Download Multiple Files at the Same Time With Silverstack Offload Manager

It’s now possible to download more than a single file at the same time with parallel offloading from Silverstack download manager.

Pomfort owns the top end of the on-set file management world with Pomfort Silverstack. Luckily for the rest of us, last year it launched Silverstack Offload Manager, a dedicated tool just for managing downloads and footage reports with some of the high-end features that many of us don’t need on our smaller productions.

If you are looking to reliably download, verify, and document your footage, Offload Manager offered a lot of functionality, though it was limited to a single download at a time. Pomfort has just announced that it’s changing that, allowing for parallel downloading, which will be a huge timesaver for many productions.

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An Agency Cracks and Sides with the Writers

The Verve Agency decided to break ranks and sign the Writers’ Code of Conduct. What does that mean for the industry?

After months of agents and writers trying to make a deal, the two sides parted ways in late April. Members of the WGA left their representation and foraged into a brave new world where they relied on networking to get jobs…and…it was a lot like the old world?

Writers came together through hashtags like #WGAStaffingBoost and #WGASpecBoost to create their own staffing season. The WGA launched several website features where writers could upload their pilots or specs for showrunners and producers could access them. This has been going fairly well with many writers reporting getting more meetings and opportunities.

This time, without conflicts of interest.

While this is wonderful for writers and the WGA, it left agents wondering what to do.

Well, this week, the Verve Agency, which only represents writers and directors, signed the WGA’s code of conduct and rejoined the good graces of the WGA. After Verve signed the Code of Conduct, the ATA released this statement:

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Simple Ways to Use Flash to Create More Looks in Outdoor Portraits

Simple Ways to Use Flash to Create More Looks in Outdoor Portraits

There is certainly quite a lot that you can accomplish with natural light, but you’re at the mercy of the weather outside, and sometimes, adding a bit of flash can go a long way to augment the light at hand or to even reshape it entirely. This great video will show you some different ways to use a flash to create a variety of looks when you’re shooting portraits outdoors.

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Seven Ways to Improve Your Seascape Photos

Seven Ways to Improve Your Seascape Photos

Incorporating a body of water into a landscape photo is one of the best ways to add visual interest, create a flow that leads the viewer’s eye across the image, and drastically alter the mood you’re trying to create. This excellent video will give you seven tips to improve your seascape images.

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Do I need to worry about 8K?

This is a question that gets asked a lot. And if you are thinking about buying a new camera it has to be one the you need to think about. But in reality I don’t think 8K is a concern for most of us.

I recently had a conversation with a representative of a well known TV manufacturer. We discussed 8K and 8K TV’s. An interesting conclusion to the conversation was that this particular TV manufacturer wasn’t really expecting their to be a lot of 8K content anytime soon. The reason for selling 8K TV’s is the obvious one – In the consumers eyes. 8K is a bigger number than 4K, so it must mean that it is better. It’s any easy sell for the TV manufacturers, even though it’s arguable that most viewers will never be able to tell the difference between an 8K TV and a 4K one (lets face it most struggle to tell the difference between 4K and HD).

Instead of expecting 8K content this particular TV manufacturer will be focussing on high quality internal upscaling of 4K content to deliver an enhanced viewing experience.

It’s also been shown time and time again that contrast and Dynamic Range trump resolution for most viewers. This was one of the key reasons why it took a very long time for electronic film production to really get to the point where it could match film. A big part of the increase in DR for video cameras came from the move from the traditional 2/3″ video sensor to much bigger super 35mm sensors with bigger pixels. Big pixels are one of the keys to good dynamic range and the laws of physics that govern this are not likely to change any time soon.

This is part of the reason why Arri have stuck with the same sensor for so long. They know that reducing the pixel size to fit more into the same space will make it hard to maintain the excellent DR their cameras are known for. This is in part why Arri have chosen to increase the sensor size by combining sensors. It’s at least in part why Red and Sony have chosen to increase the size of their sensors beyond super 35mm as they increase resolution. The pixels on the Venice sensor are around the same size as most 4K s35 cameras. 6K was chosen as the maximum resolution because that allows this same pixel size to be used, no DR compromise, but it necessitates a full frame sensor and the use of high quality full frame lenses.

So, if we want 8K with great DR it forces us to use ever bigger sensors. Yes, you will get a super shallow DoF and this may be seen as an advantage for some productions. But what’s the point of a move to higher and higher resolutions if more and more of the image is out of focus due to a very shallow DoF? Getting good, pin sharp focus with ever bigger sensors is going to be a challenge unless we also dramatically increase light levels. This goes against the modern trend for lower illumination levels. Only last week I was shooting a short film with a Venice and it was a struggle to balance the amount of the subject that was in focus with light levels, especially at longer focal lengths. I don’t like shots of people where one eye is in focus but the other clearly not, it looks odd, which eye should you choose as the in-focus eye?

And what about real world textures? How many of the things that we shoot really contain details and textures beyond 4K? And do we really want to see every pore, wrinkle and blemish on our actors faces or sets? too much resolution on a big screen creates a form of hyper reality. We start to see things we would never ever normally see as the image and the textures become magnified and expanded. this might be great for a science documentary but is distracting for a romantic drama.

If resolution really, really was king then every town would have an IMAX theater and we would all be shooting IMAX. 

Before 8K becomes normal and mainstream I believe HDR will be the next step. Consumers can see the benefits of HDR much more readily than 8K. Right now 4K is not really the norm, HD is. There is a large amount of 4K acquisition, but it’s not mainstream. The amount of HDR content being produced is still small. So first we need to see 4K become normal. When we get to the point that whenever a client rings the automatic assumption is that it’s a 4K shoot, so we won’t even bother to ask, that’s when we can consider 4K to be normal, but that’s not the case for most of us just yet. Following on from that the next step (IMHO) will be where for every project the final output will be 4K HDR. I see that as being at least a couple of years away yet.

After all that, then we might see a push for more 8K. At some point in the not too distant future 8K TV’s will be no more expensive than 4K ones. But I also believe that in-TV upscaling will be normal and possibly the preferred mode due to bandwidth restrictions. less compressed 4K upscaled to 8K may well look just as good if not better than an 8K signal that needs more compression.

8K may not become “normal” for a very long time. We have been able to easily shoot 4K for 6 years or more, but it’s only just becoming normal and Arri still have a tremendous following that choose to shoot at less than 4K for artistic reasons. The majority of Cinemas with their big screens are still only 2K, but audiences rarely complain of a lack of resolution. More and more content is being viewed on small phone or tablet screens where 4K is often wasted. It’s a story of diminishing returns, HD to 4K is a much bigger visual step than 4K to 8K and we still have to factor in how we maintain great DR.

So for the next few years at least, for the majority of us, I don’t believe 8K is actually desirable. many struggle with 4K workflows and the extra data and processing power needed compared to HD. An 8K frame is 4 times the size of a 4K frame. Some will argue that shooting in 8K has many benefits. This can be true if you main goal is resolution but in reality it’s only really very post production intensive projects where extensive re-framing, re-touching etc is needed that will benefit from shooting in 8K right now. It’s hard to get accurate numbers, but the majority of Hollywood movies still use a 2K digital intermediate and only around 20% of cinemas can actually project at more than 2K.

So in conclusion, in my humble opinion at least. 8K is more about the sales pitch than actual practical use and application. So people will use it – just because they can and it sounds impressive. But for most of us right now it simply isn’t necessary and it may well be a step too far.

Do I need to worry about 8K? was first posted on May 7, 2019 at 8:49 am.
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Beware multiple power supplies!!

From time to time someone will pop up on a forum or user group with tales of fried SDI boards, dead monitors or dead audio devices. Often the reason for the death of these units seems obscure. One day it all works fine, the next time the monitor is plugged in it stops working.

A common cause of these types of issue is the use of individual power supplies for each device. Most modern power supplies use a technology called “switch mode”. Most “wall wart” power supplies are switch mode. Computers use switch mode power supplies, they are probably the most common type of power supply in use today.

The problem with these power supplies is that the voltage they produce is not tied to a common earth or ground connection. A 12 volt power supply may have an output voltage that measures 12 volts across it’s positive and negative terminals, which is great. But the negative terminal might be many volts above “ground”. Used singly this is not normally a problem but if you use a couple of different power supplies with negative terminals floating at different voltages, if you connect them together current will flow from one to the other as the establish a common base voltage.

As an example if you have a monitor powered by one power supply and a camera powered by another, when you connect the monitor to the camera current may flow down the SDI or HDMI cable from one power supply to the other causing damage to the chips that process the SDI/HDMI signals.

