TUTORIAL: Create Han Solo’s laser gun

TUTORIAL: Create Han Solo’s laser gun

Do you find yourself day dreaming about owning Han Solo’s laser gun? With Red Giant’s Trapcode Particular 3 you can get you pretty close! Check out Red Giant’s new tutorial on creating laser gun blasts with Trapcode Particular 3 and get your pew! pew! on. Watch the tutorial here: 

Published at Mon, 13 Aug 2018 11:42:21 +0000




This First Live-Action Adaptation of the Nickelodeon Franchise Stars Isabela Moner and Eugenio Derbez with Muppets Director James Bobin at the Helm

Paramount Players announced Friday that the motion picture adaptation of Nickelodeon’s Peabody award-winning children’s animated series, Dora the Explorer, has begun principal photography on location at the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The production, being directed by 11-time Emmy and four-time BAFTA nominee James Bobin (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, “Flight of the Conchords”) marks the lovable Latina character’s big screen debut (and first live-action adaptation on any platform) after fourteen seasons (2000-2014) and 172 episodes on Viacom’s enduring children’s cable network. The film is a Paramount Players and Nickelodeon production in association with Walden Media. The film is being supported by the Queensland Government via Screen Queensland. Paramount will release the film on August 2, 2019.

Dora the Explorer stars Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Instant Family) in the film’s title role. Having spent most of her life exploring the jungle with her parents nothing could prepare Dora for the most dangerous adventure ever – High School. Always the explorer, Dora quickly finds herself leading Boots (her best friend, a monkey), Diego, and a rag tag group of teens on a Goonies-esque adventure to save her parents and solve the impossible mystery behind a lost Inca civilization.

Seventeen-year-old actress Moner is joined in the film by one of Mexico’s biggest stars, Eugenio Derbez (Overboard, Instructions Not Included, How to Be A Latin Lover), who plays Alejandro, a mysterious jungle inhabitant who tries to protect the teenagers from the marauders. The film also features big screen newcomer Micke Moreno (Escobar: Paradise Lost), in the role of cousin Diego; Nicholas Coombe (“Spy Kids: Mission Control,” Midnight Sun) as Randy, a fellow high schooler who develops an immediate crush on Dora; Madeleine Madden (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Tidelands) as the school’s snooty class president, Sammy; and Academy Award® nominee Adriana Barraza (Babel, Amores Perros, Thor, The 33) as Dora’s grandma, Abuelita Valerie. Temuera Morrison (Green Lantern, Moana) will play the role of Powell. Additional key casting announcements are forthcoming.

The film is produced by Christopher Robin producer Kristin Burr, who is joined by longtime Bobin associate, executive producer John G. Scotti (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, Alice Through the Looking Glass) as well as executive producers Julia Pistor (The Spiderwick Chronicles, A Series of Unfortunate Events) and Eugenio Derbez.

Bobin has assembled a talented team behind the camera that also includes reunions with Oscar®-winning production designer Dan Hennah (Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, Alice Through the Looking Glass) and costume designer Rahel Afiley (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, “Flight of the Conchords”). The pair will be joined by six-time Goya Award winning (and BAFTA nominated) cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe, A.S.C. (Secretos del corazón, The Others, Blue Jasmine, Thor: Ragnarok), film editor Mark Everson (Paddington, Paddington 2) and BAFTA-nominated VFX supervisor Andy Brown (Black Panther, House of Flying Daggers, Moulin Rouge!)

Dora the Explorer will film entirely in Australia’s Gold Coast, in the state of Queensland on the country’s east coast, south of Brisbane. Village Roadshow Studios, where the production will headquarter, has been host to several major Hollywood movies in the last few years, including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Shallows, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok and, most recently, DC’s Aquaman. In addition to designer Hennah’s stage builds, the production will utilize Queensland’s diverse landscape, notably tropical forests near Tamborine Mountain and Tallebudgera, to portray Dora’s jungle habitat.

Paramount Pictures is a subsidiary of Viacom. Nickelodeon is part of the Viacom Media Network, also a division of Viacom. 

Published at Mon, 13 Aug 2018 11:47:51 +0000

Best Gaffer Tape: Why You’ll Find Gaffer Tape on Every Set

Best Gaffer Tape: Why You’ll Find Gaffer Tape on Every Set

Gaffer tape. That time-tested trademark of the filmmaking industry. Helpful for a whole tonne of reasons. This article offers tips and advice for getting the best out of every strip of gaffer tape.

One of the most critical keys to success is to be prepared. Popularized by the Boy Scouts and other volunteer and youth groups, the motto can serve anyone well.

In any situation, from minor inconveniences to full-blown disasters, the best are always prepared. From stashed-away tool boxes to full-on contingency plans, it’s important to be be ready for any situation that might be thrown your way.gaffer tape

When you’re shooting video, specifically, there are many different types – events,, interviews, vlogging, short films, full-length features … just to name some – and different things to keep in mind.

