YouTube Goes Widescreen

If you visit YouTube often you might have noticed something new recently, the most popular video sharing site on the planet has (finally) gone widescreen 16x9 aspect ratio.

As all HD cameras shoot 16x9 this only makes sense. Also, most of the newer sites Out There such as or, etc are widescreen too. And even some of the ones that have been around a while like Blip.TV and Vimeo are widescreen (and this made them more popular with filmmakers and film fans).

YouTube still accepts 4x3 video - it just letterboxes it with side bars. This is what it's doing with all the legacy video on the site as well, including the entire first season of "Pink". Although we shot "Pink" Season 1 the exact same way as Season 2, we uploaded to YouTube and other places in a 4x3 letterboxed file (per their instructions at that time). So all those earlier episodes play back fine, but not full widescreen like the new content.

Here's a link to the most recent episode of "Pink" in widescreen:

And here's the embed:

Notice the embeded video is still 4x3 letterboxed. It doesn't appear they allow widescreen embeds yet - or maybe they're using it to drive traffic to their site? A good idea if so.

Another cool thing is you can select the "Watch in High Quality" link on the bottom right below the video box (on YouTube only, not embedded video). It takes a tad bit longer to download, but the resolution looks twice as good. BTW, it is NOT HD though. It is downconverted to an SD resolution, but it still looks very good.

(To see "Pink" in HD the only current way is on And we are also putting some sample HD episodes on Vimeo as well.)

In a small, weird way this is similar to re-watching your favorite movies in Blu-Ray. I just re-watched "Pink" Season 2 in widescreen (and in High Quality mode) on YouTube and it was a much better viewing experience (one note too: you can also click the "full screen" button and watch that way and it looks pretty darn good).

Sooner than later most online video will be 720p HD, but for now at least YouTube and other sites are taking steps to make the current viewing experience the best it can be.

UPDATE: Since I posted this you can now actually embed the widescreen videos. Here's the same episode above, but in widescreen (although this blog layout is narrow and slightly crops the right side off):

UPDATE #2: It now appears (12/11/08) that you CAN WATCH HD VIDEO on YouTube. Very interesting... this could really be BIG.


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I spoke on a panel at the Lonestar International Film Festival last weekend, and so did my friend Julio Cedillo - and he was kind enough to share a few pictures...

That's him on the far right, along with Lauren VĂ©lez from "Dexter" and I'm not sure who the guy is - at the bottom is Kim Matula, star of "PINK" Season 2 and my upcoming show "Exposed".

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PINK on Vimeo

Filmmakers out there likely know about, but others may not. It's a really cool video sharing site that allows HD uploads - one of the only ones I know of with this feature (you can also embed the video files on other sites). The viewership on Vimeo seems to mainly be other like-minded filmmakers and artists, etc. - not necessarily "regular video joes", but they have around 1 million registered users I've been told (a fraction compared to YouTube). But nonetheless it is a great place to see creative works and get feeback on your own stuff.

I've held off putting PINK on there since we've been releasing our HD content through But I've decided to go ahead and put a few episodes on Vimeo as "samples" of the series - and to showcase what can be done with the great filmmaking tools we're using (ie. Canon XH-A1 camera, Canon HV20 camera, Letus Extreme 35mm adapter, etc.).

You can check it out here:

Or the show is also on the Vimeo HV20 page (thanks Eugenia):

Again, it is in an HD Flash player, which is very cool. You can play it fullscreen or even embed it on your website, blog, etc. like this:

PINK 2: Daddy's Little Girl from Blake Calhoun on Vimeo.


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PINK 19: The Professional

Check out the latest episode (and the mysterious person from Nate's past who appears this week)...

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2nd Annual Lone Star Film Festival

I've been asked to speak on a few panels at this year's event (I did it last year too and it was a good time). Also, they asked me to be a juror for their Short Film Competition, which I accepted. Here's a press release about the upcoming festival...


Opening Night is just 5 days away!

ON SALE NOW: Tickets and Passes for ALL screenings!


Opening Night Screening

The Second Annual Lone Star International Film Festival will open on Wednesday, November 12 at 7:30pm with a red carpet screening of:

"Sunshine Cleaning"
Directed by Kristine Jeffs
Starring Amy Adams
(All principal cast)

Directed by Christine Jeffs, SUNSHINE CLEANING revolves around a single mom and her slacker sister as they find an unexpected way to turn their lives around. Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams), a former high school cheerleading captain, finds herself, at thirty-something, a single mother working as a maid. Desperate to get her son into a better school, Rose persuades her sister Norah to go into the lucrative crime scene clean-up business with her. In no time, the girls are up to their elbows in murders, suicides and other…situations. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Sunshine Cleaning is a glittering tale of loss in which Adam’s gleaming lead performance and Christine Jeff’s astute attention to detail create a genuine world in which Megan Holley’s sincere and carefully paced story plays out.

