Last year you may recall that we brought you a post about the Octopus Camera from Octopus cinema. The Octopus Camera uses non-proprietary hardware and software and has been built from the ground up to be an open platform with removable and upgradable parts. What’s new? The project is still going and Octopus cinema has … Continued
Last time, I talked about the problem of judder—the stuttering or strobing that occurs when there’s fast movement in a scene. The movement may be caused by fast camera movement or by fast movement of objects in a scene—like vehicles. Judder is even more pronounced as we move to more HDR finishing.
At the Hollywood Professional Association’s Tech Retreat in February, Pixelworks discussed their TrueCut motion grading workflow. By analyzing each frame in a shot, the software can smooth out the judder.
The workflow process begins with powerful workstations (either local or cloud-based) analyzing scenes that may need to be adjusted. This isn’t a simple task. Proprietary algorithms perform complex motion analysis. This isn’t a button press and get some coffee. It takes time.
Once the analysis is complete, the TrueCut software integrates with color grading software like DaVinci Resolve or Baselight. Preset options for correct judder are presented for each shot for quick decisions. Or for more creative control, there’s a software control panel (shown at the top of this article).
One way to offset judder is by increasing motion blur. The control panel allows you to control motion blur via changes to the shutter angle. Yes, changing the perceived shutter angle in post is possible.
Another control is something Pixelworks calls judder angle. This control reduces the appearance of judder, not by motion blur but through pixel interpolation based on the prior analysis of the scene. Between adjusting shutter angle and judder angle, a motion grader can use TrueCut to do a shot-by-shot motion grade for a film.
The demo at HPA showed removing motion blur, adding motion blur, and—more importantly—dialing down the judder. And while almost completely removing judder effects is an option, visually it takes the scene from film to video.
Currently, motion grading occurs during the color grading session. This type of grading, like color grading, really involves creative decisions. I’m told directors/cinematographers have different opinions on the best motion grade for each shot just as they do with color.
As this process is used for more and more films, will we see motion grading move to a new position? Will we see Motion Grader in the credits?
NVIDIA has announced the arrival of ten ‘Studio’ laptops announced that use Intel’s newly-released 10th generation H-series mobile processors. The NVIDIA RTX Studio-branded laptops include the company’s newest GeForce RTX Super GPUs. The RTX Studio notebooks come from Acer, Gigabyte, MSI and Razer, with new RTX Studio laptops from HP to be announced in the coming weeks.
All the announced RTX Studio laptops include NVIDIA’s flagship RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU and Intel’s 10th generation H-series mobile processors. Each Studio laptop is designed and catered to creatives, and thus include features important to creative enthusiasts and professionals. For example, the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel and ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro laptops have built-in Wacom pen support and include color-accurate touchscreen displays. The MSI Creator and Razer Blade 15 Studio display 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, which is important for videographers. It is worth noting that some RTX Studio notebooks include 100 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space as well.
In our coverage of Intel’s new H-series mobile processors, (LINK) we discussed the advantages of maximum CPU speed for photography applications. For video editors, GPU plays a more significant role, which is where NVIDIA’s new RTX Super GPUs come in. More than 45 applications support NVIDIA’s RTX acceleration to improve performance, including Adobe After Effects, Lightroom, Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Popular video-centric software such as Cinema 4D, Davinci Resolve, Redcine-X Pro and Vegas Pro also support RTX acceleration.
|More than 45 applications include RTX acceleration to improve performance. Click to enlarge. Image credit: NVIDIA|
Alongside today’s announcement, NVIDIA published video editing performance gains users can expect with the new GeForce RTX Super GPUs when compared to Apple’s latest 16-inch MacBook Pro. Click to enlarge the chart.
|Click to enlarge. Image credit: NVIDIA|
With RTX Studio laptops being designed specifically for creative professionals, they will be bundled with three months of Adobe Creative Cloud for a limited time. This offer is valid for both new and existing Adobe customers.
