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 Simple

RØDE’s VideoMic Pro, and recording live events

RØDE TO THE RESCUE Q Like many people this year, I succumbed to the DSLR craze and purchased a new Canon EOS 7D. The built-in mic sounds terrible so I need an on-camera microphone, but I would rather keep it simple and not have to also buy and carry around a mixer or microphone interface. Any recommendations? Gerald P. Via e-mail A One challenge... Read more

What Happens On XDCam

I was working as an Avid editor for entertainment news in Los Angeles.

What Happens On XDCam
For a volatile movie star, it’s just not possible to cue back the tape when shooting on XDCAM. I was working as an Avid editor for entertainment news in Los Angeles. One day, the edit suite was slow, so I was helping the crew set up for a celebrity interview in our studio. We had just switched over from shooting on Betacam SP to the new Sony XDCAM... Read more
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Like A Rolling Stone

Is rolling shutter a deal-breaker?

Rolling Shutter Q Okay, I keep hearing about rolling shutter this and rolling shutter that, and how bad it is. You shouldn’t be using this camera because it’s CMOS and you’re not going to be happy with the results. I’m a little confused because, if it’s so bad, why are people still using these cameras? It seems to me that... 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

Plug And Play

Sound Devices’ USBPre 2 is a high-resolution, portable hardware interface

Q I need to do some location recording, and I also want to record a few voice-over sessions with my laptop. There are a lot of different outboard devices for routing microphones and digital sources into your computer on the market. Which model do you recommend, and why? Alicia S. Via e-mail A The market does seem to be somewhat flooded with various... Read more

My Wife’s First Infomercial

About a year ago, the cosmetics company my wife was working for wanted to produce an infomercial.

My Wife’s First Infomercial
About a year ago, the cosmetics company my wife was working for wanted to produce an infomercial, and she was put in charge of the project (due in part to the fact that her husband works for a large photo studio). They hired the best infomercial producer on the West Coast, who also came with a hefty price tag. When his team came over to see the unfinished... Read more

Clean Pictures

What are native ISOs, and do they really exist?

A topic that’s frequently being discussed on HD DSLR blogs and workshops is native ISOs. In photography, ISO is the current standard for measuring film speed, and it’s drawn from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). For digital camera systems, a color image file will assign an ISO setting that will have the same light value... Read more

Just The Facts

Is the Internet the best place to get your information?

This month’s column is a continuation of my last Video Assist column. In case you missed it, I was talking about how I’ve often been asked where to find accurate information in our industry. I gave an example from an online article that otherwise had a lot of good (and accurate) information. The article stated (and I’m paraphrasing),... Read more

To Light Or Not To Light

That is the question

As have cameras, lighting gear and techniques have changed through-out the history of moviemaking. In the silent days of cinema, cinematographers rolled extremely slow film stocks on large hand-cranked movie cameras. To light interior scenes, the crew had to make do with gigantic arc lamps that took more than one person to move and could easily fry... Read more