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Snoot basics video tutorial - check it out if you plan to shoot a film noir!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
January 31, 2015, at 2:50 AM

Jay P Morgan of The Slanted Lens posted a pretty great lighting tutorial in which he focuses on "snoot" - an object that you put over your light to control the direction and radius of the light beam. This technique is usually used in photography and in film noir, so if you plan to shoot the next "Sin City", don't miss this video! Jay P explains that in film it is a good idea to use black wrap to create snoots, for example black aluminum foil that can be formed into a funnel and molded to the light. This technique is so popular in the case of film noir because it gives your footage (or pictures) a lot of contrast and this is often something you want to get while shooting black & white video. It is also a very directional light, so you need to take this into consideration while lighting your scene. Check out the tutorial for more info:


And what is the area of coverage of a snoot? Jay P explains:

"This is a hard question to answer since there are many different sizes from different manufacturers and you can make your own. The one I have is fairly average so let’s look at how it compares to a grid. I shot an image of our subject against a white wall with the light eight feet away and a second on set. The area of coverage is very narrow and the fall out is very sharp. There is a certain amount of fill in the dark areas when we shot on the white wall but I don’t think the snoot was sealed well enough to the instrument. Images using a snoot usually have a very concentrated area of light with no fill in the shadows. Compare this to a shot with the same setup using a 10 degree grid. The edges are softer with the grid, the light falls off much faster and there is a hot spot in the middle."


Find out how to use Canon batteries on your Sony a7S (and on other cameras)!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
January 31, 2015, at 12:45 AM

Caleb Ward of Premiumbeat shared a great tip (first posted by Whitespace Films) - especially if you're a Sony a7S user and you have Canon batteries, because as it turns out thanks to a very simple hack you can use them on your Sony's camera! Just follow the steps presented in the video below - the hack applies to Canon LP-E6 batteries and you need to buy a few cheap accessories - an AC Adapter (dummy battery) for the Sony a7S (~$20) and a Canon LP-E6 mounting plate (~$15). What's more this hack works for many other cameras - at least if you find find the correct AC adapter (dummy battery) and the correct mounting plate. This is great because you can save a bit of money if you own several cameras each one with a different type of batteries. 



"Don’t Look Away" - short film shot on Panasonic's VariCam 35 4K!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
January 30, 2015, at 1:44 AM

"Don’t Look Away" is a film directed by Stephen Morgan and shot by Director of Photography Michael Minock with Panasonic’s new VariCam 35 4K camera. This narrative short movie (25-minute long) deals with human trafficking. Soon it will be submitted to film festivals and provided free of charge to organizations that specialize in caring for and rehabilitating victims of the crime. The film tells the story of Dana who is induced by her new "boyfriend" to attend a Christmas party at a wealthy friend's home where she is drugged during the encounter and this is how her human slavery begins. The VariCam 35 was the primary camera and the package was rounded out with a set of Cooke S4i Primes, a Canon zoom, ARRI MB-19 matte box & FF-5 follow focus.

Minock said:

“The ability to record on two codecs simultaneously is beautiful! We recorded 4K on the main recorder (P2 cards) and 2K on the sub-recorder (Micro P2 cards), which were used to begin editing on the set. You can even record to the Rec. 709 color space on either recorder independently. We chose V-Log for both with breathtaking results.”

The 4K master will be used for exhibition at film festivals and art houses, while the 2K version will be distributed to the mentioned above non-profit organizations. Sadly we cannot show you the film yet as it is currently being edited in Adobe Creative Cloud, and color corrected on a DaVinci system.

You can follow this project on Facebook:


300th MacBreak Studio episode: Dynamic Trimming in Final Cut Pro X!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
January 29, 2015, at 1:56 AM

The new episode of MacBreak Studio is now live and in this video Mark Spencer of Pro Video Coalition and Steve Martin from Ripple Training explain what dynamic trimming is and what it means in Final Cut Pro X. It is worth adding that it is the 300th episode and our hosts have been doing this weekly show for over 6 years, so congratulations and hope they will keep up the good work! But let's get back to dynamic trimming and in order to explain this topic Steve starts off the discussion by launching Final Cut Pro 7 in which you can find the Trim Edit window containing a "Dynamic" checkbox at the bottom. You can use it to automatically move the edit point to the playhead position when playback is stopped with the "K" key. And what about Final Cut Pro X?

Mark explains:

"Having defined dynamic trimming in this manner, Steve turns his attention to Final Cut Pro X. He demonstrates that you can just as quickly select an edit point using the bracket and backslash keys (for Out, In, and both). Instead of a Trim Edit window, however, FCP X employs the Precision Editor, which can be opened with Control-E.

At this point you can now trim "dynamically": moving the pointer (actually a hand icon) over either side of the edit point and starting playback will play just that clip and the full handle beyond the edit point so you can see exactly where you are making the cut. When you locate it, stopping playback does not initiate the cut like legacy Final Cut - rather, you need to add the Extend Edit command by pressing Shift-X. Steve remapped this command to the N key because it's so close to the K key for stopping playback. But you don't even need to stop playback: pressing Shift-X while looping playback will execute the edit immediately."


Confirmed - Fotolia market to be integrated as key part of Adobe Creative Cloud!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
January 29, 2015, at 1:11 AM

A few weeks ago we reported that Adobe had plans to to acquire Fotolia for $800 million in cash (a stock photo site which hosts 35 million images and videos). Just to remind you, Adobe's competitor, Autodesk, also bought a site with stock content (Creative Market), so it seems that with this move Adobe wanted to maintain its competitive position in the future. Now we can confirm that Adobe has completed its acquisition of Fotolia. And plans are huge - the company also revealed that work will now begin on integrating Fotolia into Adobe Creative Cloud. This will provide current and future Creative Cloud members with the ability to access and purchase all the images and videos available in the database, significantly simplifying and accelerating the design process. Adobe also plans to continue to operate Fotolia as a standalone stock service, accessible to anyone, so the service won't be limited to Adobe users only. 

The concept is really great and integrating Fotolia with Creative Cloud is an amazing idea. Adobe's service already has more than 3.4 million members and as you can see it seems that the value of Creative Cloud will be increasing with such new capabilities. We hope that Apple has similar plans - would be amazing to see such a service integrated into Final Cut Pro X and other Apple's tools.



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