For photographers, one of the most important components of their computer is the processor (CPU). When considering how software such as Adobe Lightroom performs, maximum single and multi-core CPU performance is critical. This makes Intel’s announcement today that it is releasing the world’s fastest mobile processor particularly exciting for creatives on the go.
The 10th generation Intel Core H-Series introduces half a dozen H-Series mobile processors, including four which can surpass 5 GHz frequency from a single core in Turbo performance mode. These chips are built using Intel’s 14nm Comet Lake architecture, rather than the 10nm process that Intel teased at CES earlier this year. The top of the line processor, the Intel Core i9-10980HK, has a base clock speed of 2.4 GHz and can reach 5.3 GHz speeds at its maximum performance. This processor, along with the 5.1 GHz i7-10875H, delivers 16 threads across 8 cores and include a 16 MB Intel Smart Cache.
Another pair of new i7 processors, the 10850H and 10750H, can reach 5.1 and 5.0 GHz respectively. These processors are both 6-core CPUs with a dozen threads. Rounding out the new lineup are the Intel Core i5-10400H and i5-10300H. These four-core CPUs have eight threads and have maximum speeds of 4.6 and 4.5 GHz respectively.
You can view a comparison of the six Intel 10th generation mobile processors in the chart below:
|Image credit: Intel Corporation. Click for a larger view.|
What do all these numbers mean for creatives? On the photography side of things, Photoshop and other photography applications heavily utilize your computer’s CPU relative to the GPU. Software such as Photoshop is getting better at using a computer’s GPU to accelerate certain tasks, but the CPU is particularly important. Further, the maximum frequency of CPU chips is more important than the number of cores for most photo editing tasks. All else equal, a faster CPU results in better performance when importing, processing and editing image files.
Thus, the new 10th generation Intel i9 processors represent a very powerful CPU for CPU-intensive applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Lightroom, for example, is optimized to utilize multiple cores for handling tasks, so Intel’s eight-core chips are exciting. The quicker your computer’s CPU can work through tasks, the less time you must spend waiting.
For video editors, Intel has published specific performance gain numbers. When compared to a similar Intel chip from three years ago, the top-of-the-line i9-10980HK can render and export 4K resolution video up to twice as fast. The i7-10750H fares well too, exporting 4K video up to 70 percent faster compared to its predecessor from three years ago. It will be interesting to see how the new chips perform in the real world when rendering 4K and even 8K video.
|This image shows the wafer of Intel’s 10th generation H-series processors. Image credit: Intel Corporation|
Of the Intel Core i9-10980HK, Intel states that it features ‘unparalleled performance across the board with up to 5.3 GHz Turbo, eight cores, 16 threads and 16MB of Intel Smart Cache. The unlocked 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK processor powers the ultimate laptops for gamers and creators, allowing further customization, optimization and tuning of the CPU’s performance.’
Additional features of the Intel 10th generation chips include Intel’s proprietary Speed Optimizer one-click overclocking feature, Thermal Velocity Boost and Adaptix Dynamic Tuning. For a full breakdown of all the key features in the new Intel chips, you can download a PDF briefing by clicking here.
How to Organize a Group to Make a Movie
If you want to organize a group to make a movie, there are three things you need before you even think about the process: a good script, good leadership skills and a whole lot of gumption. Making a movie is a big task. It requires creativity, plus a lot of planning and resiliency because the potential of something not going as planned is very likely. It’s a lot like painting a house – when you put the roller in the paint for the first time and start on a wall, it feels very doable… almost easy… until the reality kicks in – you have to do the whole room… wait, the whole house! And oh no, the color looks totally different on the wall!
So the first advice I will give you is to start with a short film. A short film can pack quite a punch and do wonders for your career, even if it is only to teach you how much you have to learn. Which brings me to the other thing you should consider before you get started: why do you want to make a film? There is no right answer to this question. It can be very simple – maybe you want to see if you can do it. Perhaps you want to see if your writing translates on to the screen. Or, more likely, you want to pursue a career as a Director. Whatever the answer is, having a goal will help you to the finish line. If you have never made a movie before, do not fear! You have to start somewhere. Just be humble, be ready to learn, and read on for some tips.
