Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Image Mechanics NEW for 2010

As this year comes to a close, we at Image Mechanics are gearing up for the new year. We've updated our business, added new digital gear for both still and motion capture, a new location vehicle, new services including studio rental, added new key personnel to begin 2010.

Beginning immediately we now offer the Hasselblad H3DII-50, with 50 mega pixels and one of the largests sensor in the business, twice the size of the DSLR sensors. The coolest thing about the Hassy digital is that is has a Hassy on the front end, the new H3 series body. Together with an impeccable array of lenses, this camera will allow you to have fun, and make beautiful pictures, Merry Xmas (and Happy Holidays). Along with Canon, Leaf and Phase One we offer a complete line of digital gear to fulfill your shooting needs.

Add to that our new RED One Digital Cinema camera, it's the camera everyone is talking about, it is the future. At 24FPS (it actually shoots from 1FPS to 120FPS), you can shoot beautiful cinematic footage and pull gorgeous still frames that can be printed beautifully well over 20X30. That means stills can be pulled for magazine print covers advertising, and more. If you did not know this, RED has been used to film a few of the latests feature movies, Knowing, The Informant, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Avatar, Labor Pains, Gamer, and too many to list. Fact is the RED is becoming a camera for both cinematic and still work, in part due to it's RAW file workflow. Call Von 213.258.5274 (RED / 5D MKII guru) at IM, he will get your motion project up and going.

IM has also introduced a host of new services including studio and strobe equipment rental. As a SPECIAL, we are offering our slightly smaller than 1000 sq ft studio with a lite strobe package for $400 per 10 hour day.

With the giant shift in how advertising images are being delivered now and in the future, we have reorganized our business to fit that model. Our feet are firmly planted in digital capture just as before, but we plant them in a forward direction toward motion, from production through to workflow. We have acquired talent to help you our clients achieve their objective, and stay with or ahead of the technological curve.

Please feel free to comment and contribute, we welcome your input.

Image Mechanics / VT

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big Foot Carts

For those of you that are capture techs for still or motion, you will at some point need a place for your computer (laptop or tower), monitors, hard drives, battery backup, power strip, and so on. On location you can use a table (thats lame), but if you are professional and table will not cut it, and you'll need a cart to both be organized and mobile. I've tried many carts over the years, and it is a personal decision, as a cart for my needs may not be a cart to fit your needs. There are the carts by Magliner, Remin's HD 500 and the more custom carts by Backstage, Filmtools and Bigfoot Mobile Carts.

I recently tested a custom built Bigfoot cart, and I'm addicted to it, this cart is the Cadillac of carts. It is a beautiful piece of equipment, and is very functional. Doug Solis at BigFoot can custom make a cart to your personal specifications. The unit I tested was built to house a Mac Pro on it's lower slide out tray, and can handle rack 2U drives and RAIDs as well as a rack mount UPS. It's outfitted with a side arm that holds perfectly a 15" or 17" MacBook Pro in the right position, and solid top platform for monitor and a flip up side door (on the other side) that holds most everything else. If it gets a bit hot inside with all your gear humming away, just pop off the sides for complete cool ventilation.

One of the BIG deals about this cart are the BIG WHEELS. They glide over rough surfaces without jarring your precious computers and hard drives. Bigfoot also sits tall, so you will need a tall directors chair to comfortably work your keyboard. So whether you're on a still photo shoot or a feature film, you will be looking good and organized with this awesome custom cart.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Future of Print Advertising..."The Sky is Falling"

This week while I listened to NPR radio, I heard the news that Conde Nast was closing Gourmet, Cooki, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride magazines. Other magazines closed this year were Nickelodeon, Travel and Leisure Golf, Blender, Teen, PC Magazine, Men's Vogue, Home, Cosmo Girl, Playgirl and at least 7 others. This is a trend that is only getting worse. Along with the magazines, many newspapers are on the chopping block. So what does this mean, as photographers we need to start making changes in how we do business, and now.

