Monday, October 27, 2008

Canon XHA1: Green Screen - Footage 2

I already posted a previous EXAMPLE OF GREEN SCREEN FOOTAGE with the Canon XHA1.

I figured this video warranted a further post not only because you get to see the green screen and a pulled key, but because the poster (Jon Lawrence) also takes a few moments to describe his lighting setup.

Chroma Key Demo - HD from Jon Lawrence on Vimeo.

You can also visit Jon Lawrence's blog HERE, where he discusses his photography endeavors among other things.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

HVX: "Stand By Me...As Cops"

Here we have an example of the HVX being put to good use. Regrettably, the clips are YouTube-hosted and subject to less-than-ideal quality. Nonetheless, a Toronto-based "comedian turned filmmaker" has taken the dialogue from "Stand By Me" and transplanted it into a "Hill Street Blues" setting with pretty good results.

Friday, October 24, 2008

DIY: Microphone Pop Filter

A pop filter for your microphone is not an onerous expense. You have to really go out of your way to spend in excess of $50-100, and you can even get away with spending $20. That being said, here are a few DIY videos with respect to making your own pop filter for $10 or less.

In a filmmaking context, a pop filter will be of use particularly when it comes to ADR. You will know what the absence of a pop filter sounds like by recalling audio cases where a hard "P" or "T" hits the microphone with excessive air pressure, creating a noxious sound. Also, painfully hissing and airy "S" sounds can be corrected with a filter.

The principles are pretty straightforward. Enjoy the videos.

Also, here is a step-by-step ARTICLE from on constructing your own pop filter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

HVX: "Play the Wall" by Jaylyn Ducati

Just another note on some of the things being done with the HVX these days. The combination of the Panasonic HVX-200 (not the updated HVX-200a) and a Brevis35 depth of field adapter have been used to film the music video for "Play the Wall" by Jaylyn Ducati. The work is being done over at PUFFIN FILMS.

You can view a .MOV file of the test-edit by clicking HERE.

Also, you can check out a DVXUSER THREAD on the topic, where there are more screen captures.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

HVX: "Corrado" Production Blog

I have, on more than one occasion, mentioned things of interest happening at DVXUSER, a forum I consider to be one of the better discussion communities for filmmaking. In this case, though it has been around for a while, I am not sure that everyone is familiar with the production blog for an independent feature called Corrado, written and directed by Adamo Cultraro.

The discussion encompasses his equipment list (which is based around a Panasonic HVX and Letus Extreme adapter), as well as the process he went through marketing the script, and ultimately signing name talent including Tom Sizemore (Heat, Saving Private Ryan).

So anyway, I wanted to make you guys aware of this FORUM THREAD so that you can glance through it and hopefully glean some useful information from the process discussed.

As the thread continues, it does degenerate a bit into some off-topic discussions and bickering. But it's not too difficult to stay on course and separate the wheat from the chaff as you read.

You can view the film's IMDB profile HERE.

Canon HV20: Green Screen Footage

We have seen some green screen work with various cameras from the Sony EX1 all the way down to the Canon HV30, so why not take a baby-step down further in price range and see what is being done with the Canon HV20.

In the following clips you'll see green screen key work of various quality, which should represent a decent sampling of the key work being achieved in the trenches with the HV20.

Second Green Screen Attempt from Mike Parkinson on Vimeo.

Green Screen Test w/ Cheap Shop Lights from purvistv on Vimeo.

HV20 Greenscreen Tests from Edgar Swooth on Vimeo.

Green screen test from Wes Vasher on Vimeo.

1st Green Screen Test from Kevhead101 on Vimeo.

Green Screen : Dance Evolution from Derek on Vimeo.

And the following two clips show a raw-footage and post-key combination with the HV20.

green screen(before) from dandacameraman on Vimeo.

greenscreen test(after) from dandacameraman on Vimeo.

Note, as always, that the technique of the people involved and their color correction will be large factors in the ultimate success of a given key, to the point where you can't attribute everything you see (positive or negative) to the camera itself.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Canon HV30: Green Screen Footage

In the interests of a comprehensive look at what people are achieving with the Canon HV30, I have rounded up a bit of green screen work that has been produced with this camera.

