FCPX Features Workshop at Radar

MikeOn October 25th, Radar will be hosting the first-ever FCPxFeatures Workshop, led by seasoned Assistant and Picture Editor Michael Matzdorff. The class will be from 2pm-7pm at 4111 W. Alameda Avenue, Suite 412 Burbank, CA 91505.

Mike has been a pioneer of post production for years, starting with the initial transition from film to digital editorial in the 90s. His credits include Fight Club, Analyze This, Black Sheep, The Little Rascals, and Meet Joe Black.

He was recently hired as the First Assistant Editor on the first major studio feature film release to be cut in Final Cut Pro X. Their team was instrumental in the development of many features in FCPX, as well as supporting 3rd-Party programs like Sync-N-Link, Producer’s Best Friend, and Change List.

During the class, Mike will teach students how to prepare dailies, manage projects, deliver audio to the sound department, roundtrip with the visual effects team, work with the Digital Intermediate, prepare the final delivery elements, and archive the finished product.

There will be a Q&A to provide insight on challenges you might face in editing, media management, or working with 3rd party tools.

All attendees will receive a pre-release copy of Mike’s FCPxFeature iBook. The workshop costs $300 and only has 10 seats. Email fcpxfeatures@icloud.com to register before space runs out.

Since the beginning, Radar has cultivated a safe environment for creative growth and workflow innovation. We’re excited to be hosting this unique event with the hope that there will be many more to come.


Blackmagic Meet 2014 – Film Matters

Many new and exciting technologies were demoed at this year’s Blackmagic Design meet. While definitely not a mainstream product, my favorite item at the show was the Cintel Film Scanner. If you ask me, it could not have come at a better time.

Film based production has decreased over the last few years. A lot of brick and mortar post houses have stopped developing and scanning film. However, there are still people who are in love with the look of film and enjoy the process. The Cintel Film Scanner is a revolutionary product at a great price. Coming in at $30,000, the Cintel Film Scanner could be a great solution for smaller post houses, film labs, film schools, or boutique production houses.

The Cintel Film Scanner can scan either 16mm or 35mm film to UltraHD in real time. Using Thunderbolt 2 connectivity, an 11 minute reel of film can be scanned in 11 minutes. Film can be scanned to either ProRes or Cinema DNG formats. Color adjustments can be made on the fly, including light color.

There are a few drawbacks. For one, it is using a CMOS sensor and only works in a 4:2:2 color space. The sensor is likely similar to that used in the URSA and Production 4K cameras, so the full latitude of the film is unlikely to be fully preserved. However, film already compresses the contrast of a scene during capture. Therefore, the image rendered through the Cintel could potentially retain detail in highlights and shadows more effectively than the Production 4K camera.

Despite a few drawbacks, the Cintel Film Scanner is perfect for the independent film market. It is a great value for post houses that want to provide film scanning services without a huge upfront investment.

Blackmagic Meet 2014 – The URSA Experience

The Blackmagic Meet in Burbank, CA was much busier this year than last year. That’s probably because of the URSA. While Blackmagic has been making cameras for a few years now, the URSA is the first to have most of the bells and whistles required for day to day production. I had the chance to play with the URSA for a good five to ten minutes. While there were a few things missing in the current build of the firmware, the URSA seems to be a huge improvement for Blackmagic. The ability to swap batteries is a godsend. The three monitors are also quite exciting.

IZ7C2204Another attendee and I worked on separate sides of the camera for a bit. To my surprise, changes to the touchscreen menu on his side updated in real time on my side. Being on the Camera Assistant side, I was glad to see that I could use Peaking on my monitor without affecting the Camera Operator’s monitor.

There are a few opportunities for the URSA to be better. For one, none of the existing monitors are going to be great in the sun. It really needs an electronic viewfinder. While these can be purchased from third-parties, they are not cheap. Another issue with monitoring is control over the SDI send. Currently, to change between Film and Video gammas on an SDI connected monitor, one has to change the recording gamma. There is a separate display gamma setting for the three monitors on the camera. Hopefully a future version of the firmware will allow separate adjustments for the SDI out.

Brand new at the Blackmagic Meet was the Blackmagic Camera 1.9 firmware update. The update brought a screen histogram, time remaining indicator, audio meters, and improved sensor calibration to the Production 4K camera. One of the Blackmagic representatives assured me that, while the firmware for the other two cameras was not ready for the show, it is coming soon.