Even if there is no damage this current can lead to audio hum or other electrical noise.

How can you prevent this?

First use only high quality power supplies. Wherever possible try to run everything off a single power supply. Powering the camera from a high capacity power supply and then feeding any connected accessories via D-Tap or Hirose outputs on the camera is good practice. Also powering everything by batteries helps. If you must use separate power supplies then connect everything together before connecting anything to the mains and before turning anything on. This should ensure that any current runs through the shield and ground paths in the cables rather than possibly travelling down the delicate signal part of a connection as you connect things together.

Beware multiple power supplies!! was first posted on May 4, 2019 at 8:34 pm.
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New Atomos Shogun 7 with Dolby Vision Out and 15 stop screen.

So this landed in my inbox today. Atomos are releasing what on paper at least is a truly remarkable new recorder and monitor, the Shogun 7.

For some time now the Atomos Inferno has been my go-to monitor. It’s just so flexible and the HDR screen is wonderful. But the new Shogun 7 looks to be quite a big upgrade.

image New Atomos Shogun 7 with Dolby Vision Out and 15 stop screen.

The screen is claimed to be able to display an astounding 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 15+ stops of dynamic range. That means you will be able to shoot in log with almost any camera and see the log output 1:1. No need to artificially reduce the display range, no more flat looking log or raw, just a real look at what you are actually shooting.

I’m off to NAB at the weekend and I will be helping out on the Atomos booth, so I will be able to take a good look at the Shogun 7. If it comes anywhere near to the specs in the press release it will be a must-have piece of kit whether you shoot on an FS5 or Venice!

Here’s the the press release:

Melbourne, Vic – 4 April, 2019:

The new Atomos Shogun 7 is the ultimate 7-inch HDR monitor, recorder and switcher. Precision-engineered for the film and video professional, it uses the very latest video technologies available. Shogun 7 features a truly ground-breaking HDR screen – the best of any production monitor in the world. See perfection on the all-new 1500nit daylight-viewable, 1920×1200 panel with an astounding 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 15+ stops of dynamic range displayed. Shogun 7 will truly revolutionize the on-camera monitoring game.

Bringing the real world to your monitor

With Shogun 7 blacks and colors are rich and deep. Images appear to ‘pop’ with added dimensionality and detail. The incredible Atomos screen uses a unique combination of advanced LED and LCD technologies which together offer deeper, better blacks than rival OLED screens, but with the much higher brightness and vivid color performance of top-end LCDs. Objects appear more lifelike than ever, with complex textures and gradations beautifully revealed. In short, Shogun 7 offers the most detailed window into your image, truly changing the way you create visually.

The Best HDR just got better

A new 360 zone backlight is combined with this new screen technology and controlled by the Dynamic AtomHDR engine to show millions of shades of brightness and color, yielding jaw-dropping results. It allows Shogun 7 to display 15+ stops of real dynamic range on-screen. The panel is also incredibly accurate, with ultra-wide color and 105% of DCI-P3 covered. For the first time you can enjoy on-screen the same dynamic range, palette of colors and shades that your camera sensor sees. 

On-set HDR redefined with real-time Dolby Vision HDR output

Atomos and Dolby have teamed up to create Dolby Vision HDR “live” – the ultimate tool to see HDR live on-set and carry your creative intent from the camera through into HDR post production. Dolby have optimised their amazing target display HDR processing algorithm and which Atomos have running inside the Shogun 7. It brings real-time automatic frame-by-frame analysis of the Log or RAW video and processes it for optimal HDR viewing on a Dolby Vision-capable TV or monitor over HDMI. Connect Shogun 7 to the Dolby Vision TV and magically, automatically, AtomOS 10 analyses the image, queries the TV, and applies the right color and brightness profiles for the maximum HDR experience on the display. Enjoy complete confidence that your camera’s HDR image is optimally set up and looks just the way you wanted it. It is an invaluable HDR on-set reference check for the DP, director, creatives and clients – making it a completely flexible master recording and production station.

“We set out to design the most incredibly high contrast and detailed display possible, and when it came off the production line the Shogun 7 exceeded even our expectations. This is why we call it a screen with “Unbelievable HDR”. With multi-camera switching, we know that this will be the most powerful tool we’ve ever made for our customers to tell their stories“, said Jeromy Young, CEO of Atomos.

blobid1_1554376631889 New Atomos Shogun 7 with Dolby Vision Out and 15 stop screen.

Ultimate recording

Shogun 7 records the best possible images up to 5.7kp30, 4kp120 or 2kp240 slow motion from compatible cameras, in RAW/Log or HLG/PQ over SDI/HDMI. Footage is stored directly to reliable AtomX SSDmini or approved off-the-shelf SATA SSD drives. There are recording options for Apple ProRes RAW and ProRes, Avid DNx and Adobe CinemaDNG RAW codecs. Shogun 7 has four SDI inputs plus a HDMI 2.0 input, with both 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 outputs. It can record ProRes RAW in up to 5.7kp30, 4kp120 DCI/UHD and 2kp240 DCI/HD, depending on the camera’s capabilities. 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes or DNxHR recording is available up to 4Kp60 or 2Kp240. The four SDI inputs enable the connection of most Quad Link, Dual Link or Single Link SDI cinema cameras. With Shogun 7 every pixel is perfectly preserved with data rates of up to 1.8Gb/s.

Monitor and record professional XLR audio

Shogun 7 eliminates the need for a separate audio recorder. Add 48V stereo mics via an optional balanced XLR breakout cable. Select Mic or Line input levels, plus record up to 12 channels of 24/96 digital audio from HDMI or SDI. You can monitor the selected stereo track via the 3.5mm headphone jack. There are dedicated audio meters, gain controls and adjustments for frame delay.

AtomOS 10, touchscreen control and refined body

Atomos continues to refine the elegant and intuitive AtomOS operating system. Shogun 7 features the latest version of the AtomOS 10 touchscreen interface, first seen on the award-winning Ninja V. Icons and colors are designed to ensure that the operator can concentrate on the image when they need to. The completely new body of Shogun 7 has a sleek Ninja V like exterior with ARRI anti-rotation mounting points on the top and bottom of the unit to ensure secure mounting. 

AtomOS 10 on Shogun 7 has the full range of monitoring tools that users have come to expect from Atomos, including Waveform, Vectorscope, False Color, Zebras, RGB parade, Focus peaking, Pixel-to-pixel magnification, Audio level meters and Blue only for noise analysis. 

Portable multi-cam live switching and recording for Shogun 7 and Sumo 19

Shogun 7 is also the ultimate portable touch-screen controlled multi-camera switcher with asynchronous quad-ISO recording. Switch up to four 1080p60 SDI streams, record each plus the program output as a separate ISO, then deliver ready-for-edit recordings with marked cut-points in XML metadata straight to your NLE. The current Sumo19 HDR production monitor-recorder will also gain the same functionality in a free firmware update. Sumo19 and Shogun 7 are the ideal devices to streamline your multi-camera live productions. 

Enjoy the freedom of asynchronous switching, plus use genlock in and out to connect to existing AV infrastructure. Once the recording is over, just import the xml file into your NLE and the timeline populates with all the edits in place. XLR audio from a separate mixer or audio board is recorded within each ISO, alongside two embedded channels of digital audio from the original source. The program stream always records the analog audio feed as well as a second track that switches between the digital audio inputs to match the switched feed. This amazing functionality makes Shogun 7 and Sumo19 the most flexible in-the-field switcher-recorder-monitors available.

Shogun 7 will be available in June 2019 priced at $US 1499/ €1499 plus local taxes from authorized Atomos dealers.

New Atomos Shogun 7 with Dolby Vision Out and 15 stop screen. was first posted on April 4, 2019 at 2:07 pm.
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Shooting Anamorphic with the Fujinon MK’s and SLR Magic 65 Anamorphot.

There is something very special about the way anamorphic images look, something that’s not easy to replicate in post production. Sure you can shoot in 16:9 or 17:9 and crop down to the typical 2.35:1 aspect ratio and sure you can add some extra anamorphic style flares in post. But what is much more difficult to replicate is all the other distortions and the oval bokeh that are typical of an anamorphic lens.

Anamorphic lenses work by distorting the captured image. Squeezing or compressing it horizontally, stretching it vertically. The amount of squeeze that you will want to use will depend on the aspect ratio of the sensor or film frame. With full frame 35mm cameras or cameras with a 4:3 aspect ratio sensor or gate you would normally use an anamorphic lens that squeezes the image by 2 times. Most anamorphic cinema lenses are 2x anamorphic, that is the image is squeezed 2x horizontally. You can use these on cameras with a 16:9 or 17:9 super35mm sensor, but because a Super35 sensor already has a wide aspect ratio a 2x squeeze is much more than you need for that typical cinema style final aspect ratios of 2.39:1.