Not many are looking at this seriously, but this I feel is a end game scenario in the making. I've already prepared myself for the future, rebranding myself in a new technology, digital motion. This is no different than the change that began over 12 years ago when digital began to over take film for the still photographers, and we know how that turned out.

The future has so many technological advances and I am totally excited what with the smart paper, digital out of home advertising (DOOH), and motion advertising. Stop, hear the silence, now start to begin your journey toward motion advertising.

Here are some solutions for the future. The following courtesy of Alexx Henry,

I demo'ed the RED in vertical orientation at the Image Mechanics, Collision Conference in August. Here is a practical application, and a glimpse into the future of how you as a still photographer will work with this new technology. The sky has just opened up.

A lot of traditional digital still capture firms are investing in RED and Canon 5D Mark 2 because they see it coming. Just this past week, I was contacted by a very well know car shooter to bring RED in on his first commercial shoot. Not only will this technology open the door for new types of still work, it will move you up the ladder into the directors chair for commercials, even features.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

RED Epic is almost here, and fall is heating up

It's seems I've been asleep at the wheel, and while I dozed, the RED Epic (5K digital cinema camera) was unleashed at IBC in Amsterdam last month. Below are some tasty photos of the Epic, and along with that some even tastier images of Kate Beckinsale made with the Epic 5K sensor in a RED One body for Esquire Magazine, by Greg Williams. If you remember Greg Williams was the first shooter to have RED still images (of beautiful Megan Fox) published in a print magazine, and Esquire no less (June 2009 issue). These current images of Ms. Beckinsale, will be in the November issue of Esquire, fall is heating up. Here is the link to "The Sexiest Woman Alive Video"

So nice, I had to do it twice.

Oh, that leaves me with the Epic itself, here are some photos taken at IBC, last month.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New 5D Mark 2 accessories from Element Technica

I've been a bit busy lately, which is a good thing, but I managed to get a sneak peek of the new gear from Element Technica for the Canon 5D Mark 2. The items picture below are the new bridge plate and dovetail. I was at the DV Expo yesterday and I must say the other companies have nothing this solid.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Eizo 232W, GREAT MONITOR!!!!

If you've worked with me over the years you know I only use Eizo's CG 211. The Eizo's have been very reliable for color accuracy for print campaigns and catalog work. Just recently did I have the chance to work with their new broadcast model, the 232W.
In working with the Eizo CG 232W monitor for the Image Mechanic Collision Conference. My demo featured shooting the RED, in vertical orientation. That said, you want to view your project the same way. The 232 unfortunately does not rotate to full portrait position, so I had to remove the stand and replace with a LCD VESA monitor bracket in order to achieve a vertical view.

The first thing I do is to calibrate and profile the monitor. Because the 232W uses hardware calibration, colors are adjusted within the monitor itself, and there is no loss of displayable colors (as opposed to software only calibration which only manipulates the computers video cards color output). The 232W comes with ColorNavigator software, and along with a device like Eye One Photo, you can accurately calibrate one or more monitors. The RED with an Element Technica Breakout box, has SDI outputs. The 232W, along with DVI, also has SDI inputs. Once I dialed in my color temp for the RED, I was able to see the results on the Eizo. This is the kind of thing not normally viewed (with other monitor brands). Looking at the model, we viewed the same color correct image on the Eizo. It was amazing to said the least. If you had this on set, and in the edit bay, your projects would be color beautiful from front to back.

Eizo's are not inexpensive, but I feel they are worth the money, and it is both easy to work with and accurate, what more can you ask for.


Monday, August 31, 2009

RED In The Vertical Position

This past weekend I took part in a conference at LA Film School. The event was called Collision Conference, where still and motion converge. The event hosted by Images Mechanics featured a host of renowned speakers and lecturers from the still and motion world. Ted from RED, Shane Hurlbut, Vincent Laforet, Rodney Charters, Liam Finn, Alexx Henry, Frank Rohmer, Michael Britt and Illya Friedman.

The conference featured two cameras, the RED One and the Canon 5D Mark2. There were vendors from Red Rock Micro, Zeiss, Canon, Bogen, Ikan, Samy's Camera and more.

