New iPhone app: Wi-Fi WFM

Shameless commercial message: I’ve developed a new iPhone app, Wi-Fi WFM. It takes the wireless feed from a Teradek Cube, Clip, or VidiU and displays its picture along with a waveform monitor, vectorscope, and/or histogram.

Wi-Fi WFM receiving from a Cube 255 on a GH4
Wi-Fi WFM receiving from a Cube 255 on a GH4

Background: Teradek H.264 encoders take camera feeds and send them over Wi-Fi or wired links as H.264 streams. They’re used for live streaming and remote monitoring; in the latter case they’re very useful supplying director’s feeds from mobile cameras, as well as seeing pix from cameras on drones, gimbals, Steadicams, or in other situations where running a video cable can be problematic. You can display the streams on iPhones and iPads, making them lightweight, portable monitors.

Wi-Fi WFM on an iPad
Wi-Fi WFM on an iPad, showing all three ‘scopes

Wi-Fi WFM adds engineering ‘scopes to the picture display, so you can see exactly what the camera is doing in, in real time (well, almost). Now you can check white balance and exposure levels without a tethered ‘scope, and watch those levels as the camera roams the set or flies high on a drone.

Yes, even YCbCr waveforms.
Yes, even YCbCr waveforms. Alex Lindsay told me he needed ’em, so here they are.

I could go on, and tell you how this will change your life for the better (improve your videography! get higher-paying clients! attract staggeringly gorgeous romantic partners!), but I’m obviously biased.

Even so, I will say that if you’re in that narrow subset of folks who (a) uses Teradeks and (b) uses ‘scopes, you might want to have a look. I wrote it because I needed such a thing; maybe you’ll find it useful, too.

I’ll be at Cine Gear Expo this week, using Wi-Fi WFM in the DSC Labs booth, S239 in Stage 31 (tag-teaming with Art Adams). If you’re at the show, stop by and see it in use.

Disclosure: I wrote Wi-Fi WFM, so if you buy it, I’ll make money.

Ansel Adams enters video games

ansel in videogames

Ansel Adams, Industrial Light & Magic, virtual cameras, photography and a lot of imagination are the reason for this article, which seems to be about video games, but is more about the growing connection between the worlds of Cinema, Video games and Photography.

While the introduction of Ansel to video games may not appear to have a directly link with photography, the fact is that it has not only to do with photography, but with many of the technologies we will see in video and photography in the future. It also relates to the freedom of capturing unique images which video games offer photographers and videographers.

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The newest graphics card from nVidia, the GTX 1080, will cost around $600, more than what many users can afford or want to pay for a card. That’s the reason why everybody expected the appearance of the GTX 1070, which will offer slightly less performance but will cost much less, around the $370 mark, making for a more logical card in terms of desktop gaming. Yes, I know, by now you think: what does this have to do with Pro Video Coalition?

ansel in videogames
Screenshot from the Virtual World of Second Life, where users can control camera position, atmoshperic conditions, hour of day and more for their “photos”

Well, together with the new card nVidia announced a technology, Ansel, able to, as the company says, “revolutionize screenshot capture for Geforce GTX gamers”. Ansel is named after photographer Ansel Adams, and just that would be interesting enough to write a story here… but there is more. Game photography is, according to nVidia, a “new art form – screenshots can be posed and framed, and those with a great eye will select the best scenes and most beautiful vistas, just as a real world photographer would. The very best screenshots from famous game photographers like Duncan Harris, James Pollock, Leonardo Sang and Joshua Taylor are shown in exhibitions, printed and framed, and admired by millions of gamers online.”

ansel in videogames
A family photo inside Lord of The Rings Online. Those “photos” are npot much different from the pictures taken by visitors at theme parks

Many of us, continues nVidia, “would love to take similar screenshots, and try as we might we simply can’t work around the limitations of traditional game capture – views and camera angles can’t be changed, enemies continue to attack, and you can only capture a generic shot with the HUD visible.”That’s where Ansel comes in.