For most Super35mm cameras it is normally better to use a lens with a 1.33x squeeze. 1.33x squeeze on Super35 results in a final aspect ratio close to the classic cinema aspect ratio of 2.39:1.

Traditionally anamorphic lenses have been very expensive. The complex shape of the anamorphic lens elements are much harder to make than a normal spherical lens. However another option is to use an anamorphic adapter on the front of an existing lens to turn it into an anamorphic lens. SLR Magic who specialise in niche lenses and adapters have had a 50mm diameter 1.33x anamorphic adapter available for some time. I’ve used this with the FS7 and other cameras in the past, but the 50mm diameter of the adapter limits the range of lenses it can be used with (There is also a 50mm 2x anamorphot for full frame 4:3 aspect ratio sensors from SLR Magic).

Now SLR Magic have a new larger 65mm adapter. The 1.33-65 Anamorphot has a much larger lens element, so it can be used with a much wider range of lenses. In addition it has a calibrated focus scale on it’s focus ring. One thing to be aware of with adapters like these is that you have to focus both the adapter and the lens you are using it on. For simple shoots this isn’t too much of a problem. But if you are moving the camera a lot or the subject is moving around a lot, trying to focus both lenses together can be a challenge.

DSC_0103 Shooting Anamorphic with the Fujinon MK's and SLR Magic 65 Anamorphot.
The SLR Magic 1.33-65 Anamorphot anamorphic adapter.

Enter the PD Movie Dual Channel follow focus.

The PD Movie Dual follow focus is a motorised follow focus system that can control 2 focus motors at the same time. You can get both wired and wireless versions depending on your needs and budget. For the anamorphic shoot I had the wired version (I do personally own a single channel PD Movie wireless follow focus). Setup is quick and easy, you simply attach the motors to your rods, position the gears so they engage with the gear rings on the lens and the anamorphot and press a button to calibrate each motor. It takes just a few moments and then you are ready to go. Now when you turn the PD Movie focus control wheel both the taking lens and the anamorphot focus together.

I used the anamorphot on both the Fujinon MK18-55mm and the MK50-135mm. It works well with both lenses but you can’t use focal lengths wider than around 35mm without the adapter some causing vignetting. So on the 18-55 you can only really use around 35 to 55mm. I would note that the adapter does act a little like a wide angle converter, so even at 35mm the field of view is pretty wide. I certainly didn’t feel that I was only ever shooting at long focal lenghts.

DSC_0099 Shooting Anamorphic with the Fujinon MK's and SLR Magic 65 Anamorphot.
The full rig. PMW-F5 with R5 raw recorder. Fujinon MK 18-55 lens, SLR Magic Anamorphot and PD Movie dual focus system.

Like a lot of lens adapters there are some things to consider. You are putting a lot of extra glass in front of you main lens, so it will need some support. SLR magic do a nice support bracket for 15mm rods and this is actually essential as it stops the adapter from rotating and keeps it correctly oriented so that your anamorphic squeeze remains horizontal at all times. Also if you try to use too large an aperture the adapter will soften the image. I found that it worked best between f8 and f11, but it was possible to shoot at f5.6. If you go wider than this, away from the very center of the frame you get quite a lot of softening image softening. This might work for some projects where you really want to draw the viewer to the center of the frame or if you want a very stylised look, but it didn’t suit this particular project.

The out of focus bokeh has a distinct anamorphic shape, look and feel. As you pull focus the shape of the bokeh changes horizontally, this is one of the key things that makes anamorphic content look different to spherical. As the adapter only squeezes by 1.33 this is as pronounced as it would be if you shot with a 2x anamorphic. Of course the other thing most people notice about anamorphic images is lens flares that streak horizontally across the image. Intense light sources just off frame would produce blue/purple streaks across the image. If you introduce very small point light sources into the shot you will get a similar horizontal flare. If flares are your thing it works best if you have a very dark background. Overall the lens didn’t flare excessively, so my shots are not full of flares like a JJ Abrams movie. But when it did flare the effect is very pleasing. Watch the video linked above and judge for yourself.

Monitoring and De-Squeeze.

When you shoot anamorphic you normally record the horizontally squashed image and then in post production you de-squeeze the image by compressing it vertically. Squashing the image vertically results in a letterbox, wide screen style image and it’s called “De-Squeeze”. You can shoot anamorphic without de-sqeezing the image provided you don’t mind looking at images that are horizontally squashed in your viewfinder or on your monitor. But these days you have plenty of monitors and viewfinders that can “de-squeeze” the anamorphic image so that you can view it with the correct aspect ratio. The Glass Hub film was shot using a Sony PMW-F5 recording to the R5 raw recorder. The PMW-F5 has the ability to de-squeeze the image for the viewfinder built in. But I also used an Atomos Shogun Inferno to monitor as I was going to be producing HDR versions of the film. The Shogun Inferno has both 2x and 1.33x de-squeeze built in so I was able to take the distorted S-Log3 output from the camera and convert it to a HDR PQ image and de-squeeze it all at the same time in the Inferno. This made monitoring really easy and effective.

I used DaVinci Resolve for the post production. In the past I might have done my editing in Adobe Premiere and the grading in Resolve. But Resolve is now a very capable edit package, so I completed the project entirely in Resolve. I used the ACES colour managed workflow as ACES means I don’t need to worry about LUT’s and in addition ACES adds a really nice film like highlight roll off to the output. If you have never tried a colour managed workflow for log or raw material you really should!

The SLR Magic 65-1.33 paired with the Fujinon MK lenses provides a relatively low cost entry into the world of anamorphic shooting. You can shoot anywhere from around 30-35mm to 135mm. The PD Movie dual motor focus system means that there is no need to try to use both hands to focus both the anamorphot and the lens together. The anamorphot + lens behave much more like a quality dedicated anamorphic zoom lens, but at a fraction of the cost. While I wouldn’t use it to shoot everything the Anamorphot is a really useful tool for those times you want something different.

Shooting Anamorphic with the Fujinon MK’s and SLR Magic 65 Anamorphot. was first posted on March 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm.
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Picture Profile Settings For The PXW-Z280

Sony’s new PXW-Z280 is a great compact camcorder. Having now spent even more time with one I have been looking at how to best optimise it.

It should be remembered that this is a 4K camcorder. So Sony are packing a lot of pixels onto the 3 sensors. As a result the camera does exhibit a little bit of noise at 0dB gain. No camera is noise free and we have become spoilt by the large sensor super 35mm cameras with big sensors, big pixels and very low noise levels.

Use -3dB Gain to reduce noise.

So I did a little bit of work with various settings in the camera to see if I could minimise the noise. The first thing was to test the camera at -3dB gain. On many cameras using negative gain will reduce the cameras dynamic range due to a reduction in the highlight recording range. But on the Z280 using -3dB of gain does not seem to adversely effect the dynamic range, but it does significantly reduce the noise. I found the noise reduction to be much larger than I would normally expect from a -3dB gain reduction. So my advice is – where possible use -3dB gain. The Z280 is pretty sensitive anyway, especially in HD so -3dB (which is only half a stop) is not going to cause problems for most shoots.

I fell that the cameras standard detail corrections result in some over sharpening of the image. This is particularly noticeable in HD where there is some ringing (over correction that gives a black or white overshoot) on high contrast edges. Dialling back the detail levels just a little helps produce a more natural looking image. It will appear a touch less “sharp” but in my opinion the images look a bit more natural, less processed and noise is very slightly reduced. Below are my suggested detail settings:

Z280 Detail Settings For HD.

Detail -12, Crispening -15, Frequency +18 lower.

Z280 Detail Settings For UHD(QFHD).

Detail -5, Crispening -11, Frequency +16

White Clip and Knee.

In the SDR mode the Z280 has a range of standard Rec-709 type gammas as well as Hypergammas 1 – 4. Like many modern digital camcorders, by default, all the SDR gammas except HG1 and HG2 record at up to 109%. This might cause problems for those going direct to air for broadcast TV. For direct to air applications you may need to consider changing the white clip setting. The default is 109% but for direct to air broadcast you should change this to 100%.

If working with the STD5 gamma (Rec-709) and a 100% clip point you will also want to modify the knee settings. You can either use the default auto knee or turn the auto knee off and change the knee point to 87 and slope to +25 to bring the highlights down to fit better with a 100% clip point. HG1 and HG2 are broadcast safe gammas, so these are another option for direct to air.


