The DSLR quandary

I shot my first spot today using a dslr. I’m used to bigger cameras, broadcast cameras to shoot with and whereas it pushed me way out of my comfort zone I have to say I actually enjoyed the experience.

I have been of the train of thought that this is just a still camera that can shoot video, what’s the big deal here, why is everyone swooning over this format and camera type. It just has never seemed to me to be professional, for goodness sake there isn’t even any xlr jacks to plug in mics or any audio metering so how can this be a professional way to shoot!!??

Putting all of this aside I jumped in, thought a little differently about my shots, how I was going to light them and yes we shot on chroma key for it which I have read it a DSLR’s least favorite thing to shoot. Yes only having H.264 to shoot in isn’t my ideal codec of choice to shoot anything in was a scary thing, but I got over it very quickly when I saw what was shot. The depth of field, the movements of the camera, it’s so damn light, you can do so many things with it, literally freeing my creativity up on my choice of angles, shots. Shots I wouldn’t have dared to do with a Panasonic HVX200a strapped me I was able to do with ease

My second concern, bar the whole it’s a bloody still camera, was Final Cut Pro. Yes I am running X and as well as I know it eats most codecs I was worried about how it would handle and edit H.264 without any transcoding, no waiting on compressor to finish before I started my edit. Well, I finished my rough cut of the spot in 20 minutes. That’s from ingest to basic storyline edit. All I have to do now is fine tune that damn pacing and then it’s off for compositing and finishing.

My fear of using a DSLR for professional work is slowly leaving me. I do see the potential of the format. Some nice lenses next (yes I do get to go shopping soon for a few nice lenses) and I’ll be very happy.

Its no Red Scarlet by any means, I don’t think I could convince my company to slap that sort of cash down.

Wishful thinking on my part there.

The Pitch.

Well I had my first pitch meeting today, you know those types of meetings? The one where they throw you in at the deep end and you have to fly by the seat of your pants to win over the client with your vision and ideas.

It went well.

Out of the 6 concepts delivered 5 were picked, which is just as well because we have a shoot tomorrow to pull this off. Nothing like doing it by the seat of your pants.

As a pitch meeting it went very well, it’s nice to be in a room of people that get it, and quite frankly without the super talented designer and social media guru in the room it wouldn’t have went as well as it did. I do work with an amazing team that only want the best for the product and brand. We all know the vision of where to take things and I know that the team in place will make that happen. Everyone is one the same page and just want the right thing.

Now the heavy lifting after the shoot is going to be fun, although I do wish Apple had released that new MacPro in time for this as I know all the compositing and possibly rotoscoping I have to do on my end would be like taking an hot knife and putting it through butter. Not the oh damn scenario I am in now with a laptop. Damn Apple and their teasing of something great that I just cannot have right now!

All the time I spent learning Davinci Resolve will pay off on my end, I do have a specific look I have built for this, so fingers crossed if I get the performance out of my actors tomorrow the rest will be a piece of cake!


I am half way through the movie Prisoners and I have to say apart from being every parents worst nightmare it is utterly fantastic.

Beautifully shot, edited, directed, it hits a nerve with a parent like myself. Yes it has a big name Hollywood star in it (Hugh Jackman) and yet it has a sort of indie sort of vibe.

So far, unless the third act is a mess, its bloody fantastic.

What ever happened to……

I know this isn’t post related entirely, well it kind of is in a way, it is film related.

I love French cinema, they have a way of making the most beautiful movies, narrative, subjects are treated fairly and sometimes harshly (Irreversible for example). The have some of the best visionaries in the business there, Luc Besson being one of my favorite French directors. But, what has happened to him?

This is the guy that gave us Subway, La Femme Nikita, Léon, The Big Blue, The Fifth Element, Angel-A and now we have The Family. I saw it last night and I have to say it is the most incredible drivel ever to have his name attached to it. Not only is it boring, it plays upon a lot of stereotypes between the French and Americans. It was truly awful, I fell asleep during it.

Normally when I sit down to watch a ‘foreign’ movie I have high hopes, especially when it comes from someone of Besson’s caliber.

This however, is total pants. What has happened to a great visionary director like this? Has Hollywood pushed him this far that all he feels comfortable with is directing crap?

I expect more from Besson and anything associated with his name.

Here we go….

I have toyed with the idea of starting a bog for some time now, ideas float around and I just don’t quite get the idea fully of doing it, but here I go, trying to catalogue my adventures in post production.

I have been an editor and shooter for quite some time, working on various projects for corporate clients to the not so corporate ones. Fast forward to now and new gig, or adventure has graced me. One where I get to choose my own destiny, kind of like those books we read as kids, the ones where you get to choose where you go and this is just that.

The company has never had an in house video guy, always outsourced and got, well, less than savory results. Now they have me on board to take the brand and the image to a step further, take to another level. Granted the brand and image is amazing. Who wouldn’t want to work for a cutting edge (used way too much these days thats for sure) sports brand? They have this edgy approach the I just love, but yet their video was lacking anything of what the brand could be.

Throughout this journey I will be writing about our triumphs, our failures and above all, all things post related that would be of interest. And yes, I am running Final Cut Pro X, not 7 or Adobe Premiere. I have used X since it got released and I have to say I do love it. It does take the pain out of editing and workflow. Again, as I develop a workflow that works for us I will write about it and see where it goes.

Since Apple did the wrong thing and discontinue Color I will be using Resolve for grading, After Effects and Motion for other things graphic related and if I can finally get my head around Autodesk Smoke I will be using that. This will be rough and ready, I’m not a writer, I am an editor, so forgive me for things here, I will do my best to get everything across I can.

Yes, I will be buying a new MacPro when it comes out in December, I will be writing a review, something when I finally have it installed and running. I’m curious to know how well it performs for FCPX and other apps, hopefully Apple haven’t sold us on the oh my god factor and delivered a piece of crap for post work.