Demo's were held twice daily featuring the Canon 5D and the RED shot in vertical orientation (sideways). The reason behind this way of shooting is so a photographer can shoot for vertical ads and signage. Many of the new ads for automotive, cosmetics, movies, and just about everything else are using this format, and now with motion. I gave the RED in vertical demo, using the RED modified to sit vertically. Fairly straight forward, but I went off the path when I showed how I finished the edit in Photoshop.

Here a shoot that took 5 minute shot and finish magazine ad.

View large version HERE,


Friday, August 28, 2009

WOW!! Entertainment Weekly to have 1st video in a magazine

Photographers and filmmakers will have new territory to shoot for, the new video ads appearing in magazines and books. This new technology is about to explode, and it all starts appearing on September 18, 2009 in Entertainment Weekly. So get out your REDs and your Canon 5D Marks 2's, Final Cut, Photoshop, and lets get busy. Oh you don't do motion? Better learn FAST!!!

Read on below:

From Digital Journal.Com:

Entertainment Weekly magazine is going high tech with a video-chip ad in the September 18 issue. The video will feature CBS's new fall TV season and Pepsi Max.

The revolutionary issue will only be sent to a few thousand who subscribe in New York City and Los Angeles. If you live elsewhere or want to buy a special copy at the newsstand you're out of luck.
The magazine is using Americhip for their technology. Each battery powered microchip can carry up to 40 minutes of video.
The video screen can be recharged with a tiny USB cord after the battery runs out. The average battery life is 65 to 70 minute

More info from the Wall Street Journal.

Editing content from Canon 5D Mark 2 and RED in Photoshop

What a day, what a day!!! I'm so lucky that I know brilliant people. While at Image Mechanics today, I learned that I could actually edit footage in Photoshop, can you believe it? Now I'm in love. PS has the tools I'm used to, and it can handle the content I throw at it. I will wait until the Collision Conference to reveal the info, but my friends, it's simply amazing.

I worked on two clips from RED, started in RED Alert, and ended in PS. I give much props to Michael Britt of Image Mechanics for his tireless efforts at the computer, tweaking and twisting until finally an image was born. He passed the knowledge onto me, and it's up for grabs at the Collision Conference. Below is but a sample (a position only piece), so let your imagination go wild. The REAL final will be shown at the conference.

I was taken aback at the images produced by the RED, it was as if I had discovered a brand new camera. So sharp, so kick ass, I'm in love again.

If you happen to notice that gray card on the cart, it's not there for show, it's my way of delivering clean neutral color to my clients. It's the only fast way to do 1st color for digital capture.

OK, so if that's not enough, I have the new Eizo 232W, in vertical orientation, calibrated, and profiled, tis awesome. I'll be showing you how to do this at the conference.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Demo at the Collision Conference

The Collision Conference hosted by Image Mechanics is this Saturday and Sunday at LA Film School. Ted Schilowitz will be one of the key speakers along with other notables in the filmmaking and still world. I will be demonstrating the RED in vertical orientation for those seeking to shoot vertical for some of the new vertical motion ads.

Plus I'll have Eizo's new CG 232W monitor on display, I will also demo how easy and accurate this monitor is to software calibrate and profile on set. The 232W is a perfect viewing devise for the RED, and my guess is that it will be the de facto color reference monitor in the very near future (no more calibrating by eye).


The RED Tech In Action

Today I worked with the Cortez Brothers Production Company on a commercial for Nestles directed and shot by Anton Klima.

The set up you see is are two MacBook Pro's and a Mac Pro, three Dell monitors and a AJA converter which can take a signal from the RED via SDI, convert it, send it to a MAC running Final Cut (log and capture), and in turn the Mac can display both real time "Live" video, but also record and playback each take on the fly. The second MacBook Pro was dedicated to ingestion of the RED footage via R3D Data manager and first pass color correction, and the Mac Pro was on set editing station.

The playback process takes HDMI to DVI cable plus HDMI to HDMI and SDI cables to complete the set up, but in the end, you have a complete video village able to record and playback on one monitor, display "live" capture on another monitor and even print files from still frame grab through Final Cut via Canon printer.