Before we continue, let me state one thing: I understand that nVidia is doing its marketing, but the situation in terms of image capturing in games is not exactly as they say. People have been taking photographs (printscreens?) inside games and virtual worlds since the first day they were told they could, I believe. As someone who started to write about the computer games industry in the 1980s, I’ve used the printscreen key (or whatever key I could) as my camera trigger, as soon as that was viable. With some platforms, as consoles, I would use a SLR camera (yes, transparencies which where scanned to be used in magazines) to get pictures of a TV screen. But with PC games, the printscreen was the way to go.

ansel in videogames
An external “photo” taken in Microsoft Flight Simulator showing the Cessna 337 I use in he simulation

Being a photographer as well as a writer, I wrote extensively about picture taking inside games and virtual worlds (I was, as other journalists, a newspaper special envoy inside the virtual world Second Life, and even had a book published about the experience), and always applied, there, the same rules I used for photography in the real world. For many people, those memories “in game” are as important as the snapshots from their holidays, especially when people spend so much time in virtual worlds. Not much different from picture taking at Disneyland or any other theme park, in fact, as writer Umberto Ecco suggested in his book Travels in Hyperreality.

ansel in videogames
Photography in games continues to obey the same logic of composition used in the real world. My character in Neverwinter MMORPG

I saw photographers move into spaces like Second Life, where they created galleries with their photos from the real world, and I also saw them exhibiting in their galleries images taken inside those virtual worlds. In many cases, and because developers became aware of the importance of “photos” taken in their games, they created conditions for players to get the best angles. One good example of that is Second Life, where photographers can select where to position virtual cameras – virtually anywhere, in fact – and also the time of day, atmospheric conditions, cloud coverage, etc. So, while nVidia’s Ansel takes this to a new level, it seems, it is nothing absolutely new in terms of moving freely. One of the great things about many of modern games is, exactly, the freedom virtual cameras give.

ansel in videogames
External view of my spaceship in Elite:Dangerous, just leaving a space station

I’ve thousands of pictures from multiple games, some telling a story of over eight years playing them. One such example is Lord of the Rings Online, which I’ve played with my two sons. They are not playing the game any longer, but we still have pictures of our characters there together, and we do cherish them as any other photo of a family reunion. Because, after all, we experienced the same adventures together, although in a virtual world based on the universe from Tolkien. I am at the point, now, that I do some filming in virtual worlds, as I showed in Being a Videographer in Virtual Worlds.

Being a Videographer in Virtual Worlds

Now that I’ve, somehow, set the scenario, let me return to the information available from nVidia and explain a bit more about what Ansel can do. Ansel is a revolutionary new way to capture in-game shots and view them, even in 360 degrees. Compose your screenshots from any position, adjust them with post-process filters, capture HDR images in high-fidelity formats, and share them in 360 degrees using your mobile phone, PC, or VR headset. That’s what nVidia is offering users. Could be a videographers dream, in fact.

ansel in videogames

Now for the tech bits. The system allows users to capture shots in super resolution for the most detailed images and perfect edges. Capture up to a 4.5-Gigapixel image, or 32 times your game resolution. That’s big. The second tech element Ansel offers is EXR, which is an open source image file format created by Industrial Light & Magic that provides higher dynamic range and depth. It allows for 16 or 32 bit floating point storage per channel, compared to the traditional 8-bit integers in most formats. Capturing in this format enables you to choose your exposure in post, as well as apply extreme color correction without banding artifacts.

Ansel also allows to capture game environments in 360 degrees and view them on a mobile phone, PC, or VR headset, and introduce “Instagram” effects like grain, Black & White, Sepia or Hue Shift in images and adjust the mood and look of your favourite games. Something I am not sure Ansel Adams would do.

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To be implemented, the technology needs a bit of extra work from game developers. Some lines of code need to be written, nothing special says nVidia, for games to offer these extra options through Ansel. An update of software will suffice, in most cases, to open the doors – of perception? – to this new level of immersion. A number of top games, including The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Epic Games’ Fortnite, Paragon and Unreal Tournament, Cyan Worlds’ Obduction, Thekla’s The Witness, Boss Key Productions’ Lawbreakers, Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division, and the highly-anticipated No Man’s Sky from Hello Games will be “Ansel able” soon.

Knowing that Ansel Adams demonstrated, already in 1983, a curiosity about digital cameras, it would be nice to see how he would react to this use of his name in a video game photography capture program, if he was alive. I bet we would be using it to photograph some new landscapes… virtual ones!

A digest of last week’s photo and video news – Week 22

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A digest of last week’s news is a selection of some of the news from week 21 from 2016 related to the worlds of photography and video, covering multiple topics, always rounded up with a reading suggestion.

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Magix Acquires Sony’s Vegas Pro

Magix Software GmbH, a German software and app provider, acquired a majority of the Sony Creative Software (SCS) products, including the full Vegas Pro, Movie Studio, Sound Forge Pro, and ACID Pro product lines, MAGIX is further cementing its position in the market and accelerating its international growth. The SCS Catalyst Browse and Catalyst Production Suite will continue to be developed by Sony for professional broadcast and production applications. Magix plans to to release new versions of the video-editing programs Vegas Pro and Movie Studio, which are heavily oriented toward the customer requirements of today, says Magix CEO Klaus Schmidt.