With so many moving parts, it can be difficult to stay organized. When you’re filming a short, for example, you’ll have talent, props, lighting and sound on your mind – just to name a few.

Event videographer? Your subjects are already lined up, but the space and lighting might not be as you envisioned. And that’s not even considering the gear required.

Whether it’s a one-day event or a weeks-long production, staying organized and being prepared are two things that can go a long way towards completing a successful project.

gaffer tape

When it comes to being prepared, however, one thing you’ll see on any set or in any gear bag is gaffer tape. Productions both big and small rely on it for a variety of reasons.

It’s used in both live and filmed productions, popular for theatre, film and television projects. Named for the gaffer, or chief lighting technician, many will go through meters and meters of this tape from the first shot to the last scene.

So, all the pros are using it. But why? Here are five of the top reasons that you’ll find gaffer tape on every set.

gaffer tape

Gaffer tape is versatile

Usually made from a cotton-backed adhesive, gaffer tape is strong and long lasting, with an adhesive that sticks firmly. Since its backing is made of cloth, it isn’t reflective, and can blend in seamlessly on set.

While it’s made to hold down cables to ensure they stay in place, gaffer tape can be used on set for other purposes as well:

1. Indicate actors’ marks on stage or set

Since it’s non-reflective, the tape is virtually unnoticeable. It also comes in a variety of colors, so you can mark multiple actors’ placements without having to make different symbols or mark manually to indicate spots.

2. Repairs and fixes on set

From affixing props in place to masking holes, repairing curtains and covering cracks on stage, there’s dozens of uses to keep gaffer tape around. Patch up a bean bag weight, create a makeshift tripod plate, the list goes on!

gaffer tape

3. Supporting the lighting team

The team that supports gaffer tape’s namesake will surely appreciate having it on hand as well. Gaffer tape can hold lighting gels in place, holding projectors at a certain tilt, replacing strain reliefs on connectors and more.

4. Assisting the sound crew

Gaffer tape is also great to use to hold microphone packs in place, fixing microphone stand positions, patching up speaker drivers and other uses.

gaffer tape

5. Helping out wardrobe and stylists

Kim Kardashian herself has endorsed it as the best choice to keep, shall we say, her assets in place, and gaffer tape has definitely earned itself some more fans with that testament.

However, it’s a good quick fix for the wardrobe department when they need to fix or add grips to shoes, covering taps, covering small logos on clothes, and more.

When you’re starting out, you might find yourself fulfilling more than a couple roles on the above list. It just makes gaffer tape that much more indispensable when you’re packing your gear for your production.

Gaffer tape is like the Swiss Army Knife of gear on set – if it needs to stick, chances are gaffer tape will do the job!

gaffer tape

Gaffer tape is strong

High quality gaffer tape holds and sticks to anything. Coated cables, dusty stages…anywhere you can think of on a set! (Note that when using cabling, however, any exposed wires should be taken care of with electrical tape, lest there be an incident.)

The adhesive is made to last whatever a production can throw at it. Despite its strength, gaffer tape can be easily ripped without the use of scissors or a blade, meaning that you can put it down quickly and easily.

In addition to creating a strong bond, gaffer tape can hold up against more than the regular wear and tear. It’s hard for the elements to wash it away, because…

gaffer tape

Gaffer tape is water-resistant

Even though the tape is cloth-backed, the highest quality gaffer tape is made to withstand the elements. This makes it ideal for productions both indoors and outside, and won’t force you to resort to a rubberized or plasticized tape which can catch the light.

gaffer tape

Gaffer tape leaves no residue

With the heavy-duty properties of gaffer tape, you would think that the adhesive is sticky to the point of leaving its mark wherever it’s applied.

However, that isn’t the case at all! It’s easily removed without leaving a trace behind, making it a great choice when using it in spaces you need to leave in better condition than when you started. No need to spend time scraping residue away, when it’s not even left there in the first place.

Gaffer tape isn’t only plain

Gaffer tape comes in a wide variety of colors, which makes having several rolls on hand a good idea. Color coding stage markings, labels, and any other directions on set can be immensely helpful when trying to keep your head on straight during production.

Having a variety of colors can help you avoid having to make a ton of labels that correspond to the use of the tape. However, it’s easy to write on, so even if you have only one or two colors on hand, you can still stay organized.

Another benefit to having brightly colored gaffer tape is that it can be easy for cast and crew to see from a distance. Make sure possible pitfalls are easily seen by drawing attention to them using gaffer tape, especially when the tape is a fluorescent color.

Gaffer Tape – A Conclusion

Lightweight, versatile and indispensable – it’s easy to see why gaffer tape is found everywhere. When you’ve got about a few hundred things on your mind, trying to get your video production together, anything that makes your life easier is probably a good thing to try.

Amateurs and professionals alike swear by the stuff: you’d need at least a roll each of duct, masking and hem tape each to do only a part of what gaffer tape does.