Jason Durdon a editor and computer whiz at Cortez Brothers was the idea man, and I helped. There are a few tech problems to keep on top of, but it is stable and will aid in your commercial, feature or TV shoots.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

RED a Different Orientation

I've been asked by many still photographers what is the option of shooting RED vertically. Up to now there have been few solutions and fewer tests. Today while at Images Mechanic in Santa Monica California, Michael Britt and his team tested one possible solution. While there are a few companies making products to shoot vertically with the RED, there is little product availablility when you may need it. Which leaves you with doing it yourself.

After a hardware store run, a little surgery, a bit of trial and error, some RED spare parts, the Image Mechanics team, built a beautiful vertical shooting solution with minimum gear.

Next came the fun of reconfiguring the RED EVF, LCD, and RED cradle to make it possible to monitor the image vertically and easily manipulate the RED's camera menus and buttons.

A model was being prepped in makeup while the RED was set up, and once the MU was complete we began our test. I have to say the only thing that was truly needed was a start/stop control for the RED. Due to the new config the camera's record buttons are in tight not so easy to get to places. Other than that it was as easy as shooting in the horizontal position.

As you can see in the photos above, we shoot this green screen, and I'll keep you informed with regards to shooting and keying out for green screen in post.

Thanks to the team at Image Mechanics, Michael, Greg, Pip and Jimmy for a great job and a important test for those wanting to shoot vertical.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Collision Conference - Image Mechanics Expo

As I mentioned in my last post 30 minutes ago, RED demos are only just beginning.

A first ever conference of learning for the still photographer aimed at motion, and in particular with the RED and Canon 5D MK 2 cameras is at hand. I believe this is something you can not ignore, this is the future, this is the way our business with be conducted in the future.

The two day conference will showcase the RED and Canon 5D MK2 along with a host of camera and shooting accessories. This is a mini expo just for us still photographers, and I'm totally excited. They have key speakers from Ted Schilowitz of RED, directors Shane Hurlbut, Vincent Laforet, Rodney Charters (he's a one man run and gun with RED), photographer Alexx Henry, Frank Rohmer FCP editing instructor of Lynda.Com, and many others.

This will be a full on "HOW-TO" with demos by respected professionals.

The event will be held at the Los Angeles Film School, located at 6363 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA on Saturday and Sunday August 29th and 30th 2009. Conference passes are available immediately from for $200 per day or $350 for a two-day pass.

For more information on the , click here, Collision Conference

Pier 59 Hosted a RED Demo

On Thursday of this past week, Pier 59 Studio (Santa Monica) hosted a RED demo. The demo was co-hosted with B2 Pro.

One of their main studios was filled with photographers, studio mangers, reps and photo assistants eager to learn more about this new capture device. The demo with two RED camera packages displayed two ways in which to shoot RED, vertical and horizontal orientations. A brief overview of RED set up and workflow was featured, followed by Q and A from the crowd.

It was good to see that photographers are slowly moving toward motion. This is one of the first demos of it's kind, but surely not the last. Look for more and more still capture firms and studios offering RED in the coming months.


Michael Cioni of LightIron Digital on shooting resolutions for RED

I had the pleasure of working and learning from Michael Cioni of LightIron Digital. He is a valuable resource to the RED community as he has overseen post on hundreds of RED projects.

If you every wondered which resolution is best for your project, here is a breakdown in layman's terms courtesy of Michael.

So here's the skinny-

4K2:1 is no longer an ideal shooting format. My recommendation is not to use it because there is no 2:1 delivery format. 1-2 years ago, 2:1 made more sense because QuadHD wasn't available and 2:1 and was necessary for some early system integration (like real-time Scratch playback). Though I like 2:1 as an aesthtic aspect ratio, it makes for difficult conversions to 1:78 and 1:85.

