Fujifilm mirrorless cameras are best known for two main factors, their pleasing color reproduction and their excellent lenses. While they don't have the amazing low light abilities of the Sony A7 line, and they aren't the documentary powerhouses with the 10-bit internal of the GH5, they have found a solid position for themselves in the market for photographers—and increasingly filmmakers—who are focused on accurate skintones and sharp but pleasing lenses.
In an ideal world, roads would be perfectly paved, suspension perfectly tuned, and all the hiccups of a road shot would be easily stabilized by a motorized stabilizer like the MoVi or the Ronin. However, in reality, that's often not the case, and rough roads can make their way up through a vehicle, creating enough vibrations to make long lens shots impossible (even on a stabilizer).
That's where vibration dampeners come in. Mounted between the platform—be it a jib, a car mount, or even a boat or helicopter—and the stabilizer, a vibration plate isolates the stabilizers from vibrations, allowing the stabilizing motors to focus on stabilizing the image and allowing DPs to work with longer lenses to create a wider variety of shots. Indiana company Kessler has just released its new, affordable, highly capable dampener: the Killshock.
The venerable editing platform Media Composer has been aggressively improving this year, especially with pricing. The new price point of fully fledged Media Composer is $20/month, and Media Composer Ultimate (which comes with the Symphony color correction tools, Phrase Find and Script Sync all in one package is $50/month. Thus, Avid has positioned Media Composer not just to remain competitive with the high-end clients who love it, but also with independent filmmakers and students who want to take advantage of its robust stability and great shared editing platforms.
Charlotte Bruus Christensen—a Cannes-winning shooter for her work on 2012's The Hunt—has been justly praised for her atmospheric, beautiful and story-driven work on the recent runaway hit horror film A Quiet Place. In John Krasinski's directorial debut, he stars alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt as a couple who must raise their family in silence lest they evoke the wrath of creatures with hyper-sensitive hearing who have wiped out most of humanity and who hunt through sound.
It's no secret we weren't huge fans of the 2016 MacBook Pro. Barely faster at some tasks than our 2013 model, slower at others, with a loud keyboard, only USB-C ports, and no more volume keys, it failed to offer a compelling reason to upgrade. A mild 2017 refresh didn't help, but now with the 2018 refresh, we get a few key things that we have been waiting for from Apple for a while. If nothing else, seeing a real spec bump that will have noticeable benefits is major enough. That it seems to be happening on a regular cycle (something that isn't happening with the full sized pro, for instance), is huge.
Blackmagic has just announced the creation of an external GPU box, working in collaboration with Apple. Designed as a complement to the MacBook Pro, the new eGPU has an AMD Radeon Pro 580 built into the box, bringing 8GB of GDDR5 graphics memory, which should help with larger renders on 4K and 8K projects.
Combined with four USB3 ports, two T3 ports, and an HDMI port, this should be hugely popular as an on-set tool for faster image review and dailies stations. With speeds of up to 2.5 times the 15" MacBook Pro (or even 7x the 13" MacBook Pro), this could be a huge time saver and could potentially make the 13" a more appealing option for 'posties' who have stuck with the 15" for its graphics horsepower.
Quality Control (abbreviated (QC) is one of those areas of the film industry that isn't glamorous but is nonetheless important to appreciate. QC is required before delivering to any broadcast or streaming network to ensure that your program meets all of the technical requirements to be broadcast or streamed. If your post process has gone smoothly and you've met your deadlines, you have plenty of time to deliver the material to an outside QC house for evaluation and time to fix any errors that might arise.
Unfortunately, very few projects keep to their post schedule. As a result, QC is often a rushed process, involving last minute requests to the QC house to stay up late and evaluate a project, providing fast fixes to QC errors in order to meet a deadline.
Digital security isn't a matter of simply setting things up and walking away. As hackers develop advanced tools to break into systems, security requires constant vigilance and improvements to a system that ensures that the wrong people do not gain access to the data.
This is especially relevant to filmmakers, as there is a tremendous amount of interest in the work created at the top end, such as getting new episodes of Game of Thrones or the latest Marvel film early. If you remember the Larson Studios Hack, the hacking group wasn't even specifically targetting post-production facilities; they just happened to luck into new episodes of Orange is the New Black.
Frame.io is quite publicly a place where works-in-progress (of new movies, television episodes, etc.) will be stored, and the company knows that there's a giant target on your back for hackers looking for hot content.
Gimbal innovation is downright exhausting. The company's new design innovation—such as the angled design that allows for clearly viewing the screen on your camera—swept the market within 12-18 months. This summer, pretty much all of the features a user can want have been piled together into a surprisingly affordable unit from DJI, the company's first "one-handed" stabilizer. The unit is called the Ronin S.
The Ronin S has the angled roll motor, allowing you to easily see your camera screen if not working with an external. It has an integrated follow-focus system. It works with industry standard mounting plates (though the DJI version comes with a threaded hole for a lens support). It's pretty much....all the things.
It's important to remember that the Ronin S is too big to be your "'Bring it everywhere' scout tool." We had some hope that we would pick it up, it would feel light, and that we would leave one in our kit full-time to fire up for blocking. Sadly, that is not the Ronin S.
We love gear. And there are legitimate times when your brand or style of gear does matter. A feature shot on a RED Monstro will look substantially different than a feature shot on a DVX100, all other things being equal. But sometimes it's great to be reminded that even with an identical set of tools, wildly different results can be accomplished. Especially if those particular tools are pretty flexible themselves. For example, LED lights offer a lot of control and options that some traditional lights haven't enabled without accessories. In the video below, ShareGrid and DP Casey McBeath use one set of Quasar Science LEDs as a single light source (plus some diffusion and bounce) to walk through a variety of lighting setups as a great reminder of how there is so much you can do with the same basic set of tools.