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Metal Jacket at Cine Gear Expo

The international prices for the new Metal Jacket cage for the Leica SL are already available, and delivery of the cinema production cage will start in July. Expect to pay a little over $4000 for the LB-FMJPL Full Metal Jacket PL Sytem / MJ BasePlate / SL-PL Mount / Cine Block / Multi Port / Top Grip Handle / Hot Shoe / Focal Plain Pin configuration (prices do not include shipment/duties/customs/EU VAT, indicates LockCircle). The Metal Jacket will be on show at Cine Gear Expo, in Los Angeles, June 3 and 4.

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Content-Aware Crop for Photoshop CC

We all know Content-Aware, the sometimes magic way to get extra space in photos. Now Adobe is working on Content-Aware Crop, which makes Photoshop look at all the pixels around the edges of your image and automatically, seamlessly fills in the blank space with content when you expand or rotate an image. It will proably not work so magically in real time, but as Content-Aware, there will be times, when everything is in tune, when it will save the day. Content-Aware Crop will be one of the new features for Photoshop CC and Creative Cloud subscribers, some day in the future.

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A Stand Mount for the Indra500

The Phottix Indra Battery Pack Light Stand Mount, is, says the company, the perfect way to affix your Indra500 Battery Pack to a light stand. The high-grade aluminum clamp opens to 30mm and is lined with slip-resistant materials. This is a must-have accessory for Indra500 users – and something that had been requested since the Indra first hit the market. Using the included elasticized strap, the Indra500 Battery Pack is held securely to a mounting bracket. Perfect for on-location work and keeping your battery pack off the ground. The mount features a large thumbscrew for fast and easy use.

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$99 eBook Super Bundle

Rocky Nook has another bargain for photographers. This week and until June 1, the Rocky Nook Super Bundle offers nine eBooks with a $300.00 value for only $99.00. The select eBooks include the following titles: The Art, Science, and Craft of Great Landscape Photography, Our World Tour, Photography as Meditation, The Traveling Photographer, Create Your Own Photo Book, The Minimalist Photographer, More Than a Rock, Street Photography and Photographic Composition.

Technicolor certifies BenQ monitor

BenQ monitors

While one may not give much credit to awards, the truth is that they still reflect a choice. But when a company as Technicolor states that a monitor offers the most accurate color possible, you probably have to believe the statement.

The TIPA -Technical Image Press Association awards have seen, in my opinion, better days. Knowing the project since its inception, I’ve seen TIPA extend their range of awards in such a way that almost everything and everyone receives a prize… and the organization is widely criticized for something that once they criticized EISA – European Imaging & Sound Association, another award giving organization.

Still, one has to understand that the TIPA awards are bestowed by the organizations 27 judges, editors drawn for imaging magazines from 15 countries on five continents, and to qualify products must have been launched in the previous 12 months. Released in September 2015, the monitor from BenQ, say the judges, offers professional photographers, retouchers and graphic designers top quality performance.

BenQ monitors

According to TIPA, BenQ’s SW2700PT 27-inch monitor is aimed specifically at photographers who want IPS technology and 99% Adobe RGB colour space coverage, as well as a brightness level of 350 lux and high contrast for rendering deep blacks. The monitor’s other remarkable assets include inputs and outputs such as Display Port, DVI and HDMI, with USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader and a unique OSD controller. BenQ SW2700PT can be hardware colour calibrated which is essential for serious photo retouchers and graphic designers alike. Last but not least, a detachable hood underlines the professional attributes of this affordable but in essence high-end monitor.

The Technicolor certification of BenQ’s PV270 is a completely different story. As the recognized authority on color and image authenticity, Technicolor is trusted amongst media and entertainment industries around the world from top Hollywood directors to animators and game developers. Technicolor Color Certified devices are tested and verified during the manufacturing process to meet the same strict standards for color accuracy, matching the same color gamut, white point and gamma standards used throughout Hollywood and other entertainment industries.

This means that when a monitor receives is Technicolor Color Certified, like the PV270 just was, it is able to work as a high-end display for advanced cinematic and video post-production… according to Technicolor. Just to put things in context, Technicolor Color Certified is a designation reserved for devices– PC monitors, laptops, all-in-ones, and tablets –that satisfy the required Technicolor specifications during the device’s manufacturing process to meet the same strict standards for color accuracy used in Hollywood and throughout the media and entertainment industries. All Technicolor Color Certified devices display colors accurately, consistently and exactly as the content originators intended. Anyone can enjoy shopping, entertainment and gaming experiences with full confidence that the color you see onscreen is accurate.

