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Lightning fast transcoding to 4K ProRes with FCPX
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
January 27, 2015, at 8:00 PM

All NLEs have their pros and cons and a group of strong supporters, who praise the software they use. For this reason, a person not using a particular application who speaks favorably about it is more credible and particularly worth listening to. This is the case of Andrew Reid’s text on Final Cut Pro X at, where he describes testing Premiere CC, Resolve 11 and FCPX 4K files transcoding speed:

The Canon 1D C’s massive 4K files gave me a good chance this week to put Premiere CC, Resolve 11 and Final Cut Pro X through the grinder plus a few other apps as well. The camera showed up some marked differences between the apps.

And Andrew’s comment on how 4K transcoding went (highlight added):

FCPX’s performance is astounding. On my Macbook Pro Retina 15″ and 27″ iMac 2013 it was the only one capable of playing 4K MJPEG material in realtime, flawlessly. Resolve can’t do it. Premiere can’t do it. Quicktime and VLC Player can’t do it. Yet I can edit a multi-track 1D C project straight away in FCPX and not even have to transcode at all.

The how-to is described in his article with additional screenshots to help out. Below there's a FCPX screenshot with 'Create optimized media' and 'Leave files in place' boxes checked during importing:

Here's some sum-up data from Andrew's text:

For 1 min (4GB) 4K MJPEG…

  • Resolve = 3 min
  • Adobe Media Encoder = 3 min
  • Apple Compressor = 3 min
  • Apple FCPX = 58 sec

Andrew mentions one disadvantage though: no batch convert, and but also points at a solution that is available:

Thankfully and almost by accident they have a transcoding feature that (nearly) gives us what we want. This feature will batch transcode all your 4K files to 4K ProRes 422 at a single click. (…)Unfortunately you can’t change this so it’s ProRes 422 or nothing. Therefore you don’t get the lovely space saving of LT or Proxy but it does mean we can edit like butter in Premiere and apply FX without everything grinding to a crawl and requiring constant rendering.

You might also want to check out Andrew’s article in its entirety, as he speaks more about working with FCPX and other applications; also mentioning some third party software you could try. Direct link to the text is here.


15 common mistakes beginner filmmakers often make
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
January 23, 2015, at 9:45 AM

We’ve all been there – trying to complete the very first productions with too little knowledge and insufficient gear, with the result being an uninteresting bore, flawed in too many aspects. If you had the taste, you knew there was something wrong with the picture, but perhaps you couldn’t give it a name. The shared a video by D4Darius, who enumerates 15 common mistakes made by rookies, and really hits these accurately, giving plenty of plain examples.

If you’re just at the beginning of the filmmaking road, this video may prove extremely helpful, and if you’re way beyond that phase, you might consider it a fun-to-watch reminder of your past mistakes (and the progress you’ve made):

Some of the mistakes Darious mentions are typical of specific genres, others refer to general movie constituents such as lighting or audio – one way or another everyone should find something of interest in the above video, especially, that the author has a talent for clear and concise (and humorous too) presentation of his thoughts.


Lighting analysis of 'Ida' - 2015 Best Cinematography Academy Award nominee
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
January 22, 2015, at 9:02 AM

As you may remember, last year’s Academy Award for Best cinematography went to Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, an extremely high budget movie, which employed plenty of cinematic tricks and techniques, giving a spectacular effect. Could it be that this year’s Award goes to a black and white movie that’s a total opposite in terms of the use of cinematographic technology? We’re talking about one of nominees – a Polish movie ‘Ida’, which has already a long list of awards and nominations.

The topic of ‘Ida’ nomination has been brought up by Vashi Nedomansky in his blog:

90% of the film is shot on a locked off tripod. With so many tools (dollies, sliders, cranes, drones, steadicams, Movis…) available to filmmakers, it is refreshing to experience a movie that chose so many exquisite and deliberate static frames to best tell the story.

Each new shot reveals something about the lead character. Emotions, state of mind and the story’s drama are expressed by the use of camera placement and lighting…not by spoken words. Do yourself a favor and track down this stunning film to experience the power of the static camera.

Vashi links to a seletion of 52 shots from the movie – you can see them enlarged here. He also links to two older articles at The American Society of Cinematographers website, which explain the lighting setups in a selection of scenes. The articles describe the scenes, particular shots, and the type of lighting gear used, plus a sketch of the setup and a frame from the movie. 

Here's how one of the analysed scenes looks:

And the first part of this scene presented on a sketch:

Each of the scenes is described in detail, and we recommend that you have a look at the original articles – they make a very good read. The two articles are available at here and here.

Source: http://www.theasc.com

Free online lessons by industry professionals: Big League Cine Summit on Jan, 20-21!
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
January 15, 2015, at 11:25 AM

There’s plenty of opportunities to learn from Internet resources, but usually, when there’s some big names included as tutors, that knowledge is going to cost you, and there’s nothing surprising about that. Professionals can provide you with solutions, that might take you long time of working experience to figure out all by yourselves, and for this sole reason to may be worth (literally) to check out pro’s tutorials. And the opportunity to do so that doesn’t cost a single buck is especially interesting.

In one of articles at, Robert Hardy informs about the ‘Big League Film Summit':

From January 20th to 21st (next Tuesday and Wednesday), Big League Film School will host its annual cinematography summit. Aptly named the Big League CineSummit, the unique online event brings a host of working narrative and commercial DPs, ranging from Frankie DeMarco (the cinematographer behind the first season of Mad Men and All Is Lost) to Shane Hurlbut, who needs no introduction around these parts. Each of the guests will be presenting on a topical aspect of cinematography and offering practical tips that viewers can use in their own work.

The event has its trailer at

And a brief description from

Our hand-picked team of 9 world-class cinematographers reveal how you can create superior looking film, instantly set yourself apart from the competition, and amaze your fellow filmmakers.

According to the event's official page, the list of topics will be as follows:

January, 20:

  • Composition and camera operating for the big screen, by Frankie Demarko (“Mad Men”, “All is Lost”, “Margin Call”)
  • Story Telling Techniques: How to Add Massive Production Value, by Kevin Shahinian - Pacific Pictures
  • Lighting minimalism: extraordinary cinematography with minimal lighting, by Rasmus Heise (Oscar Winning Short Film “Helium”, Sony, Coca-Cola)
  • How to film beauty vs, action, by Matthew Santo (Nike, Google, Reebok and more)
  • Deconstrictung high-end car commercials, by Stefan Borbely (BMW, Ford, Lexus)

January, 21:

  • Delivering Storytelling Impact with Light, Lens and Camera, by Shane Hurlbut, ASC(“Terminator”, “We Are Marshall”)
  • Motivated lighting: using space to your advantage, by David Vollrath (“Lincoln”, "Sprite