As well as Rec-709 gamma the camera has Sony’s Hypergammas. If using the Hypergammas it should be noted that the optimum exposure will result in a slightly darker image than you would have with normal 709. As a guide you should have skin tones around 60% and a white card would be around 75% for the best results. Exposing skin tones at 70% or brighter can result in flat looking faces with reduced texture and detail, so watch your skin tones when shooting with the Hypergammas.

The Z280 has four Hypergammas.

HG1 3250G36. This takes a brightness range the equivalent to 325% and compresses it down to 100% (clips at 100%). Middle grey would be exposed at 36% (G36). This gives a nice reasonably contrasty image with bright mid range and a moderate extension of the highlight range.

HG2 4600G30. Takes a brightness range of 460% and compresses down to 100% (clips at 100%). Middle grey is exposed at 30% (G30). This has a darker mid range than HG1 but further extends the highlights. Generally HG1 works better for less challenging scenes or darker scenes while HG2 works for high contrast, bright scenes. Both HG1 and HG2 are broadcast safe.

HG3 3259G40. This takes a brightness range the equivalent to 325% and compresses it down to 109% (clips at 109%). Middle grey would be exposed at 409% (G40). This gives a nice contrasty image with reasonably bright mid range and a moderate extension of the highlight range.

HG4 4609G33. Takes a brightness range of 460% and compresses down to 109% (clips at 109%). Middle grey is exposed at 33% (G33). This has a darker mid range than HG3 but further extends the highlights. Generally HG3 works better for less challenging scenes or darker scenes while HG4 works for high contrast, bright scenes.

Color and The Matrix.

If you don’t like the standard Sony colors and want warmer skin tones do try using the SMPTE-240M color matrix. You will find skin tones a bit warmer with more red than the 709 matrix.

To change the saturation (amount of color) you need to turn on the User Matrix and then you can use the User Matrix Level control to increase or decrease the saturation.

Many people find the standard Sony look to be a little on the yellow side. So I have come up with some settings for the user matrix that reduces the yellow and warms the image just a touch.


Matrix: ON. Adaptive Matrix: Off. Preset Matrix: ON. Preset
Select: ITU-709. User Matrix: ON. Level: 0. Phase: 0.

R-G: +10. R-B: +8. G-R: -15. G-B: -9. B-R: -5. B-G: -15.

So here are some suggested Z280 Picture Profile settings for different looks:

Note that these picture profile are similar to some of my FS7 profiles, so they will help match the two cameras in a multi-camera shoot. Use each of the setting below with either the HD or UHD(QFHD) detail settings given above if you wish to reduce the sharpening.


Designed as a pleasing general purpose look for medium to high contrast scenes. Provides a neutral look with slightly less yellow than the standard Sony settings. I recommend setting zebras to 60% for skin tones or exposing a white card at 72-78% for the best results.

Black: Master Black: -3.  Gamma: HG3 .  White Clip: OFF. 

Matrix: ON. Adaptive Matrix: Off. Preset Matrix: ON. Preset Select: ITU-709. User Matrix: ON. User Matrix Level: 0. Phase: 0.

R-G: +10. R-B: +8. G-R: -15. G-B: -9. B-R: -5. B-G: -15.


Designed as a pleasing general purpose look for high contrast scenes. Provides a neutral look with slightly less yellow than the standard Sony settings. I recommend setting zebras to 58% for skin tones or exposing a white card at 70-75% for the best results.

Black: Master Black: -3.  Gamma: HG3 .  White Clip: OFF. 

Matrix: ON. Adaptive Matrix: Off. Preset Matrix: ON. Preset Select: ITU-709. User Matrix: ON. User Matrix Level: 0. Phase: 0.

R-G: +10. R-B: +8. G-R: -15. G-B: -9. B-R: -5. B-G: -15.


A high dynamic
range look with film like color. Will produce a slightly flat looking image.
Colours are tuned to be more film like with a very slight warm tint. I
recommend settings zebras to 57% for skin tones and recording white at 70-75%
for the most “filmic” look.

Black: Master Black: -3.  Gamma: HG3 .  White Clip: OFF. 

Matrix: ON. Adaptive Matrix: Off. Preset Matrix: ON. Preset Select: SMPTE WIDE. User Matrix: ON. User Matrix Level: +5. Phase: 0.

R-G: +11. R-B: +8. G-R: -12. G-B: -9. B-R: -3. B-G: -12.


These setting increase dynamic range over the standard settings but also increase the colour and vibrance. Designed to be used for when a good dynamic range and strong colours are needed direct from the camera. Suggested zebra level for skin tones is 63% and white at approx 72-78%.

Black: Master Black: -3.  Gamma: HG3.  White Clip: OFF.

Matrix: ON. Adaptive Matrix: Off. Preset Matrix: ON. Preset Select: ITU-709. User Matrix: ON. User Matrix Level: +25. Phase: -5.

R-G: +12. R-B: +8. G-R: -11. G-B: -7. B-R: -5. B-G: -17.


These setting increase dynamic range over the standard settings but also increase the colour and vibrance. HG4 has greater dynamic range than HG3 but is less bright, so this variation is best for brighter high dynamic range scenes. Designed to be used for when a good dynamic range and strong colours are needed direct from the camera. Suggested zebra level for skin tones is 60% and white at approx 70-75%.

Black: Master Black: -3.  Gamma: HG4.  White Clip: OFF.

Matrix: ON. Adaptive Matrix: Off. Preset Matrix: ON. Preset Select: ITU-709. User Matrix: ON. User Matrix Level: +25. Phase: -5.

R-G: +12. R-B: +8. G-R: -11. G-B: -7. B-R: -5. B-G: -17.

AC-Punchy Pop Video.

A punchy, contrasty look with strong but neutral colors. Maybe useful for a music video, party or celebration.

Black: Master Black: -3.  Gamma: STD5 .  Auto Knee Off. Knee level 87. White Clip: OFF. 

Matrix: ON. Adaptive Matrix: Off. Preset Matrix: ON. Preset Select: ITU-709. User Matrix: ON. User Matrix Level: 20. Phase: 0.

R-G: +10. R-B: +8. G-R: -15. G-B: -9. B-R: -5. B-G: -15.

Picture Profile Settings For The PXW-Z280 was first posted on March 12, 2019 at 11:26 am.
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Sony’s financial report shows 2% YOY growth for its ‘Imaging Products and Solutions’ division

Editor’s note: Keep in mind that each company groups different products under their respective ‘Imaging’ category, so there may be slight differences in what products and services are offered in the financial details. However, the categories are broadly similar and comparable, and we’ve done our best to account for those differences using available information.’

If you were to look at the most recent financials of Canon, Nikon and a few other camera manufacturers, it would seem the camera industry as a whole is facing a crisis. But not everyone in the imaging market is struggling, as Sony’s latest financials show.

Sony has published its latest annual financial report and inside a number of interesting details have emerged. Sony’s 2019 fiscal year (2019FY), which ended March 31, 2019, saw increased sales of 14.6 billion yen for its Imaging Products and Solutions division for a total of 670.5 billion yen. This amounts to a two percent year-over-year (YOY) growth, accounting for loss due to currency conversion.

A small snapshot from Sony’s financial report showing the sales numbers (in millions of yen). On the left are the numbers are through March 31, 2018, while numbers bolded in the center are the numbers through March 31, 2019. The numbers on the right are the difference between the two years.

While two percent might not seem impressive, Nikon’s imaging division reported a 17.9 percent decrease while Canon reported an annual decrease of 11.3 percent YOY.

Sony specifically mentions in its report (starting on page 8) that ‘[the] increase was mainly due to an improvement in the product mix reflecting a shift to high value-added models such as mirrorless single-lens cameras and the interchangeable lens lineup, partially offset by a decrease in compact digital camera unit sales reflecting a contraction of the market.’ Sony also says reductions in operating costs helped to reduce to YOY numbers.

In a time when it seems nearly every other company manufacturing cameras is losing money, it seems Sony has found a way to stay in the green. Already this year, Canon’s first quarter (Q1) has shown a 17.9% decrease compared to Q1 last year and it’s already slashed profit forecasts by 20% for the 2019 fiscal year, citing smartphones as a major factor in the shrinking digital camera market. Both Sony and Nikon are yet to reveal their respective Q1 numbers for 2019, but it should shape up to be an interesting analysis.

