. No star ratings, color labels, no keyword tags. You can move/copy shots from one synced catalog to another though.

I’d suggested syncing the catalog, not the photos. I wanted organizing, not editing. Turns out, I love having the editing control. But it does come at the expense of speed and storage requirements. You can rapidly flip through shots and flag or reject them with a swipe. But as you do, Lightroom will be loading that whole DNG proxy.

Lightroom mobile lets you sit back on your couch and rapidly triage a shoot, flagging and rejecting shots easily. There’s more than enough editing control to make an informed decision of whether a shot is a keeper or not.

If you collaborate, it’s pretty cool to hand off your iPad to a colleague (or spouse) and ask them to pick their favorites. Keep the desktop version up as they do, with a filter for Flagged, and watch your screen fill up with their selects.

I wanted a mobile companion app to help me keep up with the endless task of sorting and organizing my main catalog. We didn’t quite get that. Instead, we got some organization and metadata tools, and impressive, if not as obviously utilitarian, editing capabilities.

I like Lightroom Mobile enough that I bought a new iPad with LTE so I could use it to its fullest. It’s super useful, even if it’s not exactly what I wanted. Which is exactly what a 1.0 should be. With that in mind, here’s what I’d love to see in future updates:

  • Lightweight syncing of my entire catalog. I don’t need DNG Proxies for everything, but a thumbnail would be great.
  • Keyword tags, and the ability to search/sort by them.
  • Reverse geocoding. Show me my photos taken near where I’m standing, or let me tag a photo with my current location.
  • Presets. The ones in Lightroom mobile are Adobe-supplied. I’d like to be able to selectively sync presets from Lightroom Desktop.
  • Collaboration. I’d like to be able to share photos with a collaborator and let them set metadata separately from mine. Let me, the agency, and the client all make our selects, and then allow only me to see how they overlap.

Lightroom mobile is a free download on the App Store, and requires one of several several existing Creative Could plans, including the Photoshop Photography Program at USD $9.99/month. It requires Lightroom 5.4, also released today. An iPhone version is coming soon.

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