One Blackmagic representative mentioned that the turnout for the meet was much greater than they had expected. There was always a line around the URSA camera. In the lecture hall, every seat was filled and many were standing the majority of the day. Growing crowds prove that the Blackmagic brand is gaining prominence among small and mid-size production teams.

visionCOLOR Introduces ImpulZ

Cinematographers, Colorists, and anyone else wanting to capture the elusive film look, take note. VisionColor has just released one of the most comprehensive suites of film emulation Lookup Tables (LUTs).

At Radar, we were lucky enough to be part of the Beta process for ImpulZ. We pride ourselves on providing cinematic results for our clients and we’ve had great experiences with VisionColor products in the past, so this amazing new toolset definitely sparked our interest.

Often times, getting accurate film looks requires third-party plug-ins or applications. ImpulZ LUTs, on the other hand, can be used in nearly any non-linear editor (NLE) or color-grading tool currently on the market without altering existing workflows. ImpulZ includes emulations of 16 different film stocks, including industry standards like Kodak Vision3 500T 5219.

To keep results consistent, ImpulZ provides patches for the a variety of popular color science and camera combinations, as well as generic Log and Rec709 patches. That means a shot from a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, a RED Epic, and a Canon 5D can theoretically be color matched to the same film stock in a matter of seconds.

Additionally, each film stock emulation has four different output gamma and color response profiles available: Film Contrast, Film Print, VisionSpace, and CINEON® LOG. The Film Contrast and Film Print profiles are both contrasty and make it easy to get to a finished film look rapidly. This makes them great for creating a quick look in editorial or loading them into monitors on-set during shooting.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 5.11.21 PMFor those who want to spend some more time finessing, the VisionSpace and CINEON® LOG profiles are the way to go. VisionSpace is custom built by VisionColor. It is less contrasty than the Film Contrast and Film Print profiles, and acts as a great place to start a grade without loosing any color or luminance information. CINEON® LOG is the most robust of the output profiles. It was built to emulate the process of scanning an negative for digital intermediate. Once a shot has been graded with the CINEON® LOG profile, film print stock emulations can be added. This is probably the best emulation of a photochemical workflow anyone has seen in the world of digital cinema.

ImpulZ comes in three packages: Basic ($53), Pro ($75), and Ultimate ($135). The Basic Package includes emulation LUTs of a few Fuji and Kodak still stocks with generic LOG and Rec.709 patches, the Film Contrast and Film Print output profiles, and a Kodak 5219 Film Grain Overlay at 1080p. The Pro Package includes a few additional specialty film stocks, patches for various low cost cinema cameras, adds the VisionSpace output profile, and a 2.5K version of the Kodak 5219 Film Grain Overlay. Finally, the Pro Package adds six Kodak Vision3 stocks, support for higher end digital cinema cameras, the CINEON® LOG Output profile, and a 4K version of the Kodak 5219 Film Grain Overlay.

ImpulZ is available for purchase at VisionColor and Color Grading Central.

ImpulZ Quick Start Guide and Overview from Color Grading Central on Vimeo.

Project Kindle’s Dance Marathon at UCLA

We’re helping out our friends at Project Kindle today by producing the live webcast of their Dance Marathon at UCLA. Dance Marathon at UCLA 2010 is the 9th annual event of its kind at the UCLA campus. Seeking to educate, fundraise, and spread awareness about the global pediatric AIDS pandemic, Dance Marathon unites over 3,000 students every year in Ackerman Grand Ballroom to literally take a stand against pediatric AIDS.

More information on the event can be found here. Watch the stream, chat it up & say hello. We’ll literally be here all night (did we mention it’s a 26-hour dance marathon?). This year, they raised $407,223.73

5 Tips For Using New Media in 2009

For those of you who have told us you’re wanting to utilize “new media” in 2009, this is for you. Here are FIVE tips for using new media for your company or organization this year:

1. Start using social media sites like Facebook & Twitter

New media means bringing your brand to where your users/customers hang out. So if your users spend most of there time on Facebook, you should have a Facebook group or page setup. It’s free and easy and there’s no reason why you can’t set this up right now. Twitter is another great example of how brands are connecting with their customers in an easy & free way (see Starbucks, CNN, Zappos, etc…). Start building your social equity (you’ll soon learn that it’s worth more than your financial equity). Want more on this? Watch this. And if you don’t like Gary, you’re not allowed to complain until you get 92 comments on a single post.