The 10 Scariest Horror Movies of The 21st Century

For close to two decades now the 21st century has proven to be a great new era for horror fans as we’ve been experiencing something of a horror renaissance. Sure there have been sequels nobody asked for, franchises that just won’t die, and trends we’ve grown tired of (torture porn and zombie films, we’re looking at you!), but there’s also a wealth of artsy period pieces, pastiche chillers, and exceedingly excellent foreign imports that have had us howling with devilish delight and rejoicing the quality fright fare unspooling before us.

The following list wasn’t easy to settle upon in a mere ten titles, but it’s fair to say that the ten films represented here offer the highest scare ratios of anything to hit cinemas this century. These are the finest examples of impressive genre films streamlined to scare audiences silly, and if you feel that your favorite “scariest horror film of the 21st century” was unjustly ignored, please add it in the comments section below.


10. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity

Few expected a lucrative and legitimately frightening franchise from Israeli American filmmaker Oren Peli’s micro-budgeted found footage film, Paranormal Activity, and yet it went on to be a box office smash, scaring the piss out of viewers and garnering great reviews.

Sure, many thought the found-footage fad had run its course, but Peli cleverly updated the rather familiar conceit (thanks a lot Blair Witch!) for the more demanding and perhaps unsuspecting digital age.

Ratcheting up scares while relying on the simple use of a home video camera installed in a suburban bedroom – as well as urban myths around the potential of the Ouija board – Paranormal Activity prods and provokes primal fear and gooseflesh from the easily identifiable mundane world; a young couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) living in San Diego in a new and nondescript tract home gradually unravel at the hands of stealthy supernatural forces.

If you missed the bandwagon on this one (you can ignore the sequels, though they are kinda fun), it still makes for great at home viewing, just leave the lights ablaze and be prepared to ignore the noises of your own house settling.


9. I Saw the Devil (2010)

I Saw the Devil movie

South Korean director Kim Jee-woon and writer Park Hoon-jung know a thing or two about crafting an alternately shocking, knee-slapping, and viscerally engaging revenge-addled horror odyssey, and their audacious 2010 genre mashup, I Saw the Devil illustrates this with ghoulish glee while piling on a number of truly scary set pieces.

And speaking of pieces, after pieces of his missing fiancé, Jang Joo-yun (Oh San-ha) are found strewn near a local river and environs, trained secret agent for the National Intelligence Service Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee) becomes obsessed with tracking down her killer. And it’s not long before he does just that, and he lays one hell of a smackdown on the sick shit sack (Choi Min-sik), too.

But Kim has bigger designs for the killer, and after he brutally beats the snot out of him (complete with some upsetting Achilles tendon slashing action) he maliciously lets him go “free” so that a twisted cat and mouse game will ensue.

You’d think that I Saw the Devil’s cottoning to trendy torture porn, OTT violence (cannibalism features prominently), depraved sexual violence, and extreme gore would render the film unwatchable and yet it’s a shockingly effective, artfully and even gorgeously photographed affair (mad props to cinematographer Lee Mo-gae and editor Nam Na-yeong for their exemplary efforts), complete with characters that are utterly emotionally compelling.

For all its awful, stomach-churning content and nightmare fuel, I Saw the Devil is never less than compelling, and near impossible to look away from. This is an unrelenting genre picture that will have you dazed for days.


8. 28 Days Later (2002)

28 Days Later (2002)

Danny Boyle’s post-apocalyptic horror film 28 Days Later (with mad props to star screenwriter Alex Garland) reworks and revives the zombie genre by giving it political figuration, humanist tragedy, and style to spare.

Quicker than you can say “The Day of the Triffids”, Jim (Cillian Murphy), a bicycle courier, awakens in a London hospital from a coma 28 days after a contagion has hit humanity hard. This virus induces terrible rage in those affected via blood and saliva, so while technically not a zombie bacillus –– nerds, we hear you, it’s not your atypical zombie apocalypse –– the film uses all those familiar tropes in artful and terrifying new ways.

So Sunny Jim soon pairs with other survivors –– including Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson, and a breakout performance from the sensational Naomie Harris –– and the film focuses on their struggles and sorrows as they rise to occasion in a frightening new reality. Provocative, playful, and told with tireless energy, 28 Days Later is a great character-driven panic attack that hard-edged horror fans rightfully revere.


7. The Witch (2016)

The Witch

With perfect period detail and unsettling aplomb, writer/director Robert Eggers’ directorial debut The Witch is in the chilling tradition of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973) as fearsome religiosity mingles with stiff-necked puritanical fear.

Eggers carefully constructs this tale of supernatural horror in 17th Century New England where we are introduced to young Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), who lives with her parents and siblings in a remote farm, where their closest neighbors are Puritans who view the New Testament differently than they, and so they are essentially ostracized from their community.

When Thomasin’s baby brother goes missing the family fears he may have been abducted by a witch and then before you know it the family goat, Black Phillip, is apparently speaking some fucked up shit to Thomasin’s creepy younger twin siblings. As the slow-burning yarn skillfully unspools, the viewer is utterly immersed in a repressive, claustrophobic, and deeply chilling tale.

The production design adds great depth to the story, as do the strong performances, effective and authentic Jacobean dialect, the supremely unsettling sequences with witchcraft –– and the monotheistic Christian beliefs of Thomasin’s clan aren’t any cheerier –– making for a genre experience that really is quite unique.

The Witch is an original and upsetting historical horror film that would problem pair nicely with a screening of Michael Reeves’ classic Witchfinder General (1968), as both films contain ample frights instigated by a repressive society, a fear of feminine principles, misused power, and a climax that’s both devastating and shocking.


6. REC (2007)

rec 2007

What’s this? Another entry in the overdone found-footage subgenre? Sure, by the time 2007 rolled around it felt like the Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity films and imitators had run the concept into the well-trod ground. Well, leave it to Spanish writer/director team of Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza to give the found-footage freakout nightmarish new life with the seriously sinister, utterly off-the-rails rollercoaster ride, REC.

Set in one apartment building complex under quarantine and beset by a macabre and menacing virus, this is a fright film that leaves tangible dread lurking in every dark margin and gloom overwhelming so many of its tightly framed, smartly choreographed, and excruciatingly tense and intense shots.

REC is a relentless horror movie that plunges the viewer deeper and darker with each turn, extinguishing hope as it drags you down into its Byzantine and artfully nightmarish hellscape.

The 10 Most Powerful Movie Endings of All Time

According to several manuals of screenplays from the United States, a film is divided into three acts. The first: the beginning, the presentation of the film universe that will come to be explored during the duration of the film. The next: the development of a possible conflict presented in the first act; it is where the climax lies. The latter: the ultimate end, an epilogue; in this, the resolutions of the clashes created previously are the key of the moment.

Of course, a movie is fully analysed. But the last impression, the last glimmer, the final glance, is what marks the viewer. Some film endings capture the viewer both by surprise (“The Shining”), by the drama (“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”), by one last sigh (“The Revenant”) or perhaps by the redemption (“Gone with the Wind”).

As classic and melodramatic aspects of cinema, they cherish endings that cause intense and often dramatic emotions. Meanwhile, modern cinema searches for empty endings, reflecting, most of the time, on the inside of their characters.

On this list are dramatic, surrealist, poetic, and enigmatic endings. Here are 10 great movies with powerful endings.


10. The Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra, 2015)

Embrace of the Serpent

One of the most poetic pieces in the last few years, “The Embrace of the Serpent” is, without a doubt, a masterpiece of Latin American cinema. Ciro Guerra directs with as much propriety and delicacy needed to touch on such delicate points as colonization and exploration.

The movie is about the journey of Theo, a sick German explorer, and Karamakate, an Native, through the the Amazon jungle in a search for a rare and miraculous plant. Forty years later, another foreigner, Evan, takes the same journey with Karamakate.

At the end of the movie, they arrive to a mountain and Evan is able to taste the rare plant. In the moment, Karamakate applies the mixture on Evan, the explorer passes out, and there is a sequence of oniric and hallucinogenic images. They refer to the genesis of the universe, taking the movie away from its previous scenery; also, the camera floats among the mountains, while heavy music and ritualistic whispers can be heard in the background.

The whole movie is black and white, until Even passes out. From this point on, “The Embrace of the Serpent” starts having color, with labyrinth forms that reminds one of a serpent’s movement. Such hallucinations, conducted in a masterful way, gift the viewer with oniric projections caused by the magical plant.


9. Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)

blow up

One of the only three English-language movies from the director, “Blow-Up” was a manifest of the ‘60s. Fed up of living in an artificial world, Thomas, a well-known fashion photographer, ends up shocked by a photo of a possible murder. Chased by models and by a mysterious woman, Thomas becomes increasingly apathetic about the world he is living in.