In my opinion, 4K 16:9 should pretty much only be used for theatrical releases (actual 2K and up). If a RED project goes to HD, you probably want to stick with 4KHD, or QUAD HD. QuadHD is a great format because it is exactly 4x bigger (200%) than 1080p HD. 4K16:9 is actually a bit bigger than QuadHD. When you scale down 4K16:9 to HD, you do not have whole numbers (because you can't divide 4096 by 1920) without remainders. However, if you take Quad HD (3840 by 1920) you get "2" - a whole number with no remainders.

That means you get all sorts of advantages with QuadHD:

• Slightly smaller file sizes
• Faster renders to 1080 (upto 33% faster than 4K16:9)
• Better use of the Proxy Movies in 1080p
• Sharper images at 1080


YES, it is true. When you down sample 4K 16:9 to 1080 or 2k, you get those remainders - those are actually square pixels of one aspect ratio being crammed into another aspect ratio. That means you do not have what is called a "pixel-for-pixel" downsample. When you use QuadHD, you literally eliminate half of the vertical and horizontal pixels, but there is no sub-sapling applied since the numbers are even remainders. This is a great way to do conversions - which is made easy by the fact Red shoots Wavelets (which love to be divisible by 2). That's why you get all those quick and easy 4K, 2K, 1K and 1/2K QT movies so easily - it's literally just doing the division on the fly by 2. The only problem is, when in 4K16:9, the division is not so good with 1920x1080. Where as in Quad HD, you are perfect. The result is a SHARPER image in 1080p from QuadHD vs. 4K16:9. Though it is not a whole lot sharper, it can make a difference for visual effects compositing, rotoscoping and keying. It also makes a difference in very busy wide shots or perhaps shots that suffer from tricky focus situations.

Overall, if you are not doing a 2K or 4K master, there is little to no benefit to shooting 4K 16:9. Period. The only thing I would look out for is that QuadHD is going to push into your lenses a TINY bit- making a 50mm act more like a 55mm. That may be a deal killer for some DPs, but the overall image quality, speed and mobility of the images may be a better trade-off.

A good week for learning

It's been a minute since my last post, but a lot has been happening behind the scenes.

As I mentioned on a previous post, I had used the Canon 5D MK 2 for a clients welcome video for the web. While this was easy to set up and use, it was not so easy to color correct. I'm a big fan of the perfect skin tones in both still and motion work, and when things are off, it really take away from the image or movie. To date I've seen a lot of footage that did not look real to me, while clean color can be achieved, it can be a long process in some cases.

Since the 5D does not shoot RAW motion, you don't have the advantage of using a RAW processing software to make changes and clean up your image without destruction, with RED, it is such an easy process. Using RED Alert is similar to using C1 Pro for still work. You first make sure you have a gray card in your image (and make sure it's in the key light source and not shaded), then bringing that info into RA, you place your square pointer on the gray and click on the WB (white balance tab). Your image will instantly shift to neutral, and all of your RGB values will be very close in value. From that point on, do not touch or move your color temp or tint sliders, those are set!

Now you can get creative because your image is neutral.

I've also been learning FCP (Final Cut Pro). For those new to it, there is a large learning curve, but there are many places with free tutorials. YouTube, Creative Cow, and Lynda.Com all have video tutorials on how to edit your project start to finish.

My one wish it that FCP had tools for color correction like those found in Photoshop. I had a background I wanted to clean up as pure white without globally effecting the entire image. While this is possible it has to be done one frame at a time, and let's see, at 30fps for a 2 min pieces that's three thousand six hundred frames. Well, that's not my idea of fun. Hopefully future releases of FCP will give us tools to help gray (white) balance an image easier.

In the mean time, if you are shooting a project with the 5D, light as well and as clean as you can. Shoot a gray card, under each light temp change, and keep it simple.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Canon 5D MKII in use

Over the past few days, I've had the opportunity to work with the Canon 5D Mark 2. I chose to use it, because the form factor of the camera was small, and the project was light. I used it in two different situations, first a welcome video for a new clients web site, and the other run and gun interviews in various locations.

The welcome video was in a controlled environment, and the 5D along with a Beachtek DXA-5D and shot gun mic was the gear used. It's very easy to use the video option on the 5D, pretty straight forward, and the results are very good. I edited the footage with FCP, and all went well. This was shot using tungsten lighting.

