Creative Storytelling in web, iOS, and Film

Film Studio

Run and Gun Test of the Panasonic DVX-200 Camera

By on Aug 10, 2015 in Blog, Film Studio |

Unlike some production firms, we shoot so often that having our own gear in-house is essential. The evolution from HD to 4K is nearly complete in our studio, except for a run and gun 4K camera. To that end, we’re excited to be testing the DVX 200 camera from Panasonic. It will be released in the summer of 2015, and we’re looking forward to comparing this camera to our already remarkable D-SLR, the Panasonic G4. OVERALL IMPRESSION I won’t mince words. This is going to be a killer camera. There’s no doubt that once an operator learns all of the ins and outs, the amount of control, image capability, and flexibility relative to the integration of software, glass, and form factor will lend itself to gorgeous productions. My only regret is not having two more days to learn how to use some of its capabilities and to fine tune it. TESTING PROCESS Our perspective was to test this as a tool for documentary work. We did not conduct portrait interviews, cinema style shots, or television production capture. Both Cameron and I used the camera as a run and gun documentary media capture device. The objective was to see what types of content we could grab using a minimal amount of gear. That meant limiting ourselves to the following: DVX-200 Camera Sachtler tripod Shotgun mic Compared to using a DSLR, this is like being used to running in cowboy boots and suddenly switching to Nike runner’s shoes. Frankly, throughout the entire testing process, we were reminded of how much we’d forgotten about using this type of camera. ISSUES TO CONSIDER: Let’s start with the things that were not so great. 1. A very important function for documentary and cinema camera operators is the ability to run with the camera, with the camera facing to the back, and the camera viewfinder facing forward. To get the image properly, when the viewfinder is flipped over, the image should flip over. Currently, it doesn’t. This is a drawback for multiple types of uses and it would be terrific if in the future, this function could be implemented into the camera. 2. This may have been operator error (due to lack of time), but...

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JVC GY-LS300 Camera — Is it a Solid 4K Solution for Run and Gun?

By on Aug 3, 2015 in Blog, Film Studio |

We’re making the migration to 4K. HD video is terrific, and we’ve had great success with it for many years now. Today, 4K is not a fad. It’s not up and coming. It’s the future and it’s present. Today. So, we’ve been testing, shooting, reading, and doing the things most people do when they’re looking for a new bit of kit. Thanks to the terrific people at EVS in Burbank (and the very eager to please folks at JVC), I was given the opportunity to spend a week with the new JVC GY-LS300 camera. As I was traveling up the coast for meetings related to our iOS Studio, I figured I’d take it with me, shoot some stuff, and let EVS and JVC know what I thought. If we spin the throw-back-lifetime wheel, I used to do a lot of product reviews. NAB, NAMM, CES, and multiple auto shows were the core of my collaborations, and it was great fun to check out a product before it reached the marketplace. For the last decade, testing gear had fallen off my radar – too busy with productions, deliverables, and clients. But now that we’re seeking real world answers to help us create better looking video for our clients, testing is once again hugely important. The first thing I should share is that we don’t test like many reviewers do. There are plenty of reviews that go over the specs, the accuracy of those specs, etc. What most of those reviews don’t do is create real projects. Our testing is based on using the product (whatever it is) in the manner in which we’re seeking to solve a problem. In this case, it’s a run and gun 4K video camera. After reading other people’s reviews, it seemed as if JVC’s latest jump into the indie pro-camera market would be a huge hit. The specifications as noted are amazing. Really way beyond what one might have anticipated just a few months ago for a camera with a list price under $4,000.00. Some of those key specs include: Full size video camera body – quite different from a DSLR Micro 4/3 lens design, with interchangeable lenses Full s35mm sensor – and software that...

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Introducing R/com Studios

By on Jun 12, 2015 in Consulting, Film Studio, iOS Studio, Web Studio |

We’re making some changes that will help us better collaborate with you. R/com Creative is now officially R/com Studios. The change allows us to focus more clearly on our mission – creative content development. There are three studios to choose from: Film Studio – Our creative film projects originate here. Many of our projects are shown in festivals and much of that work is awarded metal to show off to friends and clients. Personally, I think they should give us piñatas. At least we could fill those with candy and have our friends and clients smash ’em to bits. Cheaper, too. iOS Studio – Our team is busy at work creating interesting business related apps for the iPad and iPhone. We’re focusing on the specific market that is iOS, but who knows what we might add in the future. Web Studio – We’re working on several new projects that could be very useful for you. That includes a heavily revised Content Management System (CMS), updated survey app, and cloud based emergency services solutions. We’re going to talk about gear, production process, our work, and how all of that ties together to develop better stories for our clients and the market into which they reach. We’re also going to “let our hair down,” so to speak – and engage a bit more of our opinion in some of our blog postings. As an example, one of the key projects underway at R/com Studios is completing the migration from HD to 4K video. The emergence of 4K is more than a fad – it’s the future, and the future is present. As we look for tools to complete that migration, we’ll share our experiences and opinions with you – as our clients and co-collaborators, hopefully our experiences will help define our skill set, what we believe in, and how we can create solutions that mean something – both for you and your market. So check back often. See what we’re up to and share your thoughts and opinions. When you need anything within the creative sphere, give us a call. We’re ready to...