The movie ends with a group of mimes doing mimicries of an imaginary tennis match in a park. Under the puzzled look of the photographer, the group keeps playing, until the supposed tennis ball is thrown out of the court. They all stare at Thomas; he, feeling uneasy, goes to the lawn and picks up the ball, giving it back to the mimes. Still observing the match, he starts hearing the ball bouncing on the tennis court.

Here, Thomas is in the middle of a crisis. The monotony of his life took him to the limit; he doesn’t know if the murder really happened or if it was just a projection of his unconscious, striving for some action. He identifies himself with the mimes, who make up actions to satisfy their unexciting existences. When he least expects it, he starts believing the mimes’ fictitious match. When just the crudity of life does not satisfy someone, they try to do something more dynamic out of it, even if it costs them their sanity.


8. Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper, 1969)


Dennis Hopper, as well as a very great actor, proved himself a virtuous director by performing his highest work with “Easy Rider.” Placing on the screen a small part of the hippie culture of the United States, the director marked a whole generation of young people who were inspired by the daring and courage of the two protagonists of this piece. Certainly, its impact came together with the fantastic choice of soundtrack, which still echoes in the imaginations of old young hippies.

“Easy Rider” tells the story of two bikers, Billy and Wyatt, who cross the southern U.S. to make a drug sale. Finishing the deal, the two return to travel incessantly through the country as fast as they can to arrive in time for Mardi Gras, one of the most famous celebrations in the world. During their arduous journey, the pair crosses paths with eccentric figures who expose, in their own way, a piece of American society in the 1960s.

Coming to the end of his journey – after acid trips, murder, and involvement with prostitutes – Billy and Wyatt tread their way back. In the midst of this, they encounter two men in a van who, when analyzing their hippie look and non-standards, shoot at the protagonists, killing them. Extremely abrupt, this end is potent and highlights, in addition to the bias of society’s great slice of hippie ideology, the very volatility of human life.

After going through great adventures and transcendent experiences, the two end up murdered by a single shot, fired by a completely random person. Unlike the entire film, Hopper leads the scene with rawness, trying to exploit the maximum amount of realism present at the time, thus making a harsh denunciation against American social organization.


7. The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)

Alongside Godard, Varda and Resnais, François Truffaut is one of the great masters of the French New Wave. Before becoming a filmmaker, he was a critic and writer of the legendary film magazine Cahiers du Cinema.

During his childhood, he spent much time inside the French Cinematheque watching and analyzing American cinema classics. With that, he created an exceptional cinematographic repertoire that helped him build his virtuous career as a film director.

Considered the opening film of the French Nouvelle Vague, “The 400 Blows” is the most autobiographical film from the French director, with the actor Jean-Pierre Léaud playing Antoine Doinel.

In this film, the young Doinel rebels against impositions from his family and his archaic school education. By breaking family ties and committing small criminal offenses, the boy faces an authoritarian and repressive boarding school that makes him rethink his interpersonal relationships.

Perhaps one of the most iconic finales in movie history. Somewhat simple, the end of “The 400 Blows” shows, poetically and intimately, Doinel running alone toward the sand on a beach. There would be no more perfect scene to close such a work of art.

Here, the loneliness and teenage angst of the protagonists are explored with the famous close shot of Leaud’s face. Running toward the immensity of the sea, the unknown, the scary, the enchanting, Doinel traces his tortuous path.


6. The Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973)

Alejandro Jodorowsky is a complete artist: a poet, writer, filmmaker, and actor. Based in Chile but with family of European origin, the director based his career both in Mexico and in the United States.

Working from the absurd and psychedelia, Jodorowsky is considered one of the most megalomaniac filmmakers in history. His utopian project to adapt the iconic book “Dune” counted on several stars (like Salvador Dalí) and a budget completely outside his standards.

The director’s most acclaimed work is, without a shadow of a doubt, “The Holy Mountain.” In this, a thief, with strong similarities to Jesus Christ, walks through a strange and religious city.

Filled with Christian and pagan symbols, the protagonist travels through destroyed scenarios and unimaginable beings. One day, a spiritual mentor – played by Jodorowsky himself – leads him to an enclosure with seven more people, each representing a planet in the solar system. They must ascend to the top of the Holy Mountain and take the place of the Gods.

The end of this maximal work of surrealism is totally the antagonism of what was expected. There is no clash between mortals and gods. There is, however, a clash between film and viewer. Upon arriving on the mountain, Jodorowsky presents a quick dialogue between the master and his apprentices, and then reveals what he least expects in a film: the camera itself.

In a master shot, the entire team is exposed and the entire cast looks directly into the center of the lens. Were the spectators the gods? Or the apprentices of Jodorowsky’s character?

10 Great Recent Sci-fi Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

Science fiction is a versatile genre. It could be a medium for a political analysis of a society or a tool for higher entertaining. The power and the possibilities of this genre are infinite and – year after year – new movies raise the bar higher.

This is a selection of recent overlooked films – from typical genre movies to the more sophisticated art house pictures – that could catch the eye of passionate estimators and satisfy every taste and need.


1. One Point Zero aka Paranoia 1.0 (2004)

One Point O (2004)

In an unknown dystopian future, Simon (Jeremy Sisto) works as a computer programmer for a big corporation; his most recent assignment is creating a code for an important program.

Suddenly, he starts receiving empty packages directly in his apartment, without knowing the sender. As his paranoia starts to grow, he continues to receive these mysterious packages and he’s worried about the fact that somebody can enter his house. He begins to suspect of his neighbors: Derrick (Udo Kier), who built an artificial intelligence robot head; a nameless man (Bruce Payne), who is in charge of a virtual reality sex game. Moreover, he meets Trish (Deborah Kara Unger) and they develop a relationship. He’ll have to solve the mystery behind these empty packages.

The movie has all the classic ingredients of the cyberpunk genre: a dystopian environment, powerful corporations trying to rule the citizens, the role of technology in the development of society, the pros and cons of progress.

The sense of paranoia – which is always overwhelming throughout the movie – is shown visually by the particular cinematography: the color yellow is predominant, both in the inside and outside scenes, heightening the toxic condition of the places the characters are living in and giving a claustrophobic feel to the images.

Due to the low budget, the special effects are minimal, but the sci-fi imagery is still powerful, thanks to the impeccable production design and settings. An overlooked movie that should be rediscovered by sci-fi and cyberpunk fanatics.


2. Sleep Dealer (2008)

Sleep Dealer (2008)

Set predominantly in Mexico, “Sleep Dealer” tells the story of three characters: Memo Cruz, a young man who wants to escape from his disadvantaged life in the small town of Santa Ana Del Rio, Oaxaca; Luz Martínez, a novice writer who meets Memo during his journey; and Rudy Ramirez, an American soldier of Mexican descent, who will enter Memo’s life in a dramatic and turbulent way.

Moreover, the world is dominated by powerful corporations that use technological developments to maximize their profit and enslave the workers through labor. Although the movie was made with a low budget, director Alex Rivera is able to create a coherent and exciting setting, with a great use of neon lights that give us the idea of an artificial and machine-driven world.

Don’t let the poor CGI distract you from the real essence of this film. This is a political movie: it deals with multiple themes, that are, more than ever, current in today’s society. Immigration and human rights; technology and production system; social networks and new forms of connection; capitalism and its sustainability.

Even though it seems that “Sleep Dealer” talks about everything awful and terrible that this world is leading to – evoking in us a sense of pessimism and making us uncomfortable and confused by the quantity of the themes – the outcome is brilliant, far from being chaotic or hazy. There’s also a sense of hope, as if nothing is lost and everything could be changed with a great dose of goodwill. A sci-fi combative tale for this upcoming dystopian world.


3. Dharma Guns (2010)


Overall, the most difficult and enigmatic movie on the list. If you’re looking for a linear and rational picture to entertain you, please skip over. After a water-skiing accident, Stan van der Decken wakes up from a coma in the doctor Lisandro Ewers’ clinic. He decides to undergo hypnosis sessions and finds out he’s the heir of the strange professor Starkov.

It’s funny to say, but the plot is irrelevant; these types of movies are not built on orthodox screenplays with linear passages. Directed by Frédéric-Jacques Ossang, “Dharma Guns” is a slow, experimental, and cryptic journey of images, shot in a wonderful black and white that could remind us the greatest 1940s and 1950s noir movies, with multiple philosophical and poetic layers.

The level of conceptualism of the acting and the sequences could be an homage to Jean-Luc Godard, one of the best exponents of the Nouvelle Vague movement and a master of conceptual cinema.