With a tape that can multitask like that, why not lighten up your gear bag and get yourself a roll or two?

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Published at Wed, 01 Aug 2018 14:24:36 +0000

Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera: 5 Great Mirrorless Cameras On The Market

Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera: 5 Great Mirrorless Cameras On The Market

When looking for the best full frame mirrorless camera, you need to consider a number of things. Our detailed guide to the best full frame mirrorless cameras will answer your questions and give you some camera suggestions to make your buying decision more straightforward.

Mirrorless cameras are an alternative to traditional lens technology, with all digital capture electronics rather than a conventional viewfinder. The image is portrayed on an electronic viewfinder, after being refracted through a traditional glass lens.

Mirrorless cameras tend to be better for video production, however fewer lenses are available and the viewfinder generally isn’t as good  – for example, there’s normally no auto-focus sensors or pentaprism, because these are all replaced with the single image sensor. Mirrorless cameras are usually lighter and more compact because of this.

We’re going to cover a number of top full frame mirrorless cameras in this article. We’ll get into the details of each camera, as well as cover the pros and cons of each. In addition, we’ll mention any specific projects that a certain camera is great for.

Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera on the Market

We have selected a range of mirrorless cameras with a variety of different price levels. We should also note that we’ve chosen mostly prosumer cameras for this article, as opposed to the more professional level cameras (covered in another article).

Canon have a reputation for great lens quality and progressive picture quality as you move towards professional EOS range. The M6 is no exception, with a high quality solid metal and highly durable plastic build, this is a professional quality 24-megapixel camera.

Features like object tracking, additional lenses and HD performance make this camera a highly fun and excellent quality tool for a lot of your filmmaking (and photography) needs. As an added feature you can even record HD 60 fps videos, which is great for all the media heads out there!

I have had a similar prosumer camera and the HD video function is great for family BBQs or suddenly when you need a camcorder and you have your camera to hand. This isn’t a professional level camera for pro video production work, by any stretch of the imagination, though.

The Dual Pixel technology for the CMOS sensor adds an extra level of smoothness when recording HD 1080p videos.

The digital image viewer on the back of the camera is large and accurate also. The camera feels sturdy and the buttons responsive. This is a solid prosumer offering which is built to last and the viewer is touch activated which is really useful.

Canon cameras have been a favourite of mine, and many other professional and yet again, the camera build quality and lens performance proves why. With good expansion and all optical zoom, built in Wi-Fi and high-quality image sensor make this camera a high recommendation for an affordable, entry-level camera.

This camera stands out, it looks sleek and modern. I really like the design and the adjustable large rear viewfinder. This model takes image of 16-megapixel quality and also has advanced feature options, including excellent macro (7cm close shots) features.

The X-A10 is at the top end of the Fujifilm mirrorless camera range. The integrated pop up lens and manual focus give this a retro futurist, other-worldly feel and again the build quality is very good.

Like with any piece of camera equipment, your choice boils down to your personal preferences. However, with optical zoom, good battery life and weighing just 500 grams, there isn’t much difference between the X-A10 and the M series Canon.

The Canon has a greater MP capture ability. But, for a couple hundred bucks more expensive, you’d expect that. And if you’re just using this for prosumer use, it isn’t really a consideration. Like the M6, this isn’t a camera for professional video production work.

Occasionally, the buttons can have a slight flimsy effect and the unit doesn’t have an SD card provided. However, the image quality is great, with optical stabilization, quiet operation and accurate focus.

This isn’t quite as smooth operating as the Canon, but not by much. And at almost half the price, this remains a solid price point for a still a highly capable camera.

Extra lenses are available and it features very easy to use camera operation, so definitely worth a look.

High quality build and solid features are the main selling point of this mirrorless camera. This is closer to the Canon M6 than the Fuji X-A10 in robust feel, but also in price point.

The Alpha 6300 offers a nice 25-megapixel image quality, with cutting edge autofocus technology. It’s quiet and like the Canon feels professional, with a sensor speed of up to 120fps, which is great for those action shots.

The Alpha 6300 is made from a magnesium alloy, so will not damage or rust easily. So expect this camera to last a long time if it’s the one you choose to purchase. And if you’re after a compact professional grade mirrorless camera, with very high quality Exmor image sensor, why not?

The OLED display size is high quality, an optional lens mount is useful and the optical viewer again is quite futurist in style, which seems sleek and up to date.

The Alpha 6300 has BIONZ high speed image processing, 425 phase detections, again good for detail and action. All demonstrate Sony’s commitment to professional quality image capture.

4K Video recording is on offer here and again touch controls for accurate and effective use. The features, like the other models, offer compact mirrorless image capture, with enhanced image processing and DSLR quality in a compact design. This gives you a lot more freedom and greater shot opportunity.

This model and the M6 are top level cameras for prosumer purposes and useful in fairly demanding environments.

