Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! This is the first show we recorded at Cine Gear 2014, but it’s the last one we are posting because we tried to get rid of some audio issues we had on the show. Sorry for that, there is still some hiss on some of my comments, that was a frequency issue. We sat down with director of photography Tom Guilmette and Chris Beller from Kessler to talk about current projects, new products and the importance of camera sizes in this day and age of film and video production. Tom is a seasoned cameraman who spent years shooting sports in big stadiums with huge cameras, and like many of us continuously embraced the opportunities that new camera technology offered to him. He shares his experiences in a wealth of very elaborate blog posts on his blog tomguilmette.com. We talked about the importance of staying up-to-date with new technology in the camera field these days as the opportunities keep expanding constantly, and many feel buried under a multitude of options. Those who become complacent stay behind. Chris Beller and Tom explained new Kessler products like the impressive Uni Drive, a simpler yet powerful motion control system for Kessler sliders that was introduced during NAB 2014 and which starts shipping right now. We also talked about a recent commercial production which Tom made with a lot of Kessler gear, for the boating company Nightingale Charters – including very long jib arms on moving boats, which sounds hard to accomplish … Tom Guilmette shooting commercials for Nightingale Charters using Kessler equipment. To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! It’s always great to sit and talk with friends from the industry and chat about what’s on our minds regarding production workflows and issues. On this 16th episode of ON THE COUCH, I sat down with Jem Schofield from theC47.com, who is well known for his education and workshop classes in the filmmaking field. Apart from being an educator, Jem is also a producer and much of our talk focused on getting better audio for production – something that is constantly neglected by owner/operators who need to do their own audio. We touched on the fact that a lot of shooters who started with DSLRs were able to deliver great video all of a sudden because of the technical capabilities – while at the same time the level of audio got worse overall because people used the terrible built-in microphones with their low-quality preamps to record location audio. Jem emphasized the importance of understanding the differences between microphone pickup patterns when deciding on a microphone for your production. Many just go with one shotgun microphone for all their purposes, but there is no “one size fits all”. Like us, Jem loves to work with our sponsor Røde’s microphones as they provide some of the best value for money in the industry. My go-to boom microphone for my own smaller productions is the Røde NTG3, a shotgun microphone with a very narrow supercardioid pickup pattern. Jem argues it’s great for exterior recording but he prefers the NT55 inside rooms because it has a broader pickup (ideal when 2 persons are talking to each other) and it doesn’t have the “pickup tail” that the NTG3 has. While being super narrow with its pickup, the pickup tail also makes the NTG3 more susceptible for picking up sounds from behind the microphone (e.g. ceiling fans, air conditioning, …), handling noise and sound reflections – and that’s exactly where the NT55 shines. The new Røde SmartLav+ combined with the Røde Rec app for iOS was another product combo that Jem mentioned – a super easy and super inexpensive way of always carrying a very usable lavelier microphone with you as it records straight into your phone using the app – not a bad value for money considering the SmartLav+ is around $75 and their app another $5 (definitely much cheaper than dedicated sound recorders that are often left in the studio exactly when you need them for an occasional sound bite shot on a small camera or DSLR). We also talked about other subjects including camera stabilization and the discussion MoVi vs. Steadicam and how irrelevant it is considering the fact that both tools have their advantages and disadvantages (and the fact that Tabb Firchau from Freefly and Garrett Brown, the inventor of the Steadicam, are giving workshops together). Before we wrapped the show up, we discussed the fact that like me, Jem quite likes Final Cut Pro X and thinks he is able to work faster with it than with any other NLE. We also touched on the up- and downsides of Premiere and Avid. Lastly, Jem Schofield mentioned that he is going to do another extensive filmmaking workshop in Scotland for a week starting July 27th, 2014. This “Filmmaker’s Intensive” will deal with the science and art of telling stories and people will learn all about lighting, shooting and also getting the right audio for their productions. Head over to their website here to check it out: http://www.thefilmmakersintensive.com To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! This episode of ON THE COUCH was shot in the heart of Hollywood at the W Hotel during Cine Gear 2014 and features a number of guests who are related to the post production industry: Robert M. Malachowski, Supervising Editor and Grant Masson, Associate and Online Editor at the TV show “The Voice“, Justin Bloch, Media Manager at Discovery Studios, and Mark Anderson, Solutions Engineer at G-Technology / HGST shared the couch for this interesting discussion. We talked about the fast turn arounds necessary for such huge (and hugely successful) TV shows as The Voice, where dozens of cameras are shooting singers, performers and the behind-the-scenes at the same time. How do they deal with all the footage that is generated? How do they backup all of it? How is it actually edited and how much time do they have for that? Justin Bloch from Discovery Studios talks about their very different challenges with many documentary crews out shooting simultaneously for various shows – different cameras and workflows require Justin to transcode most of the footage in order to make it ideal for editing in Avid. Last but not least, Mark Anderson from G-Technology talks about how new storage products can help with these challenges and make edit suites ready for the fast-approaching 4K requirements of the future. To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! In our second session from the Paramount Pictures studio lot during Cine Gear 2014 in front of an audience, we were lucky enough to have Shane Hurlbut, ASC and his wife Lydia Hurlbut on our couch. Talking points: Shane is a rare breed of an