Note that in the following clip, some color correction to match the lighting of the skin with the background could have produced a reasonable final key product for a camera in this price range.

First Canon HV30 Green Screen Test from Brett on Vimeo.

And here, we see the raw footage in the first clip, followed by the keyed-out work in the second.

ADP: Raw footage from Richie Muniak on Vimeo.

ADP: Multi-Man Marathon from Richie Muniak on Vimeo.

Kind of reminds me of the opening of Superbad for some reason...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Philip Bloom Short Film Competition #2

The 2nd Philip Bloom film competition has just been announced, with an open call for anyone and everyone to participate. In the vein of Mr. Bloom's own work, the contest involves taking a track of pleasing music and interpreting it through images as you see fit, possibly with a cinematic collage, possibly in some other way if it suits your fancy.

The deadline for entries is November 15.

Further information can be found on this THREAD at Philip Bloom's forum.

I'm not sure what prize there is, if any. In Mr. Bloom's words, he is "hoping to get a couple of good prizes this time." That said, it sounds like great practice and an interesting challenge. With the amount of time most of you probably spend in the editing room anyway...

The familiar but royalty-free music can be downloaded HERE. Give it a listen and see if anything comes to mind...


We have been informed that the prizes include a $500 voucher from Letus Direct and a copy of Magic Bullet Looks, a piece of software that can do wonders for your color correction, even if you're a beginner. Anyway, if you were on the fence about participating, that should present a bit of motivation.

Canon HV20: "White Red Panic"

Well, this piece of work by Ayz Waraich has received a great deal of fanfare, both in the online casual viewing community, where it has been well-received by the public, and also by critics and experts, as it has been covered in professional write-ups such as this PROLOST ENTRY by the venerable Stu Maschwitz.

The Prolost blog post also includes a few before-and-after screen captures of the color correction process used in the film, which was undoubtedly a huge contributor to the short film's moody success. The color correction techniques are further discussed in this FORUM THREAD at the Rebel's Guide community.

This short film generally speaks for itself.

White Red Panic - SHORT FILM (HD) from Ayz Waraich on Vimeo.

With this piece of work, Mr. Waraich and company may have possibly (in their own small way) done as much for the reputation and marketing of the HV20 as any international advertising campaign that Canon could have launched. They generally took the "Robert Rodriguez Approach," working with simple equipment (a bare bones HV20) and focusing on shot setup and cinematic style.

Below is the trailer for the short film.

White Red Panic - TEASER HD from Ayz Waraich on Vimeo.

The point is...the limitations in filmmaking are usually the people and not the equipment. In the right hands, you can take a Canon HV20 and do something pretty impressive. That said, if you have a buddy willing to sell you his RED ONE for the same price...

Also available online is a PODCAST INTERVIEW with director Ayz Waraich.

Useful Image: Red Resolution Chart

Before you try to slap me in the face and yell, "Hey, you're feeding the corporate machine!" just relax. I previously posted another useful image, a RESOLUTION CHART comparing various digital recording formats.

This is a secondary follow up, as Red-centric as the post may be. Nonetheless, if you were unaware of the resolution of the various Red chips and how the models related to each other (whether they be the Red One, Epic, or the currently purgatory-resident Red Scarlet), this may be a bit of useful trivia.

Useful that an oxymoron?

JVC Everio HD: Footage from the Trenches

Well, it's almost impossible to get away from the commercials on TV. It's here. The JVC Everio. Affordable HD filming with easy one-button upload to YouTube, etc...

In this case, we are looking at the Everio GZ-HD low end series (meaning the HD3 through HD7). This should be noted because there are several models of Everio and even several models of Everio GZ-HD.

The HD3 through HD7 all utilize three 1/5" CCD chips. Obviously, at 1/5", this is not the camera for you if you happen to be a shallow-depth-of-field fanatic. When you get up to the HD30 and HD40 models, you have 1/3" CCD chips (like the Canon XHA1 or XLH1, or the Panasonic HVX).

The low end GZ-HD series is fairly cheap at $1000-ish (with some upward and downward range depending on the model and rebates). They feature a 10x optical zoom and some manual controls, as well as a limited tapeless recording option. So make no mistake, this item is not too bad for its price point.