In our rundown of how to organize a group to make a movie, we’ll discuss:
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
- Write the script
- Find someone to help you produce
- Find a Cinematographer and a camera
- Find the rest of your crew
- Cast the film
- Hold Pre-production and Production Meetings
- Assemble a post-production Team
- Figure out costs
Write the Script
It all begins with story; and if you are just starting out and don’t know anyone, having a good script will attract collaborators. A short script can be anything up to 45 pages, but you are better off keeping it under ten; and if you can keep it to five, even better. Make sure your script has a good story and strong characters because that will inspire talent. I would suggest getting familiar with the short film format to see what resonates with you and how story and character arcs are different in shorts. You can stream award-winning shorts on Amazon, but you can also check places like Omeleto or Seed and Spark. I’d also check out Vimeo Staff Picks.
Once you write your script, make sure that you get feedback and take time to develop it. No matter how good your first draft is, it will never be as good as one that has gone through numerous rewrites. When it comes to building a crew, you can only make one first impression; so don’t rush it.
What if you aren’t a Writer? There are plenty of Writers out there that don’t want to direct, so I would try to connect with them. You can try online forums like Facebook Groups or there are several in-person groups that have monthly meet-ups in large cities like The International Screenwriting Association, ISA, or The Blacklist.
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”big” animation=”none” background=”fancy”] Tip: Write or find a script that takes place in one location. It will save you time and money.[/dt_quote]
Find Someone to Help You Produce
This is easier said than done. Many people think they want to produce, but when they realize how much work it is, they reconsider. I would be ready to do the heavy lifting yourself, but finding someone to help you, even just for moral support, is worth the search. On my first short, I had come out of post-production and had never really worked in production so I recruited a willing friend who also knew almost nothing about production and we learned together. There is a lot to coordinate everything so sharing the duties helps a lot!
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”big” animation=”none” background=”fancy”] Tip: Find friends who have similar goals. That way you can take turns helping each other out.[/dt_quote]
Find a Cinematographer and a Camera
The Camera Department is a large part of your crew. Not all Cinematographers come with a camera, so you will need to get your hands on a camera and equipment. There are professional rental houses, but you probably want to start out smaller. Is there a film school in your town? Perhaps there is a community film program that supports local filmmakers in your neighborhood.
As a newbie, the best thing to do is look for a Cinematographer who has a camera and lighting package or has access to one. This will lighten your burden as a Producer and you won’t have to shop around for rentals, which can cost loads of money and require insurance. I would also consider finding someone willing to experiment with a smartphone – there are lenses and apps that can make your phone footage look amazing. (Check out the Filmic Pro app and Moment lenses.) Your Cinematographer will also need a crew so I would lean on them to help find their team.
Find the Rest of Your Crew
As a general rule, the best thing to do when you are starting out is to find people who are also starting out. In order for people to get better at their craft, they need to practice; so many people are looking for opportunities, such as your short, to work on. Yes! You bring something important to the table!
But where do you find these people? Again, social media is a good place to start, but I would also see if there is a film office in your town and find out if they have any workshops or opportunities to meet other filmmakers. And honestly, before you start to recruit people to work on your short, you might want to work on somebody else’s production. Here’s why — first, it’s reciprocal. Second, you have a chance to meet other crew members and see who you like to work with. Plus, it’s a chance to learn something before you get on your own set.
The key positions you should be scouting for are Production Sound, Production Design, Costume Design, Hair and Makeup, and an Assistant Director (who will help you schedule and run your set,) and anyone else willing to help out!
Cast the Film
There are plenty of talented people hungry for an opportunity to get in front of the camera and act. And there are plenty of places you can find them. You can post a casting call on social media or you can use a service like Actors Access. Once you put out a call, you will get loads of responses. Then you can provide sides – script pages – and have your top choices submit an audition tape for your review. You can hold in-person callbacks (second audition) or just cast them from the tape. If you hold in-person callbacks or auditions, find a place that is safe and be professional and courteous.