Whilst not as high quality as the Alpha 6300, this mirrorless 20MP Zeiss Lens digital camera is certainly worth a look. It’s still equipped with the great Exmor R sensor, solid build and x3.6 optical zoom, all in an aesthetic compact and high image quality camera.

In fact, this camera is so compact, the 3 inch LCD display on the back looks gigantic, when compared with the proportions of the rest of the camera. It has a x14 digital zoom, great focal length and Wi-fi options.

Being a compact, it’s not the most versatile. However, for this price point, it’s a fairly solid advanced camera and it’s difficult not to like it. Highly recommended!


Sony RX100 20.2 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera w/1-inch sensor, 28-100mm ZEISS zoom lens, 3” LCD

  • Approximately 20.1 megapixels , Exmor CMOS Sensor, 28-100mm equivalent F/18-49 lens, ISO 125-6400…
  • Operating temperature:Approx. 0°C to 40°C (32F° to 104F°).1080p video, Steady-Shot image…
  • Burst Mode (shots)-Approx10 fps,(VGA) Moving Image Size -640×480 30fps Approx3Mbps. Flash range:ISO…
  • Bright F18 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens with 36x zoom, Full HD 1080/60p video with manual control…
  • Dimension: 1016 mm x 581 mm x 359 mm, Weight: 213g (75 oz)

A new contender with 4K image quality, 30fps HD video options, high ISO support and strong lens range, the YI M1 looks impressive on paper.

Built in Wi-fi, IMX269 image sensor and superb high-grade build and 20 megapixel image quality all make this camera attractive. And with the chance to compete with the likes of Sony, Canon and other top camera makers, the YI M1 has pulled out all the stops to become a real contender here.

I like the fact that this has Micro Four Thirds lens options for dedicated use, something that expands your lens selection and helps to really develop your style through experimentation. There are, after all, an awful lot of cheap micro four thirds lenses available on places like eBay.

The M1 comes with a 12-40mm lens and has a battery life of between 8-9 hours. The mic for video is extremely high quality and the 4K image quality is superior, especially compared to the image quality of other cameras mentioned here.

Semi-assisted image processing allows for advanced processor assistance features, but also the option to fine tune the manual control of your shooting (through manual lens adjustment).

It weighs just over 1kg, making it heavier than other models discussed here, but a positive here is that this just adds to the quality of the design and professional feel compared to the others.

I like the build, design and support with extra lens. For a relatively unknown manufacturer, though, the price point is a little steep. But in a world where you get what you pay for, this hardware certainly delivers.


What makes a good mirrorless camera? It’s not that different from DSLR cameras and remembering the technology is newer, the design will be less developed and certain features will be priced at a premium.

Due to consumer confidence system specifications orientate around the digital image sensor, promoting the simplicity and quality of the mirrorless camera. And the price point will get lower with these prosumer cameras as the technology develops and gets more commonly used.


Stabilization generally is in two forms, Lens or IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization). Models like Canon or Nikon (VR or vibration reduction) are focused on Lens Stabilization, whilst Sony and Pentax have worked on the IBIS, or in body method.

Lens stabilization methods prove more effective in low level light situations. However, IBIS works with all lenses because the feature is not part of the lens itself, so more flexible as a whole. This means lenses are cheaper with IBIS, less fragile and quieter.

Lens stabilisation produces especially good results with super telephoto (or long range) lenses, where the focal distance demands a good stabilization method.

Focal Length Multiplier

The focal length multiplier, or crop factor, is essentially the size of the frame. Based on the hardware of the various camera technology, it controls detailed camera adjustments for framing the image captured by the sensor.

The 35mm is the diagonal frame of the actual image. Crop factor allows us to compare different camera hardware and the flexibility of the image sensor within the camera’s hardware.

Common focal length multiplier ranges from x1.5 to x6 magnified adjustment. This is heavily controlled by the quality of the image sensor and the model’s technological ability.

Sometimes you see higher factors. This is usually a little white lie, where camera performance mixed both digital and optical processing to enhance the multiplier, with varied results.

This is why it’s always important to physically test camera performance before purchase and research well.

Focus system

Each mirrorless camera is different. However, there is usually an autofocus system (or similar) that refines your adjustments to the image quality post camera processing for the best image quality possible.

Contrast and focus are values altered here by either yourself or, in some models, completely processor controlled.

Auto focus systems use a combination of IR (Infrared) / ultrasonic to measure distance and focus the shot. This is common for the majority of cameras and is processor controlled for when you just want everything to be done for you by the camera. This makes sense with prosumer models, but as you take the step up to more pro camera options, you’ll want more manual control of the image.

Passive assist uses IR, but is less accurate and usually with focus controls to allow the operator fine adjustment options over the final quality of the shot.

Sensor size and type

The sensor’s ability varies greatly from model to model, with the technology highly guarded and developed in house by most manufacturers.