“BenQ is a manufacturer of premium monitors used by professionals, with some meeting the strict requirements to be Technicolor Color Certified,” said Manuele Wahl, Senior Vice President of Technology and Trademark Licensing at Technicolor. “With these monitors content creators, videographers, and photographers, for example, can be assured they’re viewing and editing their work in the most accurate color possible.”

BenQ monitors

For colorists and editors demanding uncompromised color accuracy and high resolution, the PV270 meets those requirements for professional video editing, visual effects, and color correction and management. Being Technicolor Color Certified, the feature-rich PV270’s color performance is Hollywood-ready. This monitor’s 27″ IPS display boasts QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution with expansive color spaces covering 100% Rec.709, 96% DCI-P3 and 99% Adobe RGB required in digital cinematic video post-production and photo retouching. With hardware calibration and a 14-bit 3D LUT, an average Delta E?1.5 is achieved to deliver extreme color accuracy and reproduction for a high-impact, true-to-source viewing experience.

According to the information provided by BenQ, several features on the PV270 allow additional convenience and increase work efficiency. The X-Rite powered Palette Master calibration software assists hardware calibration for conformance to artists’ requirements. An optional Software Development Kit (SDK) allows studios or calibration software provider to be more involved in customizing color calibration settings. With 24P support, videos can be viewed with correct timing at their native cinematic frame rates. The built-in backlight sensor quickly stabilizes the monitor’s brightness while the brightness uniformity feature maintains consistent brightness across the viewing surface. The GamutDuo function allows artists to simultaneously review images on-screen side-by-side from two sources using two different color standards (e.g. Rec.709 and DCI-P3). With color related production expanding to worldwide collaborative efforts, the PV270’s Color Display Clone software can be used to detect differences in ambient light to automatically adjust the displayed color temperature for consistent color performance across remote offices and environments.

Fiilex AL250: light painting with a drone

 Fiilex AL250: light painting with a drone

The AL250, Fiilex’s first aerial lighting solution, is a new aerial light for drones. Presented at NAB 2016, it will cost you $349 at Adorama, and open the doors for night flying and new horizons in terms of photography and video.

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The Fiilex AL250 Intelligent Aerial Light was presented at NAB 2016 mounted on a Solo drone. Now that the light is available in the market, 3D Robotics promotes it as an accessory that will allow the Solo drone users to have a new sky light, allowing for the creation of dynamic set lighting from virtually any angle. The light plugs into Solo’s accessory bay, meaning it is possible to pair it with a gimbaled GoPro.

To show the potential of the light, 3D Robotics created a small video showing some field tests of the new light, and how it becomes possible to compose multiple scenes, both static and animated, using the Fiilex AL250 .Furthermore, they show what users as photographer Reuben Wu achieved with a Solo and a Fiilex aerial light into the wild and weird American West, while in search of transcendence and unearthly landscapes. The collection of beautiful and surreal imagery seen in the video is the result. It’s, adds 3D Robotics, a stunning collection, and a brilliant example of what you can do with a light in the sky.

 Fiilex AL250: light painting with a drone

The AL250, Fiilex’s first aerial lighting solution, redefines, according to the company, lighting control by mounting to any drone with a minimum payload capacity of at least 0.6lbs (270g). The intensity of this compact fixture matches a 200-watt tungsten bulb while drawing only 30 watts of power, making it one of our most efficient fixtures yet. The AL250 features special Fresnel optics designed to leverage Fiilex’s Dense Matrix technology. These optics focus the flicker-free beam, more than doubling its center lux. The unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which attaches directly to its housing, allowing the light to operate independently for a duration of 25 minutes.

The Fiilex AL250 mounted on a drone is like having a moving torch you can move anywhere you want… up there in the sky. There is no doubt the Fiilex AL250 expands your lighting capabilities in exciting new ways, but it remains to be seen what the FAA thinks of flying drones at night. That’s one of the questions users are posing after seeing the first, no doubt exciting, results.

P + S Technik’s 1.5x 35-70mm Anamorphic Zoom

There I stood in Wooden Camera’s booth at NAB 2016. The woman in front of me cocked her head to one side and gave me a perplexed look. The kind of look which read: “WTF are you talking about?” This was not totally unexpected. I had just walked into her booth and asked to take some of Wooden Camera’s gear out for a night shot. No one had told her the higher ups had already agreed to the “loaner.” Nor was I about to drop $200 on a single lens support for this shoot, not unless I had too. For a brief moment, we stood there at an impasse.

take one 2It was NAB 2016 with all the hustle, bustle, and craziness we all come to expect year after year. This time was no different with one exception. Brian Murie from Take One Film and Video offered to let me shoot on their Varicam LT for one night. Next, my buddy Nathan, parlayed this into P + S Technik loaning us their 1.5x anamorphic zoom for the night too. Varicam LT plus Anamorphic zoom? We saw every reason to be excited, but we needed batteries, a monitor capable of de-squeezing 1.5x, and a lens support for the zoom. We pulled every favor we could which left me standing in Wooden Camera’s booth lacking the one piece of gear left: the lens support. The woman who gave me the “WTF” look relented, handed over the lens support, and probably thought she would never see it, or me, again. Below is what we shot. It was not planned before hand.