With its intricate development and its uncommercial attitude, this movie is definitely polarizing and it could evoke only radical feelings of love or hate.

This view could be a great surprise or a disappointing failure. It’s a chance you have to take.


4. Generation P (2011)

“Generation P” is a drug-infused trip through the recent history of Russia, describing the passage – which occurred in the early 1990s – from a socialist to a free market capitalist society.

Babylen Tatarsky starts to work in a advertising agency. He makes a good living through this new job, and to enhance his creativity, he begins to take drugs, especially cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms, and LSD. Due to the narcotics, he experiences trips that help him with his job. At the same time, he gets in touch with a mysterious and secret cult, based on Babylonian myths.

This independent Russian movie, directed by Victor Ginzburg, is definitely one of the most peculiar and imaginative on this list. At times cryptic and incomprehensible, but also funny and entertaining, “Generation P” is a caustic and sharp critique of the type of society built after the fall of Soviet Union.

The promises of freedom and democracy were completely disillusioned by the new political power; just like anywhere else, a small number of powerful and extremely rich personalities took control of the country. In this movie, with a touch of dystopian style, the advertising agency where Tatarsky works seems to control the main political and economical decisions of the country – and made their own interests.

Out of control and mesmerizing, this picture has it all: a great captivating screenplay, well-done technical characteristics, and a good touch of positive madness. An absolute cult film.


5. Love (2011)

Love (2011)

1864, American Civil War. Captain Lee Briggs – fighting for the loyalists of the Union – receives a command from his captain: he has to embark on a mission to find and analyze a mysterious object that fell on Earth near their military base.

2039, ISS (International Space Station). Lee Miller – an American astronaut – is sent to the space station alone to examine the possibility of using the ISS again, after it was abandoned 20 years earlier.

Soon after, Miller loses all radio contact with the Mission Control Center on Earth, remaining isolated on the station with no instruction or orders. He’ll have to fight to maintain physical and mental health, without becoming insane.

“Love” was an ambitious project made by the American rock band Angel & Airwaves, who co-produced the movie and composed the soundtrack, and director William Eubank in his debut.

The movie doesn’t suffer from the low budget: the settings, the cinematography, and the CGI effects are well crafted. It’s amazing when you realize that most of the set was built in the backyard of Eubank parents’ house and that the total budget was half a million dollars.

While taking inspiration from masterpieces like “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “Solaris” (1972) and “Moon” (2009), the film is able to create its own universe without copying the aforementioned movies, and staying original in its content. The space-influenced music of the soundtrack perfectly supports the ethereal and dreamy atmosphere of the screenplay, with its illogical and surprising development of the story.

In conclusion, this art house gem has definitely something to say: it’s genuinely intellectual, without being snobbish or totally inaccessible. Great form for a great substance.

10 Movies To Watch When You Want Something Profound

Cinema, an art of image and sound, can provide reflexive, philosophical experiences in a specific way, that no other art can manage in the same manner. There is a line of filmmakers that have understood and treated cinema as an adult art capable of exploring in depth the most serious questions about life and death. Here are ten of the greatest films of this kind of cinema.


1. Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952)


Akira Kurosawa is justly famous for his samurai films, among which there are some absolute masterpieces such as “Seven Samurai” and “Ran”. But outside the warrior genre he also made some superb films, of which “Ikiru” is perhaps the best one.

It tells the story of a man that after leading a shallow existence and having worked for the Government as a civil servant for many years in a perfunctory way, without caring for the effects of his actions and omissions, has to face a hard situation: he is diagnosed cancer and told he’s got only a year to live, at most. At the beginning, he doesn’t know how to react to the notice. He just gets drunk, gambles and goes to the red light district. He has never thought of the big questions of life, let alone of death, and now, all of a sudden, has to come to terms with the incredible news.

In a subtle movement, Kanji Watanabe (magnificently played by Takashi Shimura) becomes aware of what a nonsensical waste his life has been, without really taking care of anything nor anyone, just having a family because it’s the normal thing to do and having a secure job as a clerk because one doesn’t want to take chances.

And he feels the urge to give some sense to his life before dying. In his work he can make decisions that benefit the people, and for the first and last time he decides to do something substantial for the others. His last months of life will be devoted to help poor people in a very concrete manner.

The closing shot, one of the most discretely transcendent of all the story of cinema, conveys the real import of one man’s decision to do the right thing and fulfil his main duty, not as a clerk, but as a human being.

It is very important to stress that both the screenplay and Shimura’s interpretation are very nuanced, which makes a profound effect on the viewer.


2. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizogouchi, 1954)

Sansho the Bailiff

“Sansho the Bailiff”, the greatest masterpiece by Japanese director Kenji Mizogouchi, strangely has as a title the name not of the hero but of the villain we hate and despise. The film is set in the 11th century, in a feudal society marked by violence and death.

A honest district administrator has had to flee after antagonizing Sansho, the runner of a camp of forced labor. His wife is made prisoner and sent to an island, where she is sold into prostitution. His son (Zushio) and his daughter (Anju) are made slaves to Sansho. After ten years, Zushio has become as cruel and brutal as Sansho, for whom he works as a foreman.

The cruelty inflicted by Sansho and Zushio to the human beings turned into slaves is unspeakable and unbearable. Probably, it reflects the brutality of the prison camps in Japan during World War II, that Mizogouchi knew.

The film consists mainly of the process of Zushio coming back to the honesty his father hasd instilled in him as a child, and of tearing off the hatred and bitterness that have gone so deep into his heart. It is a film about how to give up sheer brutality and become human, as long as we give a positive meaning to this concept.

There are many painful moments in the film, there are deaths and tortures. It is a film harder to see than any explicitly violent current film, because it deals with evil in an adult way. At the same time, the pure poetry of its images, the long takes, the elegant movement of camera so characteristic of the director, the natural interpretation of the actors, the fusion of nature and humanity, the lyricism of so many of its moments, make the wound still deeper.

And yes, it is a redeeming film, not only for Zushio, but for any conscious viewer, and for humanity if it could see it as a whole.


3. The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick, 1998)

If asked about the best war movies, many cinema lovers will answer in the first two places “Paths of Glory” by Kubrick and “Apocalypse Now” by Coppola. Two great films, of course. Shall we add to them “The Thin Red Line”, an experimental film by Terrence Malick where the main point is not action but philosophical reflection, the question about violence human beings inflict to each other?

Set in World War II, in the Pacific Guadalcanal Campaign, the film shows how a company of American soldiers try to take a hill of the island from the Japanese forces. There are many deaths and serious injuries, many soldiers crawling through the tropical rainforest among tall grass blades trying not to be seen by the Japanese soldiers that are shooting to them with machine guns from the hilltop.

Combined with a gorgeous cinematography, we listen to the soldiers’ voices over asking themselves what the hell they are doing there, what is all this mess about. The lyric images of the island, even of the American soldiers (a poetry abruptly interrupted from time to time by the death of a man) are finely coupled with the quiet, musing voices and their monologues of philosophical import. But one has the feeling that the reflections belong more to the director (who also wrote the screenplay) than to the soldiers, because they are from a mature, learned person, not from young, inexpert privates.

Despite this insufficient development of some individual characters, a great philosophical feature about the root of violence.


4. My Night at Maud’s (Eric Rohmer, 1969)

French New Wave director Eric Rohmer is famous for having made films where characters talk to great extents trying to understand the others and themselves. Often, these conversations are almost like Platonic dialogues, where few characters try to make their point and to reach an agreement about the questions they feel more important. Often, the question is love.

The most accomplished film by Rohmer is “My Night at Maud’s”, that belongs to a series of six films entitled Moral Tales by Rohmer, but is an independent work that can be seen on its own. Placed in Clermont-Ferrand, in the center of France, it shows the dilemmas of a catholic man of 34 years (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who feels attracted at the same time by two women.

One is a stranger he sees at church while both are attending mass, and with whom he shares the need to experience the transcendence in earthly life (Rohmer himself was a catholic). The other is Maud, a divorcee he meets through a friend who is a philosophy teacher and her lover. The three of them have dinner at Maud’s, and since it is winter and it is snowing heavily, the man, who lives out of the city, stays the night at Maud’s while the philosopher, who is drunk and lives close by, leaves.

The central fragment of the film, as the title announces, is this night at Maud’s, where both characters speak their minds about what they expect from a love relationship. The fine nuances of their viewpoints, the mature look at their former relationships, make this a dialogue worth following.

The actor and actress are superb, with an interplay of looks and silences that says as much as the words. And the cinematic work that captures all the details of the body language and the way the two bodies occupy the space of one only room (the living room at Maud’s) is splendid.