The larger more detailed the sensor, the more flexible the focal length / cropping ability of the image (real time). Full frame is industry standard 35mm. This is dictated by the quality of the sensor and in general the size and price of the camera.

The CMOS sensors usually vary slightly between manufacturer. Canon has APS-C, Sigma has a APS-H. Nikon also has a APS-C, but with a slightly larger frame size.

Sensors are usually 2cm x 2cm approx. However, it is important to realise their quality is directly related to the image picture quality, especially in mirrorless cameras.

There are other factors like dynamic range and dark noise, etc. However, these are topics for further research. The more expensive CMOS sensors work better in low light levels.

Best Full Frame Mirrorless Camera – Thoughts and summary

The standard quality of shots from all these mirrorless cameras are very good! If you’re on a budget, look at the Fuji X-A10 or the newer YI M1.

There are slight tradeoffs with build and megapixel ability. However, the shot quality is there due to the high quality image sensors, being very similar across the spectrum.

A lot of people always recommend Canon cameras and it’s true once you get used to the build and high-grade image quality, people find it difficult to accept others.

However, it’s not difficult to pull off professional level shots with all of these models, so if price is a factor then go for those that are at the more reasonable price points.

As always, it’s important to consider the type of uses and projects that you’ll require any video equipment for before you purchase. As we’ve mentioned throughout, we’ve covered prosumer level cameras here (as opposed to the pro level mirrorless cameras covered in another post).

We hope this article on the best full frame mirrorless camera offerings on the market has been instructive for you. Did we miss out your favorite mirrorless camera? Let us know in the comments below.

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Published at Thu, 02 Aug 2018 12:16:48 +0000



Australian pro audio giant RØDE Microphones launches the brand new SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit, the latest Lightning connected recording solution for Apple iOS Devices.

The SC6-L is a compact duo-3.5mm TRRS-to-Lightning Mobile Interface that enables broadcast-quality audio recording with two RØDE smartLav+ microphones; a compact solution for on-the-go interviews and podcasts, both for audio only and filmed scenarios. It’s a pro-quality pocket podcast studio!

Thanks to the 3.5mm headphone jack, you can both monitor in real time and listen to playback. Download the free RØDE Reporter App to adjust input and monitor levels, along with a suite of other settings to reduce work in post – you can even share it immediately. The Mobile Interview Kit will also work with other iOS recording software. Simply plug-set-&-record.

The SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit comes packaged with the new SC6-L Interface, 2 x Clips, 2 x Windshields, 1 x Storage Pouch, and 2 x smartLav+ Microphones – RØDE’s professional-grade lavaliers. These discreet and portable miniature mics are made with omnidirectional condenser capsules and Kevlar® reinforced cables – the ideal choice for a wide range of film, TV, podcast and broadcast applications.

“We’re thrilled to announce the launch of RØDE’s new additions to iOS audio capture,” comments Damien Wilson, CEO of RØDE Microphones. “Following on from the VideoMic Me-L, the SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit is perfect for both media pros and emerging content creators, providing broadcast-ready audio on Apple devices at a stellar price. These products further cement our position as the choice for Today’s Creative Generation™.”

The SC6-L Mobile Interface and smartLav+ microphones are also available for purchase separately.

Published at Fri, 10 Aug 2018 00:37:47 +0000




Friday August 3, 2018: Australian pro audio giant The Freedman Group– home to the world’s number one audio capture brand RØDE Microphones – is proud to announce the appointment of legendary audio innovator Chris Woolf as a Senior Innovation Engineer, exclusive to RØDE.

Formerly a Senior Engineer for the windshield and microphone accessories company Rycote®, Chris Woolf is the inventor of, amongst many other patented noise-reduction solutions, the ‘Rycote Lyre®’ shock-mount and the ‘Rycote Cyclone®’ Windshield system.

Mr. Woolf is rightly considered the world’s leader in developing advanced technology to control noise in microphone systems generated from vibration and handling, and of course wind noise. He has been collaborating with RØDE since April of this year, and has already developed some revolutionary technology that will be revealed very soon.

“I am delighted to announce that we have secured Chris and his enormous talent,” says Freedman Group Founder and Chairman, Peter Freedman AM. “I am truly excited with what Chris has developed with us at RØDE over the last few months, and look forward to being able to reveal what I believe will really shake up this category!”

Mr Woolf says, “RØDE’s dominant position in the on-camera market – as well as in film, broadcast and in studio recording – places them in the right place at the right time for innovation in the wind noise and structural borne vibration reduction field. The opportunity to work with such an amazing company, that has unique in-house manufacturing resources to explore new possibilities in the practical science of microphone noise reduction, is just wonderful.”