ASC cinematography, constantly sharing lots of in-depth knowledge and experience on his blog, the Hurlblog. We talked about their reasons to be so open online, and how he came to actually embrace sharing knowledge this much. Turned out that his wife Lydia was the one to get this all started. We talked about how much the industry has changed over the past 10 years compared to the 50 years before – and what that means for the craft of cinematography in this day and age. Being at Cine Gear, I also asked Shane what excited him most, and he specifically mentioned being particularly excited about the new MoVi M15 which was on display at the show, together with a Easyrig-like contraption that helps support the weight of the rig. Touching on his recently wrapped shoot of Need for Speed 7 and Fathers and Daughters (starring Russell Crowe), we talked about the different challenges on sets. In Need for Speed 7, Shane had up to 50 cameras (including many Go Pro’s and 1DC’s as crash cameras) rolling at a time. And shooting the drama Fathers and Daughters by director Gabriele Muccino, he was surprised that for the first time in his entire career, he had shooting days that were sometimes only 6 hours long – because the production needed to save money, which allowed him to have more budget for the tools, crew and equipment he needed on the shoot. Talking about budgeting, I asked Lydia and Shane about how to budget correctly with a set budget – something a lot of filmmakers struggle with. Running a production company on their own, Hurlbut Visuals, Lydia and Shane also produce their own shorts or commercials from time to time – e.g. the short “The Ticket”, which demoed the 1DC. Shane mentioned how expensive acquiring the location permissions was (the ferris wheel in Santa Monica, for example) and what that meant for the rest of the budget. Among many other things, we touched on storage workflow on sets like “Need for Speed” and how the DIT managed to keep track of all the cameras and store all the footage safely including backups. They shot over 400 TB of footage on that movie. Lastly, we talked about work / life balance and how to achieve it. Lydia had very interesting things to say about that, having a lot of experience with Shane’s crazy schedule over all the years they have been together. She talked about how it is never a balance, because the partner is away for so long at a time during feature shoots – but then the time for family has to be made after such a job is done. It’s a tough industry to work in to have relationships for sure, but Lydia and Shane seem to be one of the few couples that have been together for a very long time successfully and happily in an industry that is not exactly relationship-friendly. To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! This is the first episode of ON THE COUCH from Cine Gear 2014 here from the Paramount Pictures Studios lot here in Hollywood, California. Thanks to our sponsor G-Technology we were able to welcome Alex Buono, director of photography at the Saturday Night Live film unit, and his colleague Adam Epstein who’s the editor on the show. We talked about the incredible turn-around times these guys have to deal with when producing the show every week. Alex and Adam and the entire team behind SNL have brought a high quality film style to the show for a lot of the sketches that air every week. The incredible thing about them is that they have to work in the shortest time frames to get these done – with preproduction done on Thursday, production on Friday and editing on the Saturday right before the show airs every Saturday evening at 11:30 pm. We also touched on the right equipment choices for these setups and how everything regarding technology, cameras and lighting has changed since Alex started working on SNL about 15 years ago. They went from film stock to Mini DV and then through the whole “DV revolution” and then the “HD revolution” and DSLRs until where we are today, where we have basically all the choices available. I found it interesting to hear that despite their crazy turn around times, they shoot on all kinds of cameras that produce all kinds of different data rates and codecs – so it is a process that needs to be adjusted every week depending on the piece they shoot. To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.Read more
To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here. On the go? Subscribe to the Cinema5D ON THE COUCH audio and video podcasts on iTunes! We are happy to announce that we are about to start recording the 2nd season of ON THE COUCH, our talk show format that we premiered only two months ago at NAB 2014. Together with Johnnie Behiri, our friend Misa Garcia and sound man Mike Jarzabek I am now here in Hollywood floating between the Cine Gear 2014 venue (Paramount Studios) and the W Hollywood Hotel – on both locations we will record a number of new shows for our audience. Thanks to our dear sponsors G-Technology, Rode Microphones, Vitec Videocom, Post Magazine and OWLS Media, we are able to bring you another season of our talk show. There are two special shows that will be shot on the Paramount Studios lot in a presentation suite, and you can be part of the audience – just stop by!! Here’s the schedule and guest list for the public recordings: • Friday, June 6, at 02:45 pm – Alex Buono & Adam Epstein (DP & editor at Saturday Night Live – Film Unit) Location: Presentation Suite No. 5 – Sherry Lansing Theater (see map below) • Saturday, June 7 at 03:00 pm – Shane & Lydia Hurlbut (DP of Need for Speed 7, Deadfall, Terminator Salvation …) Location: Presentation Suite No. 5 – Sherry Lansing Theater (see map below) Here are the other shows that we are going to record at our suite at the W Hollywood (massive thanks to G-Technology for organizing this location!!) • Tom Guilmette & Kessler Crane’s Chris Beller • Jeff Cree, SOC & Randy Wedick • Michael Artsis, David Linstrom, Vitec Videocom: Sherry Fragomeni, Ali Ahmadi, Andrew Butler • Post-Production session (sponsored by POST MAGAZINE): The Voice & Discovery Studios: Robert M. Malachowski, Jr., Supervising Editor and Grant Masson, the Associate Online Editor, Justin Bloch, manager of media for Discovery Studios • Jem Schofield (speaking also for sponsor RODE) PLEASE feel free to send us questions you might have for any of our guests, we will do our best to ask all of them! Either comment on this post or drop me an email via nino[at]cinema5D.com. Watch out for the new episodes to be posted over the course of the next days. To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.Read more
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