Centerpiece Screenings

"Shades of Ray"
Directed by Jaffar Mahmood
Starring Zachary Levi, Kathy Baker, and Bonnie Somerville

Thursday, November 13 at 8:00pm

AMC Palace 2

American-born Ray Rehman comes home one night to find his Pakistani father on his L.A. doorstep; his Caucasian mother in NJ threw him out. Ray just proposed to his girlfriend—whose promised him an answer in a week and his traditionalist father insists that he meet a Sana, a Pakistani girl - just to consider – or he won’t begin talks to work things out with Ray’s mother. Sana turns out to be of mixed descent, like him, and marriage on his mind, questions about his identity and love come into question. Mahmood’s first feature is a charming mix of comedy and pathos, with a fantastic performance by lead Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck).

Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
Starring Sergei Makovetsky, Nikita Mikhalkov, Sergei Garmash, Alexei Petrenko

November 14 at 7:30pm

AMC Palace 2

In the war-torn republic of Chechnya , a room full of jurors divided by racism and prejudice must decide the fate of a Chechen teenager accused of murdering his Russian stepfather. Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov’s 12, a loose remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1957 film 12 Angry Men, corrals a racist taxi-driver, a suspicious doctor, a vacillating TV producer, a Holocaust survivor, a flamboyant musician, a cemetery manager, and other characters representative of modern day Russia’s fragmented society. Amidst volatile struggles, the group must render a unanimous verdict as the battle between Chechens and Russians flares outside and a stray bird, symbolizing tolerance, flies above the jurors' heads. 12, the 2008 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language film from Russia was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2007 Venice Film Festival where Mikhalkov was awarded a special Golden Lion for his overall body of work. The film also took home the Audience Award at the 2008 Karlovy Vary film festival in the Czech Republic as well as a Golden Amvrosi at the Milano film festival. Mikhalkov received the 1994 Oscar for Best Foreign Film for his film, "Burnt by the Sun," about the repression of the Stalin-era.

Closing Night Screening

"Last Chance Harvey"
Directed by Joel Hopkins
Starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson

Saturday, November 15 at 7:30pm

AMC Palace 2

New Yorker Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman), a struggling jingle writer given one last chance to deliver by his boss, leaves for his daughter’s wedding in London on threat of getting fired if he’s not back for a Monday morning meeting. He arrives to learn that he she wants her stepfather (James Brolin), not him, to walk her down the aisle. Crestfallen, he leaves before the reception to make his flight but somehow misses it. He calls his boss to explain and is fired on the spot. Next stop…airport bar, where Harvey meets Kate (Emma Thompson), a British government worker subject to endless phone calls from her mother and occasional dreadful blind dates. Kate, whose life is limited to work, the occasional blind date and endless phone calls from her smothering mother (Eileen Atkins). Touched by Harvey , who finds himself energized by her intelligence and compassion.The growing connection between the pair inspires both as they unexpectedly transform one another’s lives. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Sunshine Cleaning is a glittering tale of loss in which Adam’s gleaming lead performance and Christine Jeff’s astute attention to detail create a genuine world in which Megan Holley’s sincere and carefully paced story plays out.
To browse all films and purchase individual screening tickets and festival passes


From now throughout the festival, keep an eye out for daily updates featuring different parts of our film program and other special events.

Starting November 10, come visit us at our temporary Sundance Square office at Norris Conference Center:

304 Houston Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102

For more information, visit

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Locking HDMI Cables

This is more of a techie related item, but good for Regular Joes to know too. :)

HDMI cables are becoming the standard for HDTV's and consumer/prosumer cameras. Shoot some video and play it back in HD via an HDMI cable. Or, hook up a Blu-Ray player or gaming system via HDMI.

Problem with the cables though is they just "slip in" the connector. They do not lock in place even like an RCA cable does, or especially like a BNC cable (HD/SDI).

I have personally experienced this being a problem. My DirecTV box occasionally goes in and out due to the cable coming loose (mainly from our cat getting behind the components and crawling around). We routinely have to move the gear and push the cable back into place.

But not anymore. Finally there's a "locking" HDMI cable available.

Click here to check it out

May seem trivial, but really this is a great product for consumers as well as video professionals. It will likely become the standard in the future.


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Growing Old at 24fps

Very cool music video for Low Vs. Diamond and the song "Heart Attack"...

It's mainly a "single shot" of two people kissing and then rapidly aging. Seamless visual effect work.

There's a link on the page to watch video, then you can read article about how they did it.


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PINK 18: Knockin' On Heaven's Door

New episode...

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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and And speaking of, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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