Hold Pre-production and Production Meetings
Once you compiled a team, you will meet with the creative heads to determine the practical things you will need to make the film, and how you want the film to look. You will then want to consult your AD to schedule the shoot and solve any logistics like parking and permits. Though you don’t want to meet too often, because that could get in the way of your crew planning for the shoot, you do want to get everyone together for a page-by-page review of the script to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.
As you approach the big day, make sure that everyone knows where the location is and what time everyone needs to be there. Don’t wait until the last minute to get this information out! The AD is the one who sends out the call sheets, but as a Director, and let’s face it, a Producer, you need to make sure everyone is ready and excited. It wouldn’t hurt to send out an email to get everyone pumped!
Assemble a Post-production Team
Once you have your movie in the can you will need to make it through the rest of post-production, so you will have to rinse and repeat the advice above to find your post crew. The best way to find your post crew is to look at the credits of recent shorts similar to yours. Most post people are just like production folks, they need practice and credits to gain credibility. If you have put your best foot forward, people will want to help and be a part of it. Again, social media is a great place to recruit, but don’t be afraid to call someone.
Figure Out Costs
Making a short film can cost anything from nothing to thousands of dollars. If you can get people to donate their time, you must, at least, feed them well. The days are long and a crew needs energy. Plus, a good meal is a great “thank you.”
If you feel like you want to forego the reciprocal model of making a short, you can also hire a crew. I have done this and the dollars add up, but when you hire people that have more experience, you could boost your learning curve. The most important thing is to be ready to learn and treat anybody who walks on your set with respect. Be prepared and poised to problem-solve and support everyone you have recruited on your journey.
One particularly difficult aspect of being a professional photographer that does not get discussed enough is what one does when they encounter the inevitable creative block. This excellent video discusses what you can do to overcome a creative block.
This past weekend, photojournalist Barbara Haddock Taylor captured an extraordinary image of a flaming church steeple in Baltimore crashing to the ground. We caught up with Taylor to find out more about how she captured such an arresting moment in time.
The photo was shot on the morning of March 28th, when a lightning strike set the Urban Bible Fellowship Church ablaze. Speaking with PetaPixel, Taylor says that her 8am shift with the Baltimore Sun started like any other… but that all changed when Visuals Director Leeann Adams told her that a church fire had broken out in East Baltimore.
“By the time I got there, flames were visible on the steeple and dozens of firefighters were working on extinguishing the blaze,” recalls Taylor. “I grabbed my Nikon D850 with the 28-300mm lens and jumped out of my car. Suddenly there was a loud crack, and luckily I had the camera pointed in the right direction and took several pictures.”
She captured a sequence of four shots, ultimately choosing to submit this frame because of the position of the falling pieces:
Fortunately nobody was hurt in the 4-alarm fire, but even in the midst of a pandemic, the striking image quickly made the rounds online—some judging it as darkly symbolic, others sharing it simply because it’s such an unlikely photo of such a fleeting moment. Whatever your take, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this shot pop up in next year’s crop of World Press Photo finalists.
As with most great photography, and especially photojournalism, Taylor chalks up this kind of frame to equal parts luck, preparation, and experience.
“When I was a photojournalism student in 1983, my professors at Ohio University had a catch phrase: ‘F8 and be there,’ referring to the aperture settings on a camera,” says Taylor. “Translation: always have your camera ready, and find yourself in the right place at the right time. As with most things, it’s easier said than done.”
Image credits: Photos by Barbara Haddock Taylor. Permission from Baltimore Sun Media. All Rights Reserved.
American Documentary is giving out grants of $250 to $500 for doc filmmakers who need help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may know American Documentary from programs like the PBS’ strand POV. Now you will know them for their re-branded and re-launched Artist Emergency Fund, which will now consist of $100,000 that will be given out specifically to documentary directors or producers whose livelihood has been affected by COVID-19. The fund will be given out for groceries, medical bills, or other costs related to health, or health insurance premiums.
Here is the official announcement from AmDoc: