Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inevitability of Innovation- Part 2

The U.S. news media has been getting a huge smackdown from Al Jazeera with regard to the coverage of what is happening in Egypt.  President Obama and Hilary Clinton aren't watching CNN.  Al Jazeera's website has become the primary source of information as to what is happening, and guess what, it's a free stream of their live broadcast.  Apparently, people would rather try to understand the struggle of oppressed people in a vital region more than they'd like to see Kim Kardashian be interviewed by Piers Morgan or watch John Boehner weep for the 800th time in public.

Insight: Shopping is fun

Al Jazeera, to the best of my knowledge, is not available on any U.S. cable providers, even though it is a  credible news provider and tends toward harder news, as opposed to personality journalism.

Creative destruction

The Inevitability of Innovation

This is a great interview with Steve Jobs, shortly after he got the boot from Apple.  It is almost a blueprint for his future and really shows how important of a role having strongly held principles/beliefs can  play in creating significant innovation.  My favorite quote from it is him talking about starting a new post-Apple company and possibly being a  competitor with Apple:
It is hard to think that a $2 billion company with 4,300-plus people couldn't compete with six people in blue jeans.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Magic Bullet Colorista II

You looking at me?

I'm not big into promoting products.  However, every once in a while I do find tools that are worth mentioning.  Red Giant has quietly done a great job of building, and improving, their product line.  The Magic Bullet line, especially Colorista, is really starting to become a "must have" for, indies, editors and colorists.  One great thing is that they are compatible with Final Cut, After Effects and Premiere.  Why would you want an additional color correcting tool when you have perfectly good ones in Final Cut (Color) and After Effects (Color Finesse) or now, DaVinci Resolve?

Using Color (or DaVinci) requires a commitment.  They are professional color grading tools, the timeline needs to be prepared for ingestion and the interface is daunting for people with a limited color grading background.  Some projects, either due to the time or budget constraints, are just not worth the effort of going through that process.  Obviously, the flip side to this is if you really want to do more complicated work, then you are going to want to go through the effort of putting a sequence into Color, DaVinci or Color Finesse.  However, there are times when you just need to get things done and you want to keep the sequence in your editing software.  This is when Colorista comes into play.

I won't go into all the features of Colorista.  Red Giant, to their credit, have done an outstanding job of posting tutorials showing Colorista's features and how to use the product efficiently.  The new version has added some nice functionality (particularly the keyer) and makes it possible to do some pretty complicated corrections within Final Cut.  That said, having the tools and being a good colorist are not the same thing and not having basic tools, like a calibrated monitor, make it hard to create predictable (as in you are sure that what you are seeing is what is actually there) results.  The level of analysis and technical/artistic skill of a trained colorist cannot be replicated by a piece of software.

I really like Stu Maschwitz's tutorials, they are plain language and are geared towards just getting the job done for do-it-yourself indy film makers.  It is also fascinating to watch other colorists' thought processes while working and Stu has some quite interesting insights.  That said, his approach is just that, one approach and one set of eyes and I encourage anyone who uses the software to read further and play around with it to create their own vision.  One of the joys of this business is that watching and analyzing films is considered "work."  The other thing to note is that the workflow/interface used in Colorista varies a little bit from most "pro" color grading tools.  It's neither a good thing or a bad thing and I think that Stu deserves recognition for designing a product that is different and communicating directly with his end users about using it efficiently.

I own (and have paid for) and use Magic Bullet Colorista, Grinder, Looks, Mojo and DeNoiser.  For the do-it-yourself film maker, they open up a whole world of exploration and looks that previously was inaccessible.  For the working professional they are useful professional tools that you can add to your tool bag and use when they are the most efficient solution.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lighting Education-Mole Richardson

I have been lucky enough to have spent quite a bit of time at Mole Richardson, assisting at lighting classes and helping light special events such as film and camera tests, ASC/SOC events, etc.  Larry Parker has been doing an amazing job at educating film students as to how to properly do power distribution and pretty much all elements of lighting a motion picture, all for free, for years.   And the Mole Richardson lights are real things of beauty: built to last three lifetimes.  There is a whole generation of skilled electricians and gaffers out there who have cut their teeth at the Mole Stage.

They have now started to share some of that knowledge online:

I can't wait for the video on operating a carbon arc, my favorite lamp.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Should I Work for Free?

Nice flow chart here to help you with your decision making process.

 No reason for this other than this guy is swanky

Friday, January 7, 2011

Boxee iPad App: Integrating Social Media and On-The-Fly Transcodess

Boxee is one of the more innovative set-top box companies out there for watching streaming media on your TV.  This is a brief on-floor demo of their iPad app at CES.  Facebook and Twitter integration, ability to save videos for prioritized viewing later and, holy crap, on-the-fly transcoding when watching media from your computer hard drive on your TV. This is awesome, but, you can't help but wonder how long it will be before this is all integrated into TV's? Samsung seems to be heading in that direction.