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THE VOID Installation

Posted by Charles

A very impressive Panoramic audio visual installation title, The Void by Tundra.

Audiovisual installation “Void” is an attempt to visualize the idea of emptiness.
Emptiness here is regarded not as an absence of everything, but as an initial state when anything can appear. To see how dark room turns into the Big Bang epicenter a visitor should become “empty”. Every move and sound, captured by sensitive equipment, stops the 360 degrees audiovisual flow around.
“Void” is a social experiment, to see how long today people can stay totally calm.

My hat is off to this crew for the design and implementation. I’d love to see this in person. It does appear that the young man in the third photo is having a meltdown, poor guy.

Anium Opening Preview

Posted by Charles

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Just wanted to preview some new work here and write a quick post about an opening I’m having tomorrow night at Subtext Gallery in San Diego, California called Anium.

The show is split into two parts, still and motion. There will be 24 print pieces on display and 4 video installations. I’m really excited about the video installations but they’re still being wrapped up, so you’ll have to drop in to check them out. The goal was to create short moving posters with no related theme. There will be 3 small 27″ screens that we’ve rehoused and one 8 ft monolith with a 50″ screen.

If you’re in the area or close, come on by! It’d be great to meet some people from the blog!

The show will be up from September 13th – October 13th at Subtext gallery in San Diego. Click here for the Facebook event. If you can’t make the opening or are interested in checking out the show online, here’s the full preview of the show and ways to purchase prints.

Footage from New Red Dragon Sensor

Posted by Charles

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Here we have the first footage made public from Red’s new Dragon sensor. The new sensor is capable of 6K, which is 6144px x 3160px at a max of 100fps. That’s almost more than a 5D mark III which is 5760 x 3840, depending on how you look at the frame size. There was talk on the Epic previously that you could pull stills from the image, which I’ve done, but a 5D III looks much better. With the Dragon sensor this could actually be possible. Meaning any shot from a video pulled off at 21mp, that’s nuts.

There’s a lot going into this, it’s been hyped for a long time and delivery has been pushed back by over a year, but it does look to deliver on a few key things, like improved low light and better dynamic range. Then again, there’s spots that I see in the video where the image breaks apart and the low light looks not that great and the highlights have a less than desirable roll off. It’s a mixed bag at the moment, overall it looks like a big improvement over the previous outgoing Epic MX sensor, we’ll see how it shapes up against competitors like the Arri Alexa and Sony F65. I’d love to go into an analytic chat, but right now I’m going to hold off until I have one in my hand and get to push it around in the computer. 6K is a lot of image, so it’ll be interesting how user-friendly editing with it is. I got in line early for the Dragon sensor upgrade, so possibly some of the future Tycho video / visual stuff will be shot with it and I’ll do a full breakdown for everyone. Supposedly they’ll be doing the sensor swap upgrades in September, so sooner than later!

The notes on the images were baked in by the director, here’s some links to decode what’s going on in each.

Dynamic Range – It’s the amount of range between light and dark. Prior to this sensor, Arri’s Alexa and the Blackmagic cameras we’re at the top, it seems that the new Dragon sensor might be a little more than the Alexa. Then again it takes individual testing to see if that’s true.

ISO – Most digital camera sensors as of this year are native at around 800 ISO ( ASA Film ). The Canon C series of cameras can go all the way up to 16,000 ISO and still be usable. RED Epic used to be maxed out at around 1600 ISO and even then it’s questionable, they’re now trying to go beyond that and get into the DSLR range of ISO sensitivity.

Compression Ratios – Compression ratios on RED clips are the amount of data from RAW ( uncompressed ) it’s using. A clip that has a 4:1 ratio will be larger, but be very clean. A ratio of 18:1 will be smaller in file size, but also more compressed. Think of it as moving the the slider down on a jpeg when you save it for web, it might save file space, but you loose detail. I shoot between 5:1 and 8:1 on the Epic, any more and the image begins to look muddy in my opinion.

The director did a great job of pushing the image around in the short time he had the camera.

Quick Look At NAB 2013

Posted by Charles

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This is my second year going to NAB, a trade show each year in Las Vegas that includes cinema and broadcast manufacturers. Every component of moving image creation is changing quickly; lenses, camera sensors and editing / post applications, so I felt it was necessary to get out to Las Vegas and handle these things before I decide to throw down the price of a car and wait for a brown box to arrive.

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After hearing and seeing a lot about the Freefly MoVI in the past few days, it was one of the first booths I stopped at. The MoVI is a handheld gyro stabilizer. What this does is stabilize your shots with little motors that constantly counteract any movement. Upon grabbing it, the first thing you notice is it’s REALLY light, however, all that was on the rig was a 1DC ( DSLR ) and Canon Cinema Prime, not too huge. It was easy to toss around and it remained relatively smooth. There’s something that no one has really mentioned yet, you need an AC to pull focus and unlike a Steadicam rig, you need someone remotely operating Pan / Tilt. I went in thinking it could be usable as a one man operated piece, but really it’d be a stretch. EDIT : After seeing more about it, they are showing a mode called “Majestic” and there is a “Lock Off” mode for one man operation. We all know that proper film equipment is not cheap, so it’s price isn’t too high for professionals, but it’s absolutely too expensive to be a “Change Gamer” as some people have said. There is a lighter version for 7500 coming later in the year, but still remains too high to get in the hands of the masses such as the 5DMII. It’s a breakthrough for the professional market though. I’m still hunting to find video of it with an Epic mounted on it. I’d love to have one or try one out on a shoot, though. The only good photo I got of this was a man doing the Lion King with it as onlookers were horrified. I did take a little video of it as well.