Published at Mon, 06 Aug 2018 08:02:29 +0000

The Importance of a ‘Sound’ Education For Filmmakers

The Importance of a ‘Sound’ Education For Filmmakers

The proliferation of home studios is an undeniable reality in the music industry, and everyone from long-time professional musicians through to emerging talents are investing in their own. While digital technology is perhaps the sexiest and most interesting part of the budget and plan, it’s widely accepted that some investment in acoustic treatment is a necessity. Particularly if the end result of all these efforts is to compete with recordings completed in a traditional large-scale recording studio.

Similarly, in the visual realm, digital technology is making it such that known and unknown filmmakers (perhaps better defined as ‘media creatives’ as most are recording in digital formats), are making and self releasing films looking to compete with the product coming out of, again, the traditional large-scale studio. Technology has never made this more possible than now. Exciting prospect for many, right?

Right. With the appropriate tools and talent anything is possible. So, what are so many media creatives missing despite being armed with ambition in spades and the latest digital camera and editing software? According to Mark Edward Lewis, owner of online education website Cinema Sound, they are missing about 80% of the equation — top notch audio. Yes, you read that correctly, 80%. “We take a lot of heat about this, until we pose this question: “If sound and imagery were really 50/50, then audiences would like a good video/bad audio scene as much as a bad video/good audio scene.” And if you step inside Lewis’ impressive educational offering, he shows you examples that support his declaration should anyone have doubts as to its validity.

So why is it that so many media creatives believe that audio (at best) represents only 50% of the equation? Lewis explains: “The problem is, [they] believe George Lucas’ whimsy as truth “Sound is 50% of the picture.” He was joking. If sound were 50% of Star Wars, he wouldn’t have hired the greatest composer of our time and the greatest sound design team of all time to create its sound track.” But still, this narrative prevails and it’s one that Lewis is working hard to correct. With over 85 hours of education on his website, he offers what he describes as “what every media creative needs to get Hollywood-level sound in their productions and deliver it at a professional level.”

It’s not difficult to imagine the enormity of the task to deliver on that statement considering the audio for video component of education in film schools has been so significantly under-emphasized. Prior to starting Cinema Sound Lewis was part of an educational tour covering North America and Australia, seeing over 1,200 filmmakers, all trying to figure out sound-for-picture. “At every stop on the tour I queried the audience about their film school experience and education regarding sound. I unswervingly got the same response: “I learned how to hold a boom pole and not go over zero on the meters of the recorder.” I can further assure you that when we did the holding the boom pole section of the event, they hadn’t learned that but thought they had. My experience with our Cinema Sound members is much the same which is why they covet the education on Cinema Sound.”

Once Lewis gets his students to the point of having captured high quality audio, his work is not done. In fact, this is where he teaches his students that they might not be hearing what they think they are hearing. This can be a confounding prospect for the students considering all the time and effort that has brought them this far. Lewis’ challenge is to teach the lesson that musicians and producers have known for ages. Unless you are mixing your recording in an acoustically treated space, you are taking a wild stab at what your audio tracks will actually end up sounding like and how they will translate in various playback spaces be that a theatre, car, club and on different devices such as televisions and smart phones. “If the most honed minds in the business have wonderfully tuned and treated rooms, why would anyone think they shouldn’t too?” Lewis’ caveat: “If media creation is simply a hobby, keep enjoying your hobby, but if you want to compete, you must have the basics: “Good speakers in the right place at the right angle at the right volume (isolated and stabilized) and primary reflections taken care of.”

To demonstrate this, Lewis has created several videos as part of his education program and enlisted Canadian acoustics manufacturer Primacoustic, to treat the Cinema Sound studio. “To get it done right, having materials which are made by professionals is advisable. Taking the surgical foam from your mattress and stapling it to your walls doesn’t help as much as you’d think, and your reflective desk does more damage to your mix’s translation than any amount of treatment you’d put on the ceilings or floor – to say nothing of what your speakers are lying to you about sitting on that desk.” Cinema Sound’s studio B was treated with a combination of Primacoustic Broadway fabric wrapped panels, Paintables™ printed panels, Bass Traps, Nimbus ceiling clouds and Recoil Stabilizers for speaker isolation — to help those speakers tell the truth.

The space presented some challenges being that it is a portable studio. “Even though our situation was complex, we were still able to get a powerful reduction in primary and secondary reflections as well as a 15 dB reduction in ambient noise. In fact, once installed, we started noticing the self noise of the 5.1 speaker installation we have in the studio – which we never heard prior to that.” In a typical fixed space Lewis reiterates how simple and straightforward the process is and of course supports each of his claims with a video so students of Cinema Sound see how the space was physically treated as Lewis takes them from unboxing to product assembly thru to completed studio space.