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What does one shoot with the Varicam LT and P + S Technik’s great 1.5x anamorphic zoom. We headed out into the desert to avoid any Las Vegas cliches. There we exhausted our single charged Blue Shape gold mount battery for the Varicam LT, but the excitement and energy was still bubbling. So we headed back to the hotel and grabbed Nathan’s Sony F5 and it’s v-mount batteries. On the suggestion from Elijah Light(co-producer/actor) we bee-lined to the Pinball Museum. Among the relic of games past we shot with P + S Technik’s newest lens until we felt like we had enough of “something.”

P + S Technik’s 1.5X 35-70mm CS Anamorphic Zoom

ZoomThis is not a 1.33x nor a 2.0x anamorphic. Nope. 1.5x all the way. The “CS” in the name stands for CinemaScope. P + S Technik designed this lens to be used with commonly found 16 x 9 digital sensors found on the camera market now. Why the 1.5x? Nathan Thompson, one of the film’s shooters, says “The 1.5x stretch gives bokeh that’s a bit less vertically stretched and pronounced than 2x glass, but it still offers that anamorphic character. Considering that this anamorphic Zoom will size correctly for a 2.35:1 finish on any common 16 by 9 sensor, this becomes an incredibly attractive anamorphic solution.” In the edit, Andy Firkus, and I, found the 1.5x anamorphic footage to be easy to de-squeeze in Adobe Premiere. It was simple and simple is exactly where these things should fall.

Flare

What I loved about the 35-70mm zoom was this: if you wanted flare, you could easily get it; yet the lens flare could be controlled, if so desired. Light sources pointed straight at the lens gave us classic anamorphic flare with nice horizontal streaks. This was not a super clean lens. Nor was the lens clinical with the image it create. The 35-70mm zoom delivered character. “In direct light it flares easily. Multiple sources will give you multiple horizontal streaks that are quite prevalent. From softer sources like fluorescents it gives a more hazy, diffused feel” said Nathan.

T/3.4

ZoomConsidering we were shooting on the Varicam LT and Sony F5, with ISO settings at 800/5000, and 2000 respectively, I felt like the T/3.4 T was not limiting in any way. This was, more or less, a run and gun shoot. No charts were used to test edge softness or vignetting. So, we cannot say, with any amount of weight behind our words, exactly how this lens will respond in different situations. I can say, the shooting was easy and the lighting wasn’t a problem. Nathan had this to offer, “In low light, to my eye the lens did an outstanding job preserving clarity and resolution. From my limited use in a more run and gun scenario, it held up impressively well wide open at all focal lengths. I did not feel restricted from tapping into any of the lenses focal length or t stops. This was a very freeing feeling that allowed me to focus more on what I was shooting and less on avoiding potential problems.”

Focus

According to P + S Technik the closest the 35-70 zoom close focus falls at a respectable 2 meters. In imperial, that’s about 6 feet. When shooting in the Pinball museum, the focus felt like it fell a touch closer to me. Nathan felt the say way, “Close focus on the lens was very workable at around 3 feet, or a bit more. Sometimes I instinctively got too close to subjects and had to back up to find focus, but the zoom range typically got me pretty close to the tight framing I wanted. Ultimately I would want a set of diopters on hand though.”

Wide Zoom

Zoom“On the Panasonic varicam LT, a 16 by 9 sensor, I was able to get both front seats in frame while shooting from the backseat of a mid-sized sedan. Overall the lens is more of a solution for wide to medium coverage, which makes sense considering P+S may have a longer anamorphic zoom on the way soon,” said Nathan. I have to agree with Nathan’s statement here. This is wide zoom. Actually, it felt very wide to me, which I loved. P + S Technik told us to expect a longer lens 1.5x anamorphic zoom to be made in the near future. The two lenses will be a matching pair. I do not know what focal length the longer zoom will be.

Lens Mount

The lens we tested was PL, but on P + S Technik’s website they list three more lens mount options: Sony E-mount, Canon EF-Mount, and Arri PL. These lens mount options are extra and you’ll probably be wise to let P + S Technik change the mount for you. At least, that is my opinion. I could be wrong. It won’t be the first time. For shooters like me, and rental houses, this means you can feel comfortable in investing in the 35-70mm zoom, because you will not be stuck with a single lens mount. Hopefully, changing lens mounts is easier than I imagine.

