GoPro Goes Cinema

Is an inexpensive 4K camera helpful or hurtful?

A few years ago, a little company with a little consumer camera made the pro video scene. They showed their wares at NAB and placed them in the hands of a few shooters with massive Twitter audiences. Initially, GoPro was seen as a novelty, a cool little tool that delivered good video and nice stills. Since then, GoPro has upped their game by making... Read more

Digital Democracy

The dark side of a level playing field

With just a few dollars, a would-be (or wannabe) filmmaker can purchase a DSLR for less than $1,000 and a program like Final Cut Pro X for $299, and go on to produce a movie that, if good enough, could be seen at your local multiplex. But what if it isn’t good enough for theatrical release? Just as remarkable, a filmmaker now can upload a movie—minutes... Read more

The Right 8 Bits

What’s two bits between friends?

For DSLR shooters, the cool current "must-have" feature is Clean HDMI. When used in conjunction with a digital recorder, cameras like the Nikon D4 and D800, as well as the Panasonic GH2 and a few others, can capture high-quality ProRes files via the cameras’ HDMI output. ProRes is a lossy intermediate codec that gives you a much higher... Read more

Disruptive Tech v2.0

With lower margins, the 99% wins

Many years ago, when I first started attending trade shows like NAB and Cine Gear, you always could count on seeing impressive booths from industry-standard companies like Panavision, Kodak and Apple, as well as pro rental houses displaying massive dollies and cranes. But, for me, like many indie filmmakers, the equipment was out of reach, as well as... Read more

Reality Is Relative

How Rango’s photo-realism is changing the future of movies

Misinformation isn’t always unintentional. As Martin Scorsese’s Hugo made lovingly clear, filmmakers have always been magicians and illusionists, expertly blurring the line between reality and fantasy. But while early audiences naively ducked and scattered at the novel sight of a train thundering toward them on the silver screen, audiences... Read more


Does HDR help take the art away from cinematography?

One of the most difficult tasks for a director of photography is controlling the contrast range between highlights and shadows. This technique usually separates the good cinematographers from the bad, and oftentimes differentiates the look of film versus video since one of the biggest giveaways for video is blown-out highlights. So far this year, the... Read more

New Categories

The RED Scarlet-X vs. the Canon EOS C300

When the RED ONE was released back in 2007 at a price point of $17,500 (body only), it created a whole new market for the production industry. This new market consisted of filmmakers or cinematographers who might not be shooting at the studio level yet, but by owning their own camera package, it gave them an advantage in competing for jobs. RED immediately... Read more

Stream On

The Netflix effect

In the past few years, the world of content distribution has changed as dramatically as the process of content creation. For readers of HDVP, sites like Vimeo and YouTube have allowed indie filmmakers to distribute their short films to a global audience 24/7 in a high-quality HD presentation, along with an online community that provides helpful (or... Read more

Buy, Sell Or Hold?

Has the 3D road run its course?

A few years ago, I attended a 3D conference where DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg delivered a keynote speech in which he declared the latest incarnation of digital 3D to be as revolutionary to motion pictures as the advent of sound and color. Whether or not you agree with this viewpoint, one thing for sure is that 3D HD has come a long way... Read more

The Death Of The HD DSLR?

Not a chance!

In the past few issues of HDVP, we’ve showcased the latest large-sensor camcorders that many experts are calling HD DSLR killers. Camcorders like the Panasonic AG-AF100 and Sony NEX-FS100U contain large-sized CMOS sensors like HD DSLRs, but unlike them, they contain professional LCD/viewfinders for monitoring and can record pro-quality sound,... Read more

The Director Of Sound

For indie film, sound is usually the first department that’s overlooked

It’s perhaps surprising how often sound management is overlooked during independent and low-budget productions. Of course, if the funding and/or head count is limited, then a designated director of sound (DS)—the audio equivalent of the more familiar director of photography or cinematographer, who oversees lighting and camera—seems like an inevitable... Read more

Keep It In Neutral

Are variable ND filters the best solution for movies?

“With great power comes great responsibility,” said Ben Parker to his nephew Peter Parker, aka SpiderMan. This often-quoted line also can be attributed to the current slate of large CMOS sensors being implemented in the latest HD DSLR cameras. Even though we have these big sensors that can capture cinematic-looking images, there are new technical... Read more