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When Is 4K Video Essential?

By on Feb 24, 2015 in Blog, Film Studio |

As the world of 4K video production has evolved during the past two years, interest in the format has grown substantially – and we’re often asked, when is 4K video essential? Producing 4K video in 2015 isn’t as a challenging proposition. At the same time, there is a reasonable argument that in many cases, there is no benefit or reason to move to 4K. We’re going to discuss this from the viewpoint of a producer – because that’s what we do. We create content. Without question, our productions are viewed by our clients as “quality” pieces. Our work continues to win awards. And, we have yet to release a product that was shot and edited in 4K. Why Consider 4K at All? There are many possible answers to this question and a core response would be that 4K will future-proof your productions. In 2013, 4K was a novelty, and during the past year, some good content has started to appear. Today, you can purchase a 4K TV for under $800, so the price is now reasonable as well. 4K cameras can be purchased for less than $500, so equipment is coming widely available as well.  So, even though HD is gorgeous, if you want to consider longevity of products and equipment, 4K is becoming the standard for “new” equipment purchases. A number of people will want to stay at the leading edge of the technology curve. This isn’t ego-driven, either. If you’ve worked with HD for awhile – and more importantly if you worked in SD format and upgraded to HD, you already know how important a shift like this is. Getting in early and adjusting to the new workflow, rather than putting it off and falling behind is often the preferred route, especially considering there isn’t an huge price barrier involved. Besides, with 4K equipment, you can capture your footage in ultra-high resolution, and deliver in HD. You gain the ability to produce in multiple formats, and you don’t give up any functionality in the process. Creative Benefits There are also creative benefits involved with shooting in 4K for projects that you plan to deliver only in HD. A 4K image is four times larger than a 1080p image. This gives you the option...

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Going Back in Time With Apple and the Mac

Going Back in Time With Apple and the Mac

By on Dec 22, 2012 in Blog, Consulting, Film Studio | 1 comment

Let’s turn on the way-back machine… There was a time when digital media was a new and untested environment with computers. Today, you can grab 1080p HD video with your phone, edit it in your phone, and have it broadcast on CNN within hours. Back in the rusty ole 1990s, things were not quite as simple. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a fun period of time. It was awesome. During 1995, we were actively collaborating with Apple, Radius, Adobe, Panasonic, Sony, and other firms to create a digital video environment on the desktop. Although long gone, I started to use the term, “desktop video” in 1988, when my publishing company, Aegis Development was first creating 3D animation software for the motion picture industry. During this period, we had re-introduced Apple to NAB, and we were bringing them back to SIGGRAPH as well. We produced the entire shows during that time period, and it was a remarkable series of steps that while rocky, proved that digital video was the future. I was just ending my time as a sometime racing driver, and my collaboration with my team always included motion, music, and graphics. Apple wanted to highlight a “bundled” solution named after Star Trek (the Piccard bundle) in their return to SIGGRAPH. So, we created a really fun music video for them. We shot the piece using Panasonic cameras. We captured the video using a prototype of a new product we were involved with designing and marketing – Radius VideoVision Telecast. We edited the video using Adobe Premiere (I think it was V3-Beta something). The music was authored by my guitar-playin’ fun lovin’ collaborator Stephen Recker. We collaborated on the arrangement – and it was recorded in a nice little studio in North Hollywood. It was a blast to put the piece together – and you should have seen people’s jaws drop when we launched the piece at that year’s SIGGRAPH show. Design elements evolved from our design team and the remarkable Harry Marks, and trade show management by Carolyn Goates added up to a huge win. We still do that type of thing, by the way… We just do it with things like GoPro cameras, Adobe Premiere...

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Remembering 911

Remembering 911

By on Sep 11, 2012 in Blog, Consulting, Film Studio |

As we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we’d like to present you with two videos that may help bring some of the aftermath into perspective. Within hours of the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, a cadre of Los Angeles Firefighters (as part of FEMA CA-TF1) were headed to New York. Within a few days, a separate group of LAFD members made their way east at their own expense – and both groups spent time assisting FDNY, as well as those affected. This first video shares the experiences of those who were impacted from Los Angeles on this memorable day. The above video, produced by Cameron and David Barrett, has won numerous awards, and was produced for the LAFD’s remembrance event. This second video offers more detail about the thoughts and memories of LA firefighters, cops, and public servants. It is a bit long, but offers never before seen insight into the events of 9/11/01. Please feel free to share your thoughts as we remember this day of...

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