Well Said, Mr. Street

A good commentary about the Streamys and the IAWTV issues from a veteran web video creator, Tim Street:

Someone from old media once asked me, “Who do these guys think they are?” “Who gave them permission to do that?” I said, “It’s web video, you don’t have to ask permission, you just go do it.”

Read his blog post here...
http://1timstreet.com/blog/the-web-video-community/

-Blake

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FreshDV RED Interviews

Very nice interviews from FreshDV with Ted Schilowitz

Part One:
freshdvnab10_RED_Discussion1

Direct link:
http://www.freshdv.com/2010/04/freshdv-nab-2010-red_pt1.html

And Part Two is here:
http://www.freshdv.com/nab
(scroll down to "A REDtrospective Part 2)

-Blake

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Jag35.com and DSLR Stuff

Jag35.com sells some pretty cool gadgets for you DSLR video shooters out there... check out their monitors and cage, etc.

DSLR Cage Monitor Mounting from jehu Garcia on Vimeo.

Direct video link: http://vimeo.com/11121194

-Blake

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FOX's "House" Season Finale Shot on Canon 5D


If you follow the DSLR news you likely know that the recent BIG NEWS was that the season finale of the FOX network show "House" was shot on the Canon 5D. This really is incredible when you think about it.... I mean, a network show can shoot on pretty much ANYTHING they want, including 35mm film - although that is becoming a rarity.

Anyway, as usual, DP Philip Bloom has done a great job of following this and actually scored an interview with the Executive Producer/Director of the show.

Here's a link to his blog with info on the shoot, and also a link to the audio from the interview. Well worth checking out...

http://philipbloom.co.uk/2010/04/19/in-depth-interview-with-executive-producer-and-director-of-house-season-finale-shot-on-canon-5dmkii/

-Blake

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What Do TV Directors Do?

Great article on the difference between TV directors and Movie directors...

http://www.slate.com/id/2250789/pagenum/all/

-Blake

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Avid Media Composer V5

A lot of great announcements at NAB including Avid's latest Media Composer version 5... This is a HUGE upgrade. If you haven't heard here's a list of the new features...

-Directly access and edit RED files through AMA, without transcoding (images are scaled to HD frame size)
-Work natively with QuickTime video formats, including Apple ProRes and H.264
-Edit video and audio by dragging and dropping elements in the timeline
-Keep high-end finishing projects in-house and gain great color precision with HD-RGB support (including dual-link I/O -support with Nitris DX systems)
-Monitor video externally with support for the Matrox MXO2 Mini
-Mix and match frame sizes and aspect ratios — in addition to formats, frame rates, and resolutions — in the same timeline
-Take a break during long renders and have your system email you when the job’s done
-Import AVCHD files directly from cameras and other devices
-Capture to and edit XDCAM HD and DVC PRO HD formats from baseband without additional hardware
-Access low-res XDCAM proxies for offline work, with full-quality audio
-Import text-based ancillary data and embed it in the video signal with the new “Data Track” and SMPTE 436M support using Nitris DX- and Mojo DX-based systems
-View stereo audio tracks as single channels in the timeline for easier handling
-Create high-quality sounds and mixes with support for RTAS audio processing plug-ins
-Natively access and edit 4:2:2 MPEG-2 media from the new Canon cameras using AMA
-Work Directly with RED Using the Newly Improved AMA

With Media Composer 5, AMA (Avid Media Access) has been completely reengineered, so you can work natively with more file-based media formats now and in the future. With the new and improved AMA, you can speed up RED workflows by directly accessing RED files (.R3D) in Media Composer without having to prepare them through MetaFuze (all footage is scaled to HD frame size). Plus, you have access to its full metadata and color management data too.

Edit QuickTime Formats Natively
Get native access to all popular QuickTime formats, with full access to clip metadata. Thanks to AMA, you can natively access and edit any movie that can be played in Apple’s QuickTime Player (including Apple ProRes and .mov files captured by Canon 5D and 7D cameras) right in Media Composer — no transcoding, rewrapping, or logging and transferring required.

Drag and Drop Video and Audio to Edit
Get comfortable — with Media Composer 5, you can truly edit the way you like. In addition to the standard way of editing, you can also now directly manipulate elements in the timeline to edit video and audio. Drag and drop clips anywhere you want on the timeline to rearrange sequences. And grab a clip’s in or out point and drag to trim a scene, dialog, or music.

Get Full-Quality HD-RGB Processing
Keep those finishing jobs in house, and deliver the highest quality color and effects work, with support for full-quality 4:4:4 HD-RGB color space processing in Media Composer. With the higher resolution detail, you can perform color correction, keying, and effects work with greater precision and ease. And if you have a Nitris DX-based system, you can digitize, process, monitor, and output (output in Symphony systems only) projects in HD-RGB, using the two HD SDI connections to handle the high-bandwidth resolutions.

Monitor Video Externally through Matrox MXO2 Mini
If you don’t have a Nitris DX- or Mojo DX-based system, Media Composer 5 opens the door to third-party workflows, enabling you to monitor video externally using the Matrox MXO2 Mini interface, which is available for Mac and Windows systems. When paired with Media Composer software, MXO2 Mini becomes a dedicated, high-quality monitor-only solution for file-based or workgroup production, so you can view your video work in real time without any major expense.

