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!

In The Beginning

In the beginning, before digital was/is what it is today, we of little knowledge, clung to the words of wisdom advice of those who possessed the skillset. I still do that today, and I have to pay homage to sites like DP Review (, Rob Galbraith (, and Michael Reichmann ( These sites were pioneers, and truly not the mainstream, but digital in 2000 and 2001 was not mainstream. I've imparted a great deal of info gained from these sites. Along with my personal experiences, this has been my Digital University, my Masters Degree, my PHD, as it has been for countless others.

These sites continue to bring information and knowledge all around the world, to those that seek it.

RED In Print

Esquire, first to break with tradition. In June of 2009, Esquire used for the first time a cinematic camera to produce a print shoot. W Magazine followed in July 2009. Both magazines featured high profile celebrities Megan fox in Esquire (, Bruce and Emma Willis in W (

Both shoots done in New York, and teched by Vision On. Vision On has a long history of digital capture, and has also embraced RED as a new tool for the still photographer.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


For those of you not familiar with REDucation, it is the one place you can get soup to nuts info for the RED. I advise everyone with an eye to shoot RED, to learn from experienced professionals. They have done the trial and error, you just have to listen and learn.

You can find more information on The next training session is October 12 - 18, 2008. the training consists of two valuable parts. RED Tech, a Three-Day, Immersive, Hands On Workshop on RED Cameras and Data Management, and RED Post, a Three-Day Workshop on RED Post Production and Data Management.

Don't use RED without knowledge or a trained tech, or better, both.

RED Knowledge

As RED is quickly being put in place by the powers that be, the question of it's future is certain. The real question is, how is RED being delivered, and by whom. Most major companies are aligning themselves to be RED suppliers. They have ramped up within the past 30 to 90 days and they are pitching they product. Odds are they have a serious learning curve to climb before they are truly reliable and valuable for their client base. Until then there is a small group of dyed in the wool RED gurus, that have experienced the wrong way, and the right way to work with RED. Seek them out, they have value, they can assist you on your production.

RED Digital Motion Still and Tech Launch


Digital Capture is what I’m known for. Although I have 30 years in photography, 11 of those based in New York, I’m still known as digital capture guru.

I’m now embarking on yet another frontier, digital capture for motion, or digital cinema. I adopted the RED Digital Cinema camera was my tool of choice because it has range. The images produced from this camera are beautiful, and that’s only the half of it. This device captures RAW, and it can deliver still images that can be used in editorial and print advertisement.

Over the past 9 months I trained, attending seminars and workshops, interned in the field, and worked on numerous commercials, short films, music videos, and still advertising shoots using the RED camera. I became so involved, that I’m becoming a guru for RED as well. My good works have landed me on the training staff for REDucation, the authorized training for the RED Digital Camera systems.

I’m a constant fixture on, the official RED forum, where everything regarding RED and it’s workflow is discussed, and reviewed.

My knowledge of RED coupled with 11 years as a digital still photographer (25 years overall), allows me to bring new workflows and practices to digital cinema, that aid productivity and accuracy.

I now launch Vision 3D RED Rental .

RED Packages starting at $650.00 per day (complete), $1800.00 per week.