However, it is more or less the "point and click" of HD cameras, and while it does provide a bit of ability to manually change the settings, this unit is really not marketed toward consumers with the knowledge or experience to take full advantage of a wide range of manual tweaking options.

That said, the footage you are likely to see out there from the JVC Everio is likely to have a hard time living up to the XHA1 / HVX / EX1 footage out there - not only because of any inferiorities of the camera, but because it is likely to be placed in the hands of consumers who are less likely to have a cinematography or technical background. It's not their fault. They're just buying some affordable HD quality and running around having fun.

Anyway, here is a small handful of clips from JVC Everio users. And in one or two instances, you have to give the users credit for trying to take full advantage of the camera's (limited) manual controls.


JVC Everio GZ-HD7 (Mini Test) from Joseba1 on Vimeo.


Short Trip to the Audubon Zoo with the Everio JVC GS-HD3U Camcorder from Robert Dabdoub on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Jack Cabbage Shopping Guide

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I have added (in the top left) the JACK CABBAGE SHOPPING GUIDE.

This is essentially a collection of items that can be purchased online, organized by type and function. Whether you are planning on purchasing any particular items or just doing some window shopping, hopefully this will help you get a quick handle on the going rates for certain common, necessary and optional items in your filmmaking / videography pursuits.

All of the items in the shopping guide I either own, have owned in the past (and did not hate them), or have given serious consideration to purchasing. In otherwords, some items on there I would personally vouch for. Others, I am not able to say anything bad about from personal experience. But none of them do I consider to be poor items or not worthy of consideration.

I know that when I was starting out, just finding out (a) what items might be necessary or useful and (b) what were reasonable prices for those items, could be a fairly exhausting, overwhelming and (at times) discouraging exercise. The items in the Jack Cabbage Shopping Guide are by no means exhaustive and many seasoned pros would have alternate preferences. But if it gets you started on the right path, then I'm a happy man.

Canon XHA1: "The Remarkable Gift"

Well, I'm not going to make a post every time Steven Dempsey puts something up on vimeo. However, "The Remarkable Gift" is a fairly recent offering and while "Disjecta" has clearly shown that he knows how to nicely frame a shot, capture maximum detail with the Canon XHA1 and masterfully color correct the footage...

This particular short represents a nice collage in terms of creative editing and filmmaking techniques, as well as the achievement of a truly meaningful narrative. It seems in some ways to be a creative culmination of the visually pleasing photographic pieces to date.

The Remarkable Gift from Steven Dempsey on Vimeo.

This piece was shot with a combination of the XHA1 and Letus Extreme depth of field adapter, and also some shots were done with the Canon XLH1, the sister camera to the XHA1 which allows interchangeable lenses but utilizes an identical 1/3" CCD chip to that of the XHA1.

Website Layout Augmentations

Hey everyone, thanks for continuing to stop by and for the support. As you can tell, we're undergoing some augmentations in the layout of the website. Hopefully they'll be to your liking and facilitate your navigation as you continue your quest for knowledge in cameras, stabilizers, depth of field adapters, and all things digital media.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Canon XHA1: VIVIDRGB Preset

It has been around for a little while, but it is one of the more popular and effective custom presets for the XHA1 and deserves a bit of special attention.

The VIVIDRGB preset was developed by XHA1 guru Steven "Disjecta" Dempsey (of Pine Lake Films).

The preset itself can be downloaded HERE.

VIVIDRGB actually underwent a couple of incarnations during its development and refinement. The above link is to the final version.

Here are a few clips of VIVIDRGB in action.

Trying out the VividRGB preset (XH A1) from Jesper Dudal on Vimeo.

Canon XHA1 Test1 VividRGB preset from videonivaria on Vimeo.

And here is an interesting "behind the scenes" from a music video shoot using the VIVIDRGB preset on the XHA1.

Judas Feet :: "Mockingbirds" from Taylor Rudd on Vimeo.

Be sure to thank Steven Dempsey for his fine work and generosity in sharing as your captured images become infinitely more compelling versus the XHA1's out-of-the-box settings.