Saturday, February 28, 2009

2K, 4K, Pixels and Resolution

This article in the Creative Cow magazine is essential reading. John Galt, of Panavision, speaks in plain language about pixels, resolution, 2K, 4K, Imax, frame rates v. pixel resolution and dynamic range. My eyes usually glaze over during these kinds of discussions but this is quite engaging (and comprehensible). Isn't it time to actually understand what a Bayer pattern is and what it means for image acquisition? Or, that you should be spending as much, or more, time thinking about your lenses as you do about the sensors?

Combine it with this blog post by Stu Maschwitz on lin, log and clipping and you'll be the smartest HD kid on your block. And it will make you more impervious to the marketing of camera companies. Seriously, it's important to demystify all of this stuff so you can use the tools to achieve what you want creatively, as opposed to being treated like a tool.

As an aside, last week I saw my first camera rental request posting on Craigslist that specifically asked for RED owners to not contact the poster anymore (my recollection is that they didn't want to deal with the workflow). It does makes me wonder what kind of ROI the average RED owner is getting. Maybe there are just a lot of them here in Los Angeles? I'd love to here some owner-operator stories (or secondhand anecdotes) about how they're doing financially with their cameras.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Adobe Customer Care Redux

O.K. There are probably only about 10 people out there who will care about this, but if this helps one lost soul out there trying to deal with Adobe Customer Care know that they aren't alone, it's worth it.

I wanted to follow-up on something that I had written about earlier, Adobe's inability to provide even basic customer service. Admittedly, I am only one individual who owns 7 or so (depending on how many products they've dropped or picked up again) Adobe/Macromedia licenses, but I guess Adobe will never know since they still haven't assimilated the Macromedia database (or apparently, their online store database) with their Adobe I.D./registration database. When I see the Adobe "evangelist" out there telling me how their ability to aggregate and search metadata is going to send me to media heaven, I can't help but snicker, thinking that they cannot even aggregate all their customer data into one coherent database.

Look deeply into my eyes and forget about the fact that we won't let you upgrade to a Master Collection license even though you own all the individual licenses.

So, what happened with my odyssey to obtain my post-announcement upgrade for Production Premium CS4? After a maze of online requests and phone calls, Adobe sent the upgrade to the wrong address TWICE. The final time shipping arrangements were made, I made the customer service rep. repeat the shipping address twice. I did get my upgrade, after I figured out that it was easier to deal with someone who I barely knew that lived in my old flat in San Francisco (where it was delivered, again) than to try to deal with Adobe. After some arrangements, the package was hand delivered to me in Los Angeles, via personal relationships, not metadata.

OK, mostly I just wanted an excuse to post the picture. Next post will deal with creative issues, promise.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Digital Dilemma

I love to create images. Film, digital, paint, animation, they are all just different expressive tools. I am not a digital hater. Each tool has its place and use. That said, I keep meaning to mention the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences report, "The Digital Dilemma" which was published in November of 2007. Everyone who creates images should read it.

There are only two points that I'd like to make:

1. Anyone who says that shooting HD is cheaper than film has not taken into account the cost of archiving the material.

2. I suspect that there will be a time when many films created in the early digital film era (now) will be lost, as were films created during the early years of film. Both eras used media that were unstable for long-term storage.

Add data extinction to your post production checklist. The report is available for download here.

The Orphanage, no more?

Stu Maschwitz just announced on his blog that The Orphanage is "suspending operations." Never heard of them? Take a look at The Orphanage's and Stu's IMDB. These are the people you don't read about that increasingly help make films look awesome.

On top of that, he also created Magic Bullet software, which is a really nifty piece of post production "look building" software. I use it quite a bit when I am trying to brainstorm looks.

He also blogs prolifically about technical issues, low-budget filmmaking and whatever else crosses his mind.

The film world needs more innovators and restless minds like these, not less.