Despite being the venerable expert educator for all things audio for video, there presented an occasion in the process of treating Studio B where teacher became student. Lewis generously (and humbly) shares the experience: “Outside the studio is a waiting room/living room where there’s a flat screen and a 5.1 system for watching movies etc. It’s a pretty good custom-built system by yours truly. When the Primacoustic kit came, we unboxed it and leaned it up against a wall temporarily while we finished reinforcing the walls of the studio in preparation for the treatment. Well, it took us longer to retrofit the walls than we thought, and the Primacoustic treatment stayed in that waiting room for over a week. One night, I was watching a movie in this room (which has no treatment at all), and I notice that the entire left side of the system was not only low in volume but darker than the right. It’s Lf and Ls. Re-patching cables did nothing. Switching speakers did nothing. Turning up the left channels helped, but it still felt dark. It’s not until the eureka moment of me looking at the left wall of the room – plastered with Primacoustic panels two rows deep – that I realize that the speakers were fine. The room ambience and reflections on the left side of the room were being wiped out by the panels while the right side was doing its normal bouncing-about. It was a great moment to realize the importance of absorption and diffusion verses straight reflection. It wasn’t funny until I figured out what was happening!”

Despite it being accidental, Lewis’ experience illustrates the importance of balanced acoustic treatment in an editing suite. Lewis reiterates: “The Cinema Sound mission is to improve the production value of independent media so much that it competes with Hollywood-big-budget media so that the general public chooses Indy projects as much as Hollywood projects. The best way we know to do this – and the most efficient in time and budget – is by improving audio and it doesn’t cost a bank-account-full to treat your room.” The simplest starting point solution from Primacoustic is their prepackaged room kits designed to treat rooms of various sizes. These retail from between $249.99 USD – $1575 USD. To simplify things even more, the company website features a form that media creatives can submit to receive a complimentary treatment plan and quote.

For more information on Primacoustic and the Free Quote Form

For more information on Cinema Sound

Published at Thu, 26 Jul 2018 07:05:59 +0000

Filming on tour with Elton John

Filming on tour with Elton John

DaVinci Resolve Studio and DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel are being used by Video Director John Steer and On-tour Post Production Specialist Chris Sobchack for end-to-end post on a variety of video productions for Grammy-winning legend and singer/songwriter Elton John.

A Micro Studio Camera 4K is also used on tour, in conjunction with a Micro Cinema Camera, Video Assist and Video Assist 4K to shoot interview and behind-the-scenes (BTS) footage, along with HyperDeck Studio Pro and HyperDeck Studio Mini to record the live performances, and MultiView 4 to monitor camera feeds. Teranex Mini and UltraStudio Express are also used to send camera signals to the video wall on stage.

“While on tour, John and I are responsible for shooting and post on a variety of video productions, such as content for Elton’s YouTube channel, clips for broadcast television and award shows, packages for fan clubs and VIPs, dedication videos, and more,” said Sobchack. “It can involve archival footage, current tour footage and new footage that we, or outside video production companies, shoot, such as interviews and BTS, so we rely heavily on DaVinci Resolve Studio in post to bring everything together, often on very tight deadlines.”

The process involves taking tour footage with reference audio tracks from the sound engineer and deconstructing the footage, along with archival elements, BTS and newly shot footage, into component shots for editing, grading and audio sweetening all in DaVinci Resolve Studio. According to Sobchack, audio post can be as simple as compression and leveling, or as complex as getting some or all of the multi-track files the team records each night to augment, or even create a complete studio mix. “I’ll also add and keyframe audience microphones to enhance the live ambiance or use the Fairlight page to minutely fix any visual sync issues,” he noted.

For editing, Steer splices the archival footage, BTS and newly shot footage with the raw footage from the tour’s live shows. “I handle the offline edit, while Chris handles the online, and that’s where DaVinci Resolve Studio works so well, as we can work simultaneously by sharing files back and forth,” he said. “I also use DaVinci Resolve Studio to make copies of the whole show in a lower resolution, so we have a backup viewing copy. We use DaVinci Resolve Studio to put together everything from video idents to full songs from the show while we are on the road touring, and I find it so intuitive and easy to use. Also, with Fairlight, it’s so easy to sweeten the audio, and its features keep expanding.”

As Steer noted, Sobchack is responsible for online editing, grading, audio editing and sweetening, and delivery.

“During the live performances, the lighting is constantly changing, and overall, the footage is darker than what’s needed for broadcast or the web, as the concerts are lit for the human eye rather than for a camera. My main objective is to retain the flair of the live show’s lighting design, but also be able see Elton’s face. I also have to make the performance footage cohesive with any BTS or newly shot footage,” explained Sobchack. “In DaVinci Resolve Studio, I use gradients, vignettes on faces, HSL qualifiers and Power Windows to brighten things up and meld the radically different colors in the shots.”

He continued, “I also reframe shots on occasion and rely on DaVinci Resolve Studio’s temporal noise reduction. Since we don’t shoot in light that is really video project-friendly, when we make the kinds of adjustments we need for broadcast, especially if it’s being up-resed for a prime time network for instance, this feature can take a shot from a zoomed in camera that was 60 yards away from the stage and make it look perfect.”

