Creative Storytelling in web, iOS, and Film


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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Responsive Web Design is Very Important

By on Apr 4, 2015 in Blog, Consulting, Web Studio |

There is NO doubt that Responsive Web Design is very important for today’s webdesign point of view. Smartphone and tablet adoption rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile-friendly websites. Smartphones and tablets have changed the approach toward design and user experience. Before the spread of mobile devices with advanced web-browsing capability, web designers had only one primary challenge to deal with keeping the same look and feel of their websites. However, interacting with websites on smartphones and tablets is not the same as doing that on a desktop computer monitors. Factors such as Click versus Touch, Screen-size, Pixel-resolution, support for Adobe’s Flash technology, optimized markup and many more have become crucial while creating websites with Responsive Design. If SEO is a core component of your digital marketing strategy, having a mobile–friendly website is becoming essential. Mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales, and mobile Internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014. It is only logical that mobile search will overtake desktop search at some point in the near future as well. What is Responsive Web Design? Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach of laying-out and coding a website such that the website provides an optimal viewing experience — ease of reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling — across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). The designer creating a Responsive Design should ensure that the website’s navigation elements, screen-layouts, text, images, audio/video players and other UI elements re-adjust themselves on a variety of devices. Thus, one need not spend extra time and money in creating and maintaining one “mobile-site version” and another “desktop-site version” of her website. Now, having understood what is Responsive Web Design, let us Check the advantages and why Responsive Design is important while creating websites. Advantages of Responsive Design 1. Super Flexible Responsive web design sites are fluid, meaning the content moves freely across all screen resolutions and all devices. Both the grids and the images are fluid. Just as a liquid spreads out or draws in to allow its content to fill an allotted space and retain its appearance, responsive web design’s fluidity achieves the same result with...

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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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Are You Ready for a CRM?

By on Jan 13, 2015 in Blog, Consulting, Web Studio |

Are you ready for a CRM? As more Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions emerge for business management, one of the fastest growing segments involves Customer Relationship Management, or CRM. We have worked with multiple clients engaging them with a CRM solution, and there is a substantial difference between the theory proposed by the solution providers, and the real world experience of companies using (or attempting to use) the software. What is it? As a starting point, a CRM is designed around its title: customer relationships. The idea is that a provider of a product or service will engage their customers with a new ongoing exchange of information, data gathering, and promotional or incentive-based marketing activities. One of the key challenges for anyone wishing to deploy a CRM is that not every client thinks they need this solution – and in fact many would rather not be so engaged. There are many types of CRM systems in the marketplace. We provide two types of solution support related to CRM use: we’ll create a custom in-house CRM for you, or alternatively we’ll consult on implementation of a third party solution. Either way, talking about how and why you might want to use a CRM is essential – many are so feature driven it will take you literally weeks of training to learn how to properly implement some of them. Everyone Must Be On Board There is no point in implementing a CRM solution if everyone doesn’t use it. If some do and some don’t, the data you acquire will be incomplete, leading to the potential for “false math” or incorrect assumptions. The bottom line is that the most sophisticated tools are useless if your team either a) Won’t use them; or b) Spends too much time feeding the system that it takes away from their customer-facing efforts. Selling or Data Entry One of the key problems with a CRM solution is that the role of the account executive is modified – often taking them out of their comfort zone. In many examples, when implementing a CRM, all of the various departments (marketing, sales, etc.) chime in with the customer data they feel the CRM should track. The marketing organization often wants to track lead sources, organizational...

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Which One? New iPhone 6 Plus or iPad?

By on Sep 15, 2014 in Blog, Consulting, iOS Studio |

The question of the month is – Does the new iPhone 6 Plus dilute the market for the iPad? According to IDC, purchases of tablet devices have slowed quite a bit during the past year. Even the iPad, which continues to be the market leader is not experiencing the type of growth that smart phones are. Now, with the Apple 6 Plus, some people are wondering if the tablet has a future at all. Use the Right Device For the Job In our office, we use both the iPhone and the iPad. We produce more software for the iPad, but now new discussions have taken place — “could we adapt this iPad app to run on the iPhone Six Plus,” has come up more than once. For me, it was pretty straight forward: I think an iPhone 6 Plus is too big to carry around in my pocket or on my belt. So, I’m using the phone for communication, and the iPad for work. For others in the office, a bit more of a debate has ensued. My question to the team has been: “what is the right device for the job or function at hand?” First, the iPhone 6 Plus does offer behavior more like that of a micro-iPad than an iPhone. That’s a result of the third party developer ecosystem. Clearly, some apps will now run on an iPhone 6 Plus that wouldn’t be “phone capable” in the past. Still, it’s a small screen when compared to any iPad. If you need to question this, visit an Apple store and put the 6 Plus and an iPad Mini side by side. While the size difference between an iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 (or iPhone 5/5s) is small, the difference between it and iPad mini is substantial. Which one? If you think you need an iPad, you probably do. When evaluating the screen of the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s pretty clear that some tasks common on iPad weren’t going to be particularly suited to it. For moderate to extensive image editing and or anything more than light editing of Office documents, particularly large spreadsheets, the iPad is still the way to go. Even reading an entire ebook on it...

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