PS Technik Zoom lens mount options

21,500 EURO

For a brand new lens 21,500 Euro does not seem like a ton, but what do I know. I’m not buying brand new anamorphic zooms just because I want to shoot on one for fun. No, I have near zero experience when it comes to the price of anamorphic zooms. From the research I’ve done, this seems like a reasonable price for a lens mount changeable, easy to shoot solo, 1.5x anamorphic zoom. Yes, you can try to save yourself money by going with older lenses or an adapter on the front of a lens. Both of these options would do you fine, but this lens at this price feels like a steal.

Easy To Shoot

The one big take-away for this strange shoot in Las Vegas was just how damn easy it all turned out. The lens was extremely easy to use just like any other PL lens, and the 1.5x squeeze in the viewfinder didn’t make shooting/composing a chore. The weight of the lens felt great in hand and falls just shy of seven pounds. With a little more kit building we could have had the Varicam LT, or Sony F5, prepped to shoot handheld all day comfortably.

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Lasting Impressions

“Overall, this lens is unquestionably of cinematic caliber. It has beautiful contrast and color rendition, but it isn’t so big that it requires a ridiculous amount of crew or support,” said Nathan. My sentiments exactly. This lens delivered a cinematic image and was easy to use. In many ways, I cannot stop thinking about this lens and its image. Yes, I’ve been producing a short film shot on the lens so editing, story, and sound were top of mind, but I can’t shake this lens away. I was too impressed immediately.

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Who Is P + S Technik?

Founded in 1990 by former ARRI engineers, P + S Technik built a reputation for producing innovative solutions and products to help create high-quality and outstanding images. If you remember the Mini DV days you may remember cameras like the DVX-100 and HVX200 from Panasonic or the XL1 and XLH1 from Canon. If you remember those cameras you likely remember the 35mm lens adapters. These adapters allowed the use of Nikon F, Canon FD, and PL lens on older 1/3 inch chip cameras giving you the 35mm “look.” Well, P + S Technik made one of the better 35mm lens adapters. I used theirs on one of my first music videos. Now, they’re more into the cinema lens side of the business. My buddy Nathan turned to them to rehouse his Vintage Cooke Panchros. They’ll not only rehouse similar lenses for you, but also Leica R, Angenieux, Canon K35, and Kinoptik to name a few.

Making the Short Film

take one 2It was with the help of many that allowed us to shoot what we shot. First, Brian Murie and Take One Film and Video for lending us their Panasonic Varicam LT for one evening. Convergent Design for loaning us an Odyssey 7Q+ because it does a 1.5x de-squeeze. Blue Shape for loaning us two gold mount batteries even if one was not fully charged. Wooden Camera for loaning us a lens support. To your surprise, I’m guessing, we brought it back. Elijah Light, Actor/Co-producer, suggested the locations, Alan Brazzell, Nathan Thompson, and I shot, Andy Firkus edited, and Scott Hallgren did music and sound design. Yours truly saw the randomness of what we shot through to it’s final form.

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Nathan shoots Elijah
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Alan shoots Elijah walking down the row of pinball machines

Adobe Bridge CC: your “free” DAM

Adobe Bridge as a DAM

Although Adobe moved to a subscription model of its programs, one of them is free, or at least it was, last time I looked: Adobe Bridge CC, which can be the heart of your digital asset management. Give it a try.

Launched in April 2005, 11 years ago, Adobe Bridge appeared associated with Adobe Creative Suite 2, as a digital asset management tool or DAM. The initial tool was not perfect, but when Adobe Systems launched the Adobe Creative Suite 3, Adobe Bridge was already a powerful, easy-to-use media manager for visual people, letting you easily organize, browse, locate, and view creative assets. Available in all six editions of Adobe Creative Suite 3 software and all professional Adobe creative applications, Bridge provides centralized access to project files, applications, and settings, as well as XMP metadata tagging and searching capabilities.

Adobe Bridge as a DAM
Adobe Bridge allows users to create their own working spaces according to their preferences

I’ve used Adobe Bridge extensively, especially after stopping using Lightroom, which I used since the early beta days but have dropped a couple of years ago, as I find it faster to use a mix of Bridge, Camera RAW and Photoshop, without the hassle of importing and indexing files. I use Adobe Bridge to import files, both RAW and video, from my cameras, to rename them, individually or in batch. Adobe Bridge allows also to assign colour labels or stars and to select groups of images to edit in Photoshop, besides allowing to search according to multiple criteria.