As multi-camera recording has not been feasible on the tour, the footage also has burned in transitions, so when grading, Sobchack picks a cut point from shot A to shot B and implements an animated color transition using keyframes, ensuring the first frame of shot B matches the last frame of shot A. “Instead of using primary wheels, I use levels, and being able to jot down numbers and easily match them using the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel is great. The panel not only adds a great tactile feel to my workflow, but since it has both dedicated and soft, page-specific knobs, it really lets me dial in and drop down to exact values, which helps with getting everything to match really quickly,” added Sobchack.

He concluded, “John and I have our regular tour duties on top of the video production work, so there’s no time for transcoding and bouncing between programs. DaVinci Resolve Studio is a one-stop-shop that gives us the capability to go from media ingest all the way through to final output in one system, and that capability is huge.”

Published at Wed, 25 Jul 2018 06:27:01 +0000

Exploring Australian women with Screen Australia’s Doco180

Exploring Australian women with Screen Australia’s Doco180

Screen Australia and News Digital Networks Australia’s whimn.com.au have announced the five recipients of the second series of Doco180. With a maximum 180 seconds, the winners must create documentaries designed to make viewers ‘do a 180’ on topics important to Australian women.

“We know there are a million ways to be a woman today, so naturally there are so many topics and issues that tug the heart strings, jerk those tears and fire up women to press for progress,” said Melissa Shedden, Editor whimn.com.au. “We were hugely impressed by the insightful and compelling pitches from this year’s Doco180 entrants, which made it hard to select the final recipients. We’re very proud to be able to offer these talented female storytellers the chance to share these important issues with the whimn.com.au audience. Based on the success of Doco180 in 2017 achieving over 1.8 million views across the series we’re keen to see what 2018 has in store.”

Each team has addressed a range of universal female issues, ranging from body hair and body image, to the reality of gender parity in small business ownership. The Doco 180 season two documentary makers are:

  • Blue Lucine and Mariel Thomas’ (NSW) project Asking For It aims to investigate the fear, shame and intimidation that prevents most sexual assault victims from ever taking legal action.
  • Can you be a solo mum and still have it all? Director Erin McBean and writer Holly Zwalf (NSW) will create Mother/Lover looking at what exactly it means, these days, to truly ‘have it all’?
  • In A Hairy Problem director Rebecca Thomson (TAS) will address women’s body hair and how it is still a topic of much public discussion, judgment and shaming. The documentary intends to question if it should be anyone else’s business whether a woman chooses to mow or grow.
  • As a female business owner and filmmaker, Laura Clelland (QLD) believes the fight for gender parity has seen the rise of a ‘girls’ club’ where women support other women. In Together She Succeeds, Laura’s putting her beliefs to the test to discover if there is a darker reality to acknowledge.
  • Filmmaker and social worker Hawanatu Bangura (NSW) will direct Inner Demons, unpacking whether being a curvy woman is a blessing or curse. Hawanatu’s film will follow her subject Rosaline, depicting her tug-of-war story and how she banished her demons to become a celebrated mixed race plus size model.

Each team will receive $6,000 to bring their project to life and will be supported by a Screen Australia Investment Development Manager through the entirety of the process.

“We’re proud to partner with whimn.com.au for a second year on this important initiative to encourage female storytellers in the documentary field,” said Liz Stevens, Senior Manager of Documentary at Screen Australia. “Now more than ever we need to see informative and passionate content by Australian women to shed light and challenge gender stereotypes. These three minute documentaries have the potential to reach a large online audience through the Whimn platform.”

The Doco180 selected projects will be housed on whimn.com.au and its associated social channels exclusively for 12 months from October 2018.


Producer Rebecca Thomson
Director Rebecca Thomson
Synopsis Women’s body hair is still a topic of much public discussion, judgment and shaming. But why is it anyone else’s business whether a woman chooses to mow or to grow?!

Producer Mariel Thomas
Director Blue Lucine
Synopsis Fear, shame and intimidation prevent most sexual assault victims from ever taking legal action. How is it that the phrase “asking for it” still seems to have a place in society today?

Producer Taylor Litton-Strain
Director Hawanatu Bangura
Synopsis We all have our inner demons, but is being a curvy woman a blessing or curse? We see Rosaline’s tug-of-war story and how she banished her demons to become a celebrated mixed race plus size model.

Writer Holly Zwalf
Producer Erin McBean
Synopsis Can you be a solo mum and still have it all? And what exactly does it mean, these days, to truly ‘have it all’?

Producers Sam Weingott, Sascha Shipley
Director Laura Clelland
Synopsis As a female business owner and filmmaker, Laura Clelland believes the fight for gender parity has seen the rise of a ‘girls’ club’ where women support other women – but she’s putting her beliefs to the test to discover if there is a darker reality to acknowledge.

Season one of Doco180 can be viewed for free here 

Published at Mon, 16 Jul 2018 23:38:35 +0000