5. My Dinner with André (Louis Malle, 1981)


“My dinner with André”, by another French director, Louis Malle (this having made an American career), is a tour de force comprising only two characters, two friends that meet to have dinner at a restaurant after not having seen each other for many years. One is a playwright (Wally, played by Wallace Shawn) that can’t have his plays produced, and has to make both ends meet doing odd jobs.

The other is a theatre director (André, played by André Gregory) that left everything and had some mystical experiences in different parts of the world (Poland, England, the Orient) while looking for the sense of life.

These experiences have affected him deeply, have showed him a secret dimension of existence, have enlightened him in a spiritual sense. Now, these experiences have ceased to happen, and the director is left haunted by the memory of them.

And we have more than 100 minutes of looking at and listening to both of them while they have dinner at a restaurant, without even getting up from the table to go to the toilet. The first part of the conversation (about 60 minutes) consists basically of André describing his mystical experiences, while Wally listens and eats. All very New Age and intriguing.

Then, increasingly, there is an interchange between them, where they talk about the main aspects of their lives: experimental theatre, relationship with their wives, the frustrating vacuum of social intercourse, what one should expect from life.

Wally emerges as a lover of the little things of life, of staying with her wife and finding his coffee at the table in the morning. André looks for something deeper, or more transcendent, the spiritual level. Both of them understand each other, are sympathetic to what the other cherishes, while holding their ground. “My Dinner with André” is a film about listening, about communication, about friendship.

10 Movie Sequels You Didn’t Know Are Coming In 2019

While 2019 seems like the year of reboots/remakes (“The Lion King”, “Aladdin”, “Dumbo”, “Hellboy”, “Pet Sematary”, “Child’s Play”, “Joker” and many others come to mind), Hollywood hasn’t forgotten about sequels either. In fact, there are enough sequels getting released this year that one might miss some of them on the way.

For this list, we’ve ordered by their USA release date 10 of the most promising sequels which you might not know are soon getting a release. Let us know in the comments what other sequels are coming in 2019 and we might not have heard about.


1. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (May 17th)

The third film in the “John Wick” series is set to be released this month and will see Keanu Reeves returning as the titular character. This time, the legendary hitman will have to fight his way out of New York after a 14 million dollars price tag which is put on his head makes him the target of some of the most dangerous assassins around the world.

Stylish, action-packed and wildly entertaining, the first two “John Wick” films have been among our favorite action thrillers of the last years. Recently, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” was screened to members of the press ahead of the film’s release and the reactions have been positive, with viewers describing it as awesome and a film which will please the fans of the franchise. So far, it looks like the third “John Wick” movie won’t disappoint.


2. Godzilla: King of The Monsters (May 31st)

The plot for “Godzilla: King of Monsters”, the sequel to 2014’s “Godzilla”, reads as follows: “The heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.”

While our expectations aren’t set too high for this movie, based on the trailers we’ve got so far, “Godzilla: King of Monsters” doesn’t look too bad for a popcorn movie featuring giant monsters.

The CGI and cinematography are pretty good, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Charles Dance, Sally Hawkins, and Kyle Chandler are all part of the cast and the director is Michael Dougherty, whose 2007 horror-comedy “Trick ‘r Treat” is one of our favorite Halloween films, while his 2015 Christmas horror “Krampus” is somewhat of a guilty pleasure.


3. The Secret Life of Pets 2 (June 7th)

The sequel to 2016’s “The Secret Life of Pets” is going to be released this summer and will continue the adventures of Max and his pet friends. This time, Max (now voiced by Patton Oswalt) and his owner Katie (Ellie Kemper) go on a countryside family trip where Max meets Rooster (voiced by Harrison Ford), a farm dog which will help him overcome his fears.

Meanwhile, Gidget the Pomeranian (Jenny Slate) ventures in an apartment filled with cats trying to rescue Max’s favorite toy and Snowball the bunny (Kevin Hart) is convinced that he is a real superhero after his owner starts dressing him in superhero pajamas.

Entertaining, funny and probably the cutest animated film we’ve seen lately, “The Secret Life of Pets” was one of 2016’s biggest box-office hits. We hope that “The Secret Life of Pets 2” won’t disappoint.


4. Toy Story 4 (June 21st)

Wait, what? The “Toy Story” franchise hasn’t ended? Well, it seems not. After the huge success of 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, which revolved around a 17-year-old Andy who nearly forgot about his favorite toys Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody and their friends, Disney/Pixar decided to continue the toys’ adventures with their new owner Bonnie, the girl who received Andy’s toys at the end of the last film.

“Toy Story 4 ” will be set some years after the events of the third film, when Buzz, Woody and the rest of the toys are faced with a new problem after Bonnie builds Forky, a new toy who doesn’t want to be a toy and has an existential crisis.

It’s been 10 years between “Toy Story 2” and its 2010 sequel “Toy Story 3”, and now – as crazy as it sounds – another 9 years have passed. Back in 2010, we thought that animations couldn’t get more realistic, but the fast advancements of CGI are visible in the trailer for “Toy Story 4”. From what we’ve seen, the film looks amazing and nearly makes the 2010 third installment in the franchise look dated. We can’t wait to see the new “Toy Story” on the big screens.


5. Annabelle Comes Home (June 28th)

The first “Annabelle” film wasn’t good at all, but “Annabelle: Creation” was a huge step-up and a perfectly fine horror film. We really hope that the upcoming “Annabelle Comes Home” will not disappoint.

This new entry in “The Conjuring” franchise is directed and written by Gary Dauberman, the man who also wrote the scripts for the previous “Annabelle” movies, the 2017 “It” film, the upcoming “It: Chapter 2” and last year’s “The Nun” (but that is nothing to be proud about).

The film’s synopsis released by Warner Bros reads as follows: “Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind sacred glass and enlisting a priest’s holy blessing. But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target – the Warren’s ten-year-old daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace), and her babysitters (Madison Iseman and Katie Sarife)”.

It doesn’t sound like something we haven’t seen before, but frankly, we aren’t expecting originality from a film about a possessed doll. If it will have a coherent script, good acting, and some decent scares, it’s fine by us.

Pomfort Silverstack Offload Manager 1.1 – Now With Parallel Transfers

Back in 2018, Pomfort released their standalone offloading tool Sliverstack Offload Manager. Now version 1.1 is ready and it comes with a small, yet powerful feature: Offload footage from multiple sources in parallel, increasing your workflow significantly while maintaining the rock-solid checksum verification, of course.

Offload Manager

Pomfort is known for their high-end software covering everything a professional DIT might need on set. The relatively new Silverstack Offload Manager uses the same offloading and verification engine as the mighty Silverstack / Silverstack XT but without anything beyond offloading and reporting. If you are new to the Silverstack Offload Manager, you can read (and watch) our coverage here. Just a word of warning for Windows or Linux users: Silverstack Offload Manager is Mac only.

Pomfort Silverstack Offload Manager 1.1

Version 1.1 now adds a small yet mighty feature: parallel offloading from multiple sources. You can define how many sources you need and then just add offloading jobs to the (parallel) queue. This feature depends on quite powerful hardware of course. Just adding a multi USB hub to one single USB port won’t get you blazing fast transfer speeds. However, if your machine can provide the needed performance and USB or Thunderbolt lanes, this feature will dramatically speed up your offloading workflow.

Everything else stays about the same: Rock-solid checksum verification, extended reporting and the streamlined interface. I personally like the UI very much. I think it’s clean, yet provides sufficient information at a glance. Other solutions such as Hedge for example offer an even cleaner UI but sometimes I find it too minimal.

Pricing – Perpetual vs. Temporary Licences

Pomfort Silverstack Offload Manager is only available as a one-year or as a short-term license. You can’t purchase a perpetual license. This is of course unfortunate but it is as it is. If you’re using such a software all day, every day, the $139 (119 €) asking for a 1-year license might offer a good value. But if you need the Offload Manager just for one project, a short-term license ( 14 days for $35 / 29 € or one month for $49 / 42 €) might be a better fit. Bundled with these licenses comes free e-mail support and access to Pomfort’s comprehensive knowledge base. Licenses can be migrated to other Macs, too. You will also get all updates within your licensed timeframe, of course.

Offload Manager

To ease the pain, the clock only starts ticking when you actually activate your purchased license, yo you can buy now and activate it the minute you need it on set. Furthermore, all these temporary licenses will not renew automatically, so this isn’t a subscription.

Link: Pomfort Website

What do you think? Do you use any offloading software? Which one? Let us know in the comments below!

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