Years ago I used IMatch, from Photools, but found I did not need all the options that DAM program offered, so I finally settled for Adobe Bridge, which allows me to set keywords and other indexing elements I find are enough for my workflow. So it has been Adobe Bridge for me, all the way up to Adobe Creative Suite 6, which I am still using. I use Adobe Bridge both with Photoshop and in the MiniBridge option with InDesign. It works perfectly for my needs.

Adobe Bridge as a DAM
Adobe Bridge allows to browse and even play video files from your archive

Adobe Bridge was associated with the CS versions and different standalone software from Adobe, so only users of Adobe Systems could use the program, but apparently everything changed once Adobe went for the Creative Cloud. Now it is an optional component downloaded via a Creative Cloud subscription. And from what I experienced, even through a free account you can download it. As there is no time limit to try it, I guess Adobe has decided to allow people to use it for free.

According to information from Adobe Systems, “Adobe Bridge now uses a separate installer, and does not get installed along with other applications. To install Adobe Bridge, you need to download and install it separately. This decoupling from other Adobe apps, enables independent delivery of Adobe Bridge, without depending on other applications for deployment.”

The new page for Bridge CC says that the program “gives you centralized access to all the files and assets you need for your creative projects. Organize personal and team assets, batch edit with ease, add watermarks and even set centralized color preferences — Bridge simplifies your workflow and keeps you organized.”

Adobe Bridge as a DAM
If you try to open a RAW file from a new camera in Adobe Bridge and do not have a recent version of Photoshop you’ll see this warning

The new program is not much different from the old one. Adobe Bridge lets you organize the assets you use to create content for print, web, and video. The program keeps native Adobe files (such as PSD and PDF) and non-Adobe files available for easy access. From within the program it is possible to view, search, sort, filter, manage, and process image, page layout, PDF, and dynamic media files. You can use Adobe Bridge to rename, move, and delete files; edit metadata; rotate images; and run batch commands. You can also view files and data imported from your digital still or video camera.

Users of the Creative Cloud components can also use Bridge, as before, to synchronize color settings across color-managed programs. This synchronization ensures that colors look the same in all Adobe Creative Cloud apps. Those that use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom can open camera raw files from Adobe Bridge and save them. You can edit the images directly in the Camera Raw dialog box without starting Photoshop or Lightroom, and copy settings from one image to another. If you don’t have Photoshop installed, you can still preview the camera raw files in Adobe Bridge.

Adobe Bridge as a DAM
While you an see the thumbnails of your RAW images in Adobe Bridge, they will not open if you do not have the correct Camera RAW version. You need the CC version for recent models of cameras

This “you can”, deserves a special note for those interested into trying Adobe Bridge. If you do not have a subscription to Creative Cloud, but have bought a recently released camera, you might find that you can not open those RAW files in Bridge… simply because there is no association with a program to open them. What this means is that although Adobe Bridge is “free” now, it’s usefulness is somehow limited, especially for photographers with more recent camera models. Even if you own an older version of Photoshop, like CS6, you’ll not be able to open the RAW files from a new camera (unless you use Adobe’s DNG Converter), as Adobe does not update the list of cameras for the older versions of Camera Raw, in hope to make users move into the CC subscription model to be able to open their RAWs.

Still, Adobe Bridge is an interesting DAM solution you may want to explore, now that it is “free”. Find more info on Adobe systems page for the program.

Re-Defining Large Scale Visuals With Sony

Scale

Look at the screen above. One word comes to mind, immersive. This is Sony’s new Crystal LED Integrated Structure (CLEDIS). Where I work we’ve recently put in a large video wall. Like most things we bought what we could afford at the station and it works. Suddenly, while looking at this photo, I realize how “blah” it is. Crap, I hate the feeling. It’s like the feeling of buying a camera only for something better and cheaper to come out a month later.

What you see above is what Sony is calling “a re-definition of large-scale visuals.” These are Sony’s ultra fine LEDs in a unique surface mounting structure as its light source. This delivers visuals not possible with even the best conventional LED array. The new display is designed for any big viewing situation. We’re talking broadcast TV, Sports, Studios, Museums, Theme parks, and just about anywhere realistic simulations on a large scale is needed.

ScaleAccording to Sony, the self-emitting display technology uses R (red), G (green), and B (blue) ultra fine LEDs mounted on the display surface, with each pixel emitting light independently. Each pixel is only 0.003 mm 2 in size, allowing the remaining surface area to be more than 99% black. This all means the screen should have high dynamic range and be viable in bright environments.

Like any good giant screen the angle of view is nearly 180 degrees with complete uniformity across the screen. Both of these features are important features in a jumbo tron. I think it’d be pointless if the seats only in front of the screen were the only seats with a good view. As you guessed, the system is scalable and made of multiple display units (each measuring 18 x 16 inched) which can be seamlessly joined together to great one big, seamless, screen.