The run and gun interviews were a bit more problematic. I did not have one subject I had two or three, and the focus became an issue. While for most of the interviews, I used the AF-ON button to focus, but for other shots, I found I had to manually focus, and without a larger monitor, it's very difficult. Also in a controlled environment I did not have a problem with the length of a take, if I did, I could just do another take, but with interviews, if it ran over 12 minutes, the camera would stop recording without notice, leaving me with gaps in the interview.

For lighting I used the Lite Panels Micro Pro. This is a very cool device, but again, it has limitations. It runs on 6 AA batteries, and there is no battery level indicator to let you know you are running low, it just slowly dims, and the color temp changes. There is a option for AC adapter, but the rental house did not have one. The light throw is not far and the angle of light spread is not that wide, so you need to be close to your subject, and they need to be close together, but it is light in weight, and convenient.

There is no histogram on the 5D in video mode, as on a RED, and you pretty much judge your exposure by the on camera LCD. Not shooting RAW is a bummer, but the images look pretty good. I'll post more as I finish my editing.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

RED L.A. User Group

RED L.A. Users Group hosts a monthly gathering of RED devotees and practitioners. The event held at Kappa Studios in Burbank is a great place to learn, network, and chow down.

This month the venue was packed as always with members from all departments in the television, film and the still industry. As you make my way past the buffet, you will more than likely see a familiar face, chat for a minute before moving on. The great thing about the RED society it that it is evolving, and pulling in new artists and technicians into a digital workflow.

Each month new products, software, and workflows are introduced and discussed by professionals in this field. As a RED Tech I was particularly interested in IRIDAS SpeedGrade OnSet, presented by Clark Graff. Besides having a wonderful discussion regarding on set data and color management, Clark shared his experience with this new system which is both Mac and Windows platform. The discussion went into the use of hardware/software calibrated monitors such as those by Eizo which is the starting point for a controlled system. I think the days of calibrating by eye are on their way out. In the digital still industry, monitors are hardware calibrated daily to allow you to view what is REAL, verses what is not. The use of an 18% gray card as a reference (in KEY light) is the next step to keeping control of your color workflow on set. The ability to neutralize your picture (no color cast), is quick and simple, and can help your colorist nail the look fast and with more accuracy. With tools like IRIDAS SpeedGrade OnSet, DP's and photographers can see from the beginning what their project with look like on screen. Technology is changing everything.

Clark also had shared the room with Ricardo Reyes of Tekram. Together they showed and discuss storage solutions for on set data management. Products such as CineRAID and Areca systems.

KinoFlo was present with Tom Jacobs demonstrating the BarFly Diva and Vista lighting systems.

PF-Plate is a new alternative accessory for RED One. It's an option for the mini to standard BNC and XLR cables, plus a handy HDMI outlet. With this accessory you can mount a small mic right on camera for scratch sound without the clumsy and bulky wires and cables.

Andrew Wilding screened his first short shot with RED, Piano Man in the Member's Showcase area. After which Andrew fielded questions regarding the prep, shooting and post production of his film.

Besides the buffet, my favorite area at this event is always the RED Owner's Circle. This is to me a place to discuss everything from new gear and accessories, techniques in workflow, trouble shooting tips. Owners, renters, and first time users are always welcome, and the discussions here help each of us on set. This month Scott Snare, the group moderator, treated the crowd to his new set of RED Pro Primes, and the new RED 18-85mm. I just had one question, where is my 18-85mm? Backorder is a bitch.

Please feel free to share or comment.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Element Technica

I was over speaking with Hector Ortega founder of Element Technica, and he informed me that ET has new accessories for the Canon 5D MKII planned in the very near future. If you don't know of ET, please check out their site. They are the after market accessory hero for the RED camera. If you plan to purchase a camera (RED of otherwise), check their site as you will want to outfit your rig with some of their gear.


Canon 5D MKII

Last night I attended an event at Birns and Sawyer, featuring the Canon 5D Mark II. The attendance was substantial given the 5D's new popularity with both filmmakers and still photographers.