And here's a short article on that new low cost 3rd Party HD monitoring solution from Matrox...
http://www.studiodaily.com/main/news/prc/12140.html

Very cool stuff.

-Blake

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Kevin Smith and the 2nd Annual Streamy Awards

One word describes last night's Streamy Awards ceremony... Sad.

If you don't know what I'm talking about read this first:
http://www.webseriestoday.com/2010/04/streamys-2010.html

These folks do a good job of describing it.

So here's my take...

I didn't mind that there were tech issues - that happens (although it was ironic that the tech issues started during the Craft Award videos). I didn't mind the poorly written jokes - again, that happens with most awards shows. What I did mind was the overall tone and sloppiness of the presentation.

The Streamys are supposed to celebrate the best in Web TV, but last night (pretty much) the entire show was dedicated to demeaning it (I'm not talking about the actual awards or the winners of course - I'm talking bout the comedy bits and a lot of the presenters). Now don't get me wrong, I love a little self-deprecation. Making fun of yourself or your place in the world is fine. I joke all the time about being the "red-headed step-child" of the TV industry. But to keep that up for almost the entire show was just too much.

I was also very surprised at the amounts of sex references, sex jokes and just plain vulgarity throughout the entire production (and I'm not even talking about the two streakers - which was, um, yeah..). And trust me, I'm not a prude.

Web video already has a stigma of being dumbed down, vulgar, pornographic, etc. and the Streamys played right into that stereotype. This was a huge mistake in my opinion, and why in the world the very smart guys at Tubefilter (and I do mean that sincerely) would approve the various comedy bits, etc. is beyond me. Not to mention that there were entirely too many acts/bits and they were all waaaaaay too long. They should know better. They work in the world of web video where most entire episodes are 3 to 10 mins total. Some of these bits were that long or more. Btw, some of them were very funny. I laughed a lot (early on more so than later admittedly). But each and every bit could have been cut in half and they could have easily lost a third of them.

The final main thing for me was the sloppiness in the presentation. If we (the Web TV industry) really want to be taken seriously I think the industry's most prestigious (or supposed to be) awards show should reflect that. I actually thought last year's show did for the most part, but this year was a big setback.

The video playback tech issues (forgivable, but still..), the sound issues, NOT HAVING A VIDEO SCREEN in the theater so us in the "cheap seats" could see what was going on (on stage and in the front rows), the general pacing of voice overs and host coming on and off stage, SECURITY (how many times did people crash the stage??), the lame 3D Streamys animated nominee intros (this is subjective of course, but I thought the animation looked comedic, like it was from 1997 - it was not contemporary at all), and the list goes on. But all these "little things" really add up to one big mess.

So this is why I'm sad.

I want the Streamys to be successful (heck, I'm an IAWTV member and I won a Streamy last year for Best Direction in a Dramatic Web Series for 'Pink'). I want the Web TV industry to be successful. I want sponsors and financiers and distributors and our audiences to take the industry seriously. And I know the Streamy Awards and the Tubefilter guys do too.

So I liken this misstep to Kevin Smith's early movie career. He made 'Clerks'. Was a big hit. Went out and made 'Mallrats' next. Was a huge flop. But then he made 'Chasing Amy'...

Let's hope next year's Streamy Awards is our 'Chasing Amy' (without all the dick jokes of course). :)

-Blake

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Canon's New Cameras


I personally own a Canon XH-A1 HDV camera and have been very happy with it over the last 3 years. We actually shot two of my web series, PINK and EXPOSED on it with a Letus DOF adapter. So when I heard about the release of the next generation of this camera I was intrigued.

The new version is called the XF300 (and XF305). They are tapeless cameras, which was expected, but what I was surprised about was they will shoot in the 4:2:2 color space at 50Mbps and onto standard (cost-effective) CF cards. Unlike the Panasonic HVX and the Sony EX series, Canon has chosen to go with the ubiquitous recording media, which I am very happy to hear. The Sony SxS cards and Panasonic's P2 cards are great, but they're also very expensive (yeah, still) costing upwards of $1000 or more depending on size (some smaller capacity cards are cheaper).

The Canon actually uses the same kind of cards my Canon 7D DSLR camera uses, which is pretty cool (and pretty interesting...). I wonder if Canon will "blend" this line of cameras with it's DSLR cameras in the future? This new XF300 uses 1/3" CMOS chips now (three of them instead of the one used in the DSLR), so why not give it one big one like the 7D or the 5D? Talk about a great camera! But I digress...

The new Canon XF cameras will be on display at NAB next week and available to buy in June. I'm not quite ready to get a new camera this summer, but come this fall I'll likely be an owner of one of these (btw, not to use instead of the 7D - which I love - but to use on corporate and commercial jobs that require more of an ENG or "run and gun" style of shooting).

Read more about the camera here...
http://www.studiodaily.com/blog/?p=2998

-Blake

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New Blog Look

I'm trying out some new looks, so this is a test and also to let folks know that it's a work-in-progress. :) Thanks!

UPDATE: For some reason my Date Badges aren't updating, so sorry for the sloppy look, but I am working on it...

UPDATE #2: Okay, the Badge dates appear to be working now... cool!

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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 TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, 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 JTS.tv - 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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