Baked Goods

Fixing it in post isn’t always your best option, especially with H.264

“Let’s just fix it in post” is a statement often heard on sets these days. With nearly all 35mm films going to DI and most high-end digital systems capturing in RAW, a cinematographer will take the occasional shortcut, knowing full well that he or she can make fine adjustments in post. But what if you’re shooting with a non-RAW codec or a highly... Read more

Running A Temperature?

Correcting the color temperature of your on-set monitors

Q I recently worked on a project where I had to deal with monitors that were in the shot. We originally wanted to create some content to play on the monitors. The alternative of tracking footage in later seemed beyond the time frame allotted for the edit and well beyond the budget. Everything was created and then we got to the location and immediately... Read more

Fix It In Post, Part Two

A list of third-party audio-repair solutions that can improve your sound

Fix It In Post, Part Two
iZotope RX is an advanced audio-repair application that includes Hum Removal, Declipper, Declicker, Denoiser, Spectral Repair and Advanced Spectrogram. Q How can you fix noisy audio in post? We were shooting intros for a television show, and the building that we were shooting in had air-conditioning that couldn’t be turned off; it was one single... Read more

Image Control

An introduction to waveform monitors and why they’re essential

Myth: Once you have a waveform, you’re safe. NOT! In past issues, I’ve talked about luma signals (the brightness component of electronic images) and color-difference components (the color information without the brightness—a strange concept for many of us). I’ve mentioned the transcoding equations that allow us to convert between the red, green... Read more


As a filmmaker concerned with sound quality, I’m looking to buy a good, all-purpose shotgun microphone.

Q As a filmmaker concerned with sound quality, I’m looking to buy a good, all-purpose shotgun microphone. I don’t mind spending some money, but I can’t afford the top of the line. What should I look for, and what are your suggestions for the best value? Andrea W. Via e-mail A I’ve been using and reviewing shotgun and cardioid-variant... Read more

Clean Machine

Does it take a big machine to play back live HD?

In my last column, I described the process of getting clips in many different formats onto a single timeline for playback in a live show. The event was an awards presentation for a film festival and involved live announcers, playback of the above-mentioned clips, static graphics and previously edited segments. In the past, I’ve used a multiprocessor... Read more


Since the days of analog vidoe, metadata has come a long way

Myth: Metadata is a new concept. In today’s digital video world, video data and sometimes audio data are necessary elements of a video clip, but many other pieces of information can make that clip more useful, easier to manipulate, and ultimately, more valuable over the life of the clip. Every collected piece of video data has a useful life; sometimes... Read more


Can most common hard drives handle high-def?

Q What’s going on with storage, and when is it going to get better? It seems like with high definition, the drives that I can get just won’t be able to run fast enough to let me watch my edit. Drives seem to be getting bigger capacities, but they don’t really get faster, in my mind. How can I get my storage to handle HD? Chris C. Via... Read more

The Submission Process

Formats can get tricky for a film festival Technical Director

Every two years, I get the chance to survey the world of high-definition formats from a very practical perspective. I’m the Technical Director of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and our festival receives entries for awards from all over the world. Most of the judging is done using DVD submittals, so those are limited to NTSC and PAL DVD video... Read more

Just Checking?

Many standards to choose from

Q In a previous issue, you were talking about color bars and laying them down on a master tape. I’ve been working at a place that has been getting a lot of different tapes in, and it seems like each one has a different flavor of bars and tone at the beginning of the tape. Aren’t color bars just for setting up machines? Why so many? Stephen... Read more