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It felt fitting to shoot this man handling the camera in slow motion. Also, those are the real sounds of the people at NAB.

Phantom announced it’s own 4K camera that shoots up to 1000fps at 4K, the Phantom Flex 4K. The image I saw coming out of this wild animal is really smooth and has reached a cinema quality level. They are even saying that it will shoot 23.976 sync sound speeds so you can shoot it as your main camera in 4K and the image will be comparable to that of any other digital cinema cameras. These will come in around 160,000 loaded up. Oh and the 2TB CineMag that holds the footage is around 35,000, wow!

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At NAB last year Red announced “6K resolution for 6,000 dollars”, with a sensor upgrade on the Epic camera with a sensor called Dragon. Coming across a few delays this year they started swapping out sensors today, at NAB. They built a “clean-room” at their booth and were literally building cameras at the show. It was cool to see an almost “behind the scenes” look at what happens to the cameras in the factory. Being an Epic owner, I’m excited about this and will most likely go for the upgrade at some point soon. I also got to see some proper 4K footage on a 4K screen at their booth and it has to be seen to be believed. The best way to describe it is when Apple introduced “Retina” on the iPhone. Only time will tell if it becomes adopted for home viewing.

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I didn’t have a lot of time to check out Adobe or Cinema 4D at NAB, but there is a lot of coverage here on what they announced prior to the show. Most of what they did at NAB was demos, since it’s software, not too much to handle. The big things they have announced are native support for Cinema 4D files inside After Effects, yes inside. This is one of the biggest announcements for me, since I spend a lot of time in both applications. Check out the link above to get all the details, but it’s really cool.

Canon didn’t have any new announcements at the show other than a new addition to their Cinema Prime family. If you follow Canon in the digital cinema world, or attended NAB last year, it was almost the exact same thing. Their lenses are great, their products are great, just nothing too shocking.

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I did get to handle a couple lenses I am absolutely in love with, the Arri Zeiss Master 35mm 1.9 Anamorphic and the Leica 35 1.4. Collectively, they’re both a solid downpayment on a home.

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Blackmagic Design once again drew a huge crowd with two new cameras that stunned everyone. One is a camera that is literally a little bigger than an iPhone called the Pocket Cinema Camera. It shoots 1080p Prores, has 13.5 stops of dynamic range and is only $999.00. On handling it, it’s absurdly small and light. I can see this camera as a replacement for GoPros in some situations when you need a better image. I also see it for a lot of people that want to do visual effects work in a small light package. If a video artist or someone that works in After Effects that’s experimenting visually, they can have this camera in their desk with a lens and a couple batteries and really get some incredible footage out of it. Things like this are “Change Gamers”.

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The next camera they announced was the Blackmagic Production Camera. This camera is a super 35mm sensor with a global shutter and shoots 4K. Here’s the kicker it’s 4,000.00. I still haven’t wrapped my head around this camera, but this also has such an incredibly low price point, every studio will have one.

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The one thing I think is great about these low cost RAW cameras is what’s going to happen in the hands of visual effects artists. A lot of the barriers to great imagery are completely gone now, which brings me to my takeaway.

What does all this mean? There aren’t any technical / visual limits anymore. I think now everyone has an opportunity to make great images and it’s in the hands of the artists now to make things happen. Sure we’ll all geek out on tech, but I feel like the DSLR movement is sort of over and now we have real robust tools made for making real stuff.

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Christie DLP 4K Projector, looks like it’s rideable.

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This guy was doing event coverage with a 3D Epic rig at 5K, no one has told him 3D is over.

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The FT-ONE is a 4K 1000fps camera, to me it looks like it’s a bread warmer.

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Grips are getting fired.

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The nicest zoom lens at the show.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to respond. I did see a lot of stuff and just pulled a few of the stand out moments.

Upstream Color

Posted by Charles

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Sundance is going on right now, so I thought this might be a good time to post the trailer to Shane Carruth‘s new film “Upstream Color”. If you’re at Sundance and have the opportunity to attend the world premiere tomorrow, here’s the details, and I’m very envious of you.

Carruth is the writer, director and actor from a film called Primer. Of my all time favorite films, Primer rests comftorably in the top five. If you haven’t seen it, I’d suggest going here and downloading it, trust me it’s worth it. That said, Upstream Color is Shane’s newest film and as cryptic and mysterious as the teasers and trailer are, I have full trust that this film will be nothing short of amazing.

The synopsis for Upstream Color,

A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism.

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You can view the teasers for Upstream Color and trailer for Primer here.

If Mr. Carruth stumbles upon this and is looking for someone to collaborate with on visual elements for upcoming films, I’m onboard.