The evening featured Tim Smith Mgr. Pro Product Support of Canon USA.

Vincent Laforet, a professional photographer that has transitioned from still to motion. His film Reverie, was the first 1080p short photographed with the Canon 5DMKII.

Dir Jason Ensler (Chuck, Kath and Kim) and Byron Shah (E.R., Kath and Kim) treated the crowd to a short they produced exclusively for the event. Their team used three cameras, the RED One, Canon 5D MKII, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH 1 to shoot their test short.

Q and A followed the screening, and as always the attendees ate, drank and networked. As always Birns and Sawyer serves up tasty treats to it those in attendance.

As a RED owner, I was impressed with both the Panasonic and Canon cameras, I see why they are being used a "B" roll cameras to support RED on many film and broadcast productions.

If you are interested in attending events at Birns, get on their email list,, and come discover, learn, and as they say, "meet greet and eat the best catering this side of La Brea".


Monday, July 27, 2009

Cool Picture

A moment of clarity

Today was the final day of a 7 day immersive training on the RED One Digital Camera.
The class was attended by directors, RED rental house owners, DP's, and editors from London, Canada, Hong Kong, Dubai, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Italy, India, and the US, including 3 from New York.

The general take on RED (public view), is you can pick it up like a video camera, and shoot away, that's not true. This is not your momma's video camera. REDucation is the cure for misinformation, and misguided use of shooting on RED. REDucation went through all phases of RED, shooting, testing it's limits and capabilities, and the editing process.

Ted Schilowitz of RED was co-instructor along with Michael Cioni of LightIron Digital. Michael has edited over 200 RED projects, and knows more than anyone to date on how best to shoot RED.

Even though I've been involved with digital these past 11 years, I had to adopt a new set of skills to work with RED. If you don't shoot RED properly, or ingest the footage into the workflow in the right manner, you will not realize good results. I say this because a lot of still rental houses and still capture boutiques are now positioned to offer RED, without knowing how to work with it. Most of these studios and digital rental services have popped up in the past two months, because RED has become popular. The infrastructure in most cases is not there, and you end up with firms with little to no knowledge or real time experience, peddling RED to their client base. This scenario will backfire, causing clients to botch jobs, or at the very least spend excess money to try and correct mistakes made on set.

With most all usual suspects now providing RED service, not one attended REDucation. It takes time to fully know this camera, lots of testing and handling the data.

I've attended every RED event and function since moving to Los Angeles (including RED Boot Camps), to date, no one from the still photo industry has ever attended. How can you master something, if you don't study, and seek knowledge.

To the credit of those that attended REDucation, my hat is off to you. Some traveled over 10,000 miles to enhance their skill set, to better understand a new tool, and how best to work with it.

My 2 cents.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated.


p.s. the photo above is a still frame from the RED!!!

Motion One Sheet Ad Posters

More and more advertising is moving away from motionless images to motion images. Here is an example of a Motion One Sheet ad for television and movie advertisement.

This example was shot with RED Digital Cinema camera.

This campaign was shot by Alexx Henry, for Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

REDucation Day 6, The Last Day

A great deal learned today in regards to grading. The REDucation class was treated to a 2 plus hour demo, of how a colorist do their jobs. Eliot Miilbourn of Digital Vision showed his workflow to color a movie with Film Master. If you have a talent with Photoshop, you may have talent as a colorist.


RED to come Scarlet

Saturday, July 25, 2009

REDucation Day 5, The Post Man Rings

After yesterdays announcement of Final Cut 7, plus the testing of REDs new RED Rocket, we still had one the best days of learning. Michael Cioni (The Post Man) of LIGHTIRON Digital is a whiz at dissecting the post workflow, and delivering it in such a way, you get it. We covered in detail, Clipfinder, Final Cut Pro, Color, RED Alert, and Avid. We follow the content all the way through the post chain, and my head is spinning. It will still take a minute to digest all the data, and of course, I'll have to use these application on a constant basis, to keep what I've learned.

The cool thing is we shoot, then process the content and view it in 2K (Sony 4K projector) on a large screen. This is the best way to learn the process, instant gratification.