One of the benefits of Sony’s new Crystal LED is the ability to achieve fast video response with a frame rate of 120fps with no delay. For something like sports, this is important. No reason to watch motion blur on the screen above the field. Nope, we all want to see how badly the ref missed the call. Where to see this screen? It’ll be made public at InfoComm 2016 (Booth C7708) in Las Vegas, June 8 – 10.

Dell P4317Q: 4 monitors in one

Dell P4317Q

Four monitors. One Display. That’s how Dell presents its new monitor, a 43 inch display designed to increase productivity for specialized users in a single array offering crisp text, graphs and colors.

Dell’s new monitor follows on the steps of the recently presented Philips BDM4350UC. Both monitors enter, when it comes to size, the realm of TV sets, offering working space that allows users to open multiple applications in a single panel. Or, as Dell suggests with this monitor, connect up to four independent clients to a single monitor with customized views, all without bezel breaks, so you can take total command of your tasks.

Dell P4317Q

While this may not be your first choice for photography or video, this monitor points towards a direction we will probably see Dell explore more, also, on their offer for photography and video: massive displays. This unit, though, was designed in conjunction with financial services customers, to give traders a large, crisp viewing experience a 43-inch (108 cm) screen that delivers Ultra HD 4K (4K available when connected to single input, using all connectors except VGA. FHD available when using multiple inputs.) or four separate Full HD resolution screens without the interruption of bezels, as well as a matte finish that reduces glare and strain on eyes. The monitor was also conceived with software developers in mind, as they demand multiple screens for source code reading, something that the P4317Q can offer.

Dell P4317Q

The P4317Q was designed to be energy efficient. By replacing four monitors with a single display, the Dell 43 Multi-Client Monitor provides a 30 percent energy consumption savings, according to Dell. The P4317Q also features dual 8W speakers andio input and headphone output. Priced at $1349.99, the P4317Q offers a 8ms G2G response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 350 cd/m2 brightness, 178/178 viewing angles, 1.06 billion colour depth and standard sRGB gamut W-LED backlight. In terms of connectivity options it offers 1 x DP 1.2, 1 x mDP 1.2, 2 x HDMI 1.4 (MHL), 1 x VGA, 1 x USB 3.0 port – Upstream, 4 x USB 3.0 port and 1 x RS232.

A digest of last week’s photo and video news – Week 21

news digest 21

A digest of last week’s news is a selection of some of the news from week 20 from 2016 related to the worlds of photography and video, covering multiple topics, always rounded up with a reading suggestion.

news digest 21

Canon: a 28-560mm zoom?

While the Canon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM lens, which I used for a while many years ago, is not a lens many are familiar with, the focal length range covered is surely something people envy. Well, Canon now as a patent, it seems, for something even closer to the dream of many: a EF 28-560 f/2.8-5.6, which may be a L, IS, probably also USM, a true dream lens… if weight and size could be kept portable. This may be the problem for such an ambitious patent, but the information, available through the website Egami, is out.

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Sony’s a6000 video overheating solution

If you dare to open your camera, the solution for Sony’s a6000 video recording overheating issues reported by different users may be in your hands. Or you camera may end if you do not follow the tutorial precisely. The solution is from fixedit Youtube channel, and was reported recently by Sony Rumors. The video shows two important aspects of video recording with the Sony a6000: resolving the overheating issue and the 30 minute limit removal tweak. Try at your own risk!

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/page/7/

news digest 21

Olympus E-M1 Mark II with 4K

In 2015 Olympus said that although they recognized users wanted 4K in their cameras, they could not guarantee that the sucessor of the E-M1 would have it, but added that “once the market is ready for it, we will make it”. Well, it seems the time is now, as there are mutiple indications that the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, which be announced at Photokina 2016, will have 4K.

news digest 21

Renewing the EF 70-300mm

The venerable EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, from 2005, may well be about to end its career, as Canon is said to have a new lens that will fill its position. The EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM is, still today, one of the best Canon lenses if you want a light optical system that, while not being L class, will offer you good results at what can be considered a budget price. This is the lens I always pointed people to, when they ask for good quality, less weight and a fair price: this lens costs around $450! This Summer Canon will have a substitute: the new EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. I am curious to see if it is a NANO USM lens, because it would extend the options or video with DSLRs.

news digest 21

40% on all books

Rocky Nook is moving, so they are clearing space before they go. The publisher has a special sale on all its paperbacks, valid until May 24. Users can save 40% with coupon MOVING. The catalog from Rocky Nook includes books on photography from multiple authors, covering a plethora of themes. Check their website, there may be a bargain for you.