Table Manners

We should have listened to the elephant

Several years ago, I was called upon to shoot a commercial at a manufacturer of custom billiard tables in the Midwest. The company had asked their advertising agency to come up with a concept to illustrate the strength of the company’s line of high-end tables. The agency decided, after consulting with the manufacturer’s engineers, that they... Read more

Smoke ’Em If You Got ’Em

Fighting fire with fire isn’t always a good idea

Is fighting fire with fire a good idea? As you’ll see, the answer is, "Not always." Several years ago, I wrote, produced and directed a training video on forest firefighter safety. The program dealt with the many dangers of fighting wildfires on the ground. Shooting a program like this requires the cooperation of active fire service... Read more

On The Wrong Track

Tracking updates, LTO warnings, and judging LED color

TRACKING Q I read with interest your column on tracking and also the information on mocha, and wanted to give tracking a try. I shot some stuff and brought it into my system and was amazed at how it all locked up solid. In the past, I would have never thought it was possible without days of tedious adjustments and flipping back and forth between frames.... Read more
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Lockit Buddy II And Triton FetHead Phantom

Recording external time code, and affordable phantom power

EXTERNAL TIME CODE Q We’re producing a project using five Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLRs. We’ve already produced several projects utilizing two Canon EOS 5D Mark IIs with a Zoom H4n audio recorder. For this upcoming project, we’ll be recording audio using a Sound Devices 664 audio recorder. The Sound Devices recorder has a built-in time-code... Read more

Film Is Dead!

Film Is Dead!

Film is dead! Long live digital! That’s the mantra everyone seems to be spouting these days. Even the most die-hard celluloid lovers admit that even if film isn’t quite dead yet, it’s definitely on life support with digital looking to pull the plug. There’s just one little problem with all of this: The attending physicians (and... Read more

Say, What?

LTO, Part II, and dealing with sync issues

In my last column, I responded to a question about how to archive all of this data we’re capturing and brought up LTO. As promised, here’s a little more about the flavors of LTO. Prior to LTO, archiving technology was spread across a number of competing and proprietary systems. Many of you have heard of DLT. This is a tape-based system,... Read more

Lavs That Cost Less

Setting a new bar in the price-to-performance ratio

Q I’m a sound mixer for an internal media production group at a nonprofit. I have my own gear for when I freelance, but prefer not to use it at work, as my job doesn’t have the budget to pay me to rent my sound gear. My boss has charged me with locating and purchasing four wired lavalier microphone systems, and I’m stumped, as my own... Read more

Getting It White (The First Time)

The importance of proper white balance

At AbelCine, we’re known for our custom scene files and looks. These can be powerful tools for manipulating your image, but oftentimes, getting the best result is all about getting the right white balance in your camera. White balance is one of those adjustments that seems simple but can really make all the difference to your image. I get a variety... Read more

4K In The Mainstream

Is it time?

If you attended NAB this year, you probably thought the 4K conversion already happened. Everywhere you looked was a new 4K camera system, 4K recorder or 4K compatible NLE or workflow solution. In the early ’00s, you probably remember a similar scenario when HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) was being heavily pushed, even though few filmmakers had access... Read more

Exposing Frames

Shutter angles, plus as the big elephant in the room: archival

SHUTTER ANGLES Q I’ve moved to using cameras that have a more cinema background, but I feel a little insecure about setting up for recording. I have a pretty good handle on how I want to set my exposure, but setting the shutter has been a bit confusing. At first, I thought I understood about changing the shutter setting and getting my brain around... Read more

Feeling Blue

Both ends of the USB Blue Microphones spectrum

Q I work at a small production company. We used to rent time at a local sound studio, but my boss has decided he wants to record our voice-over sessions here, so he has charged me with building a super-low budget, but decent-quality VO studio capability. I have a room that’s pretty quiet with decent sound, but I’d like the capability to... Read more

Making The Match

Creating scene files to match camera looks

At AbelCine, we produce many scene files for a variety of cameras, each designed to improve both look and performance. We post these files on our website for anyone to try out, which has resulted in a lot of great feedback and many different questions. The most common question we receive is about matching the look of two different camera models. We... Read more
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