I bet you did not know that Ted Schilowitz (Leader of the Rebellion) is also a good instructor, he's not, he's a great instructor, and very passionate about RED. TED along with Michael, and guest appearances from industry leaders, have made REDucation #001 a success. Now being the first one, it has it's bugs, a few bumps in the road, but even those were handled smoothly.


RED on a Still Shoot

Friday, July 24, 2009

REDucation Day 4, The Start of Post

As the songs goes, Fly me to the Moon, let me play among the the others this new tool is amazing. On the fly (or on the RED Rocket), this new device allows you to playback full 4K, as it de-bayers on the fly, in real time, wow. Installed in a Mac Pro or Windows machine, it will make mince meat out of what once was a laborious task. In other words RED Rocket we love you.

REDucation has entered it's second phase.
The nitty gritty post production REDucation, where the rubber meets the road. All your hard work, blood, sweat and tears will be for not, without the talent of an editor that has the skill-set to unfold your beautiful RED content, into an equally beautiful finished project. I have to say, both Micahel Cioni, and Ted from RED, do a great job at delivering information, clear cut, and honest. It's value anyway you slice it.

I have to apologize, the past two days I did not post, I was too tired, and got home late from the REducation classes.

That said, both day 3 and the REDucation Community were a success. If you had a chance to attend Community Day, you know what I mean. The support for RED by outside vendors, is staggering. This camera system is the future, and I say this to all still photographers, please start the learning process.

Today Apple announced Final Cut 7, and it's got RED written all over it.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

REDucation Day 2

Day two of the RED Tech segment of REDucation, , and the students were presented with myriad of tools for the tech. From monitors, ingestion software, tech cart configurations, RED Tech and DP/AC relationships, color correction and much more.

The assignments carried out by the students on Monday, were viewed and discussed today. The assignments varied, covering just about every possible shooting scenario, under varying conditions. For me this was truly enlightening. This is world class film (I mean RED Digital) school. This program is structured so everyone learns, no man left behind.

Some of the tools discussed today were Sony CineSlate, iSlate, FilmSlate, monitors like the Dell S2209W the prefect low priced monitor that also gives you menu display via HDMI.

The day ran a full 10 hours, and no one wanted to leave, the energy is high, and the staff was very willing to answer questions to the end.

Being a technology geek, I love the gear, so many REDs, and the Sony 4K Projector, along with DVS Real-Time 4K Playback with full debayer, wow.


Monday, July 20, 2009

REDucation Day 1

yours truly assisting students

Well, this was a very informative day. REDucation hosted students from all over the world. The class size at REDucation is 40, and students came from India, London, Dubai, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and all over the US.

It was a day filled with presentations (both visual and verbal), lectures, Q and A, hands on RED, and shooting assignments.

Ted Schilowitz (RED Digital Cinema) and Michael Cioni (formally with Plaster City) are the main teachers, with Mauricio Gutierrez, Casey Green, Steve Freebairn and myself (Von Thomas) as teaching assistants. The event hosted by HD Expo Creatasphere, and produced by Jeff Seckendorf, is held at the Los Angeles Center Studios, in Downtown LA.

I have to say, collectively we have a awesome crew, the skill level, the first hand knowledge and experience, the willingness to share, makes this learning event, above and beyond a benchmark for our new digital cinema learning frontier.

You may be able to get a picture with RED, but with training like this, your vision as a story teller, will literally leap off the screen.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

New York 5 - Los Angeles 0

I had a conversation with Ted Schilowitz of RED on Friday. He had recently returned from New York, and had this to report. Ted says: I was just in NYC and met with a number of big still organizations that are shooting RED on jobs all the time now - very interesting stuff.

New York rocks the RED in the still arena.

Firms like Vision On have jumped to the forefront of the RED pact. Industrial Color has recently joined the list of digital capture firm that offer RED, and my guess is that others will soon join in.

LA, while being the entertainment center has yet to dive in. It is my opinion that the New York firms will dominate the RED market for the still photographer, until LA catches up.

C'mon LA!