2. Blogging is good. Videos are better.

Don’t just have someone in your office type up a bunch of stuff (ie: cut & pasted press releases, links, memos, thoughts on this or that, etc…). A bulletin board blog is boring and so 2008! Buy a $200 Flip HD camera and start shooting little videos to post on your website or blog (then link it up on Twitter, Facebook & Vimeo and let others embed it on their sites. Make it viral!). Interview your CTO talking about some of the upcoming products that will revolutionize your industry. If you’re worried about competitors “stealing” your ideas, keep it vague. Have an expert within your organization (say your CEO or COO or SVP of Marketing) talk about trends, themes or challenges facing your industry today, how they got to be the CEO, funny stories along the way, what’s next. What plans do you have to keep your company “more green”? Or what are you doing to stabilize your company through these tough economic times? How do you plan to stay innovative this year? There’s a 100 questions you can answer with a short 20-30 second video (I suggest keeping them under 3 minutes). If you only did a video a week you’d have 52 videos! Not bad. Listen to the comments. Respond to them. Reshoot accordingly. Re-post quickly. If people want more of a specific topic or want you to answer a specific question, go for it. People want to watch your company vs. read about it. And don’t be afraid to post videos of your customers. Let them be a part of the organization too. Have them sign a standard release form if your legal team gasps at the idea (which they will).

3. Engage your audience

Give them what they want. If your customers want to see more before & after videos, post them online. Examples of how to do something. How to use your products. Features & benefits they never even thought about. Highlights from a recent event. A promo video for an upcoming event. A day-in-the-life-of a [fill in the blank] to show the “real” side of what it’s like to [fill in the blank]. Give your viewers creative ideas & solutions so they’ll keep coming back for more (Williams-Sonoma does this really well with both their online recipes and how-to videos). And for the love of God, please RSS your website. Don’t know what that is? Click here. Have your fans shoot their own videos and submit them for a 6-month contest. The winner gets a new (fill in the blank) and also gets featured on your website in the Summer. Make it last 1 year or do 1 every 6 months to give your staff a break (also a great way to build anticipation for the next one). Remember, these don’t cost much – they’re affordable branded entertainment.

4. Go mobile

This isn’t the technology of tomorrow. It’s happening today. Companies like Amazon.com and SnapTell have already launched their mobile apps for users to connect with their brand while on the go. Truth be told, I did about 75% of my Christmas shopping for 2008 from my iPhone using the Amazon mobile app. What inexpensive app can you create to help connect users with your brand or products? Maybe it’s your entire catalogue of products or a free estimate calculator or featured videos from #2 that are only available on the app. Or keep it simple and make it a “lite” version of your website so viewers can see pricing, products, locate your stores, etc… Remember: 27 loyal brand evangelists are 1,000% more effective than a million people who drive by one of your billboards. Viral = strategic > ad noise.

5. Build your database

When people visit your site, get them to register. Make it easy for them to sign up and DO NOT SPAM them. Use it to build your database. Use it for strategic partnerships. But don’t use it to blast out weekly or even monthly emails to your followers (unless they want that – giving your customers or loyal followers options is probably point #6 but we’d say keep it to 5). SPAM’d followers will opt out of your list, guaranteed. Be smart about it but most of all, DO IT!

If you’ve read 1-5 and you’re now saying, “Well, yeah. Duh!” Chances are you’re already using new media to build your brand and connect with your base. Good job! Keep it up and we’ll compare notes. Next month I’ll share some best practices from our clients who are now starting to see the benefits of using new media in 2008.

[image from Creative Commons by Michael(tm) Smith]

Radar Produces the Blu-ray Disc for Super Capers

Beverly Hills-based RG Entertainment recently tapped Radar to produce the Blu-ray disc for the upcoming super hero movie “Super Capers.” Radar created several menus for the disc that matched the comic book style already present throughout the film and the website.

Click here to visit the Super Capers website.

Post-Production Begins on FSI

Production wrapped on Tuesday for “FSI: Fraud Scheme Investigation” bringing the total number of production days to six.

RADAR will produce several film posters for Interthinx™ for upcoming trade shows as well as an industry trailer, preparing people for the September premiere in San Diego.

The 30-minute project was shot on two DVCPRO cameras, will be edited using Final Cut Pro and After Effects and 3,300 DVD’s will be produced & distributed nationwide.

This “best practice” training film is already receiving rave reviews from industry experts who participated in the filming process as well as staff, cast & crew.

[image used with permission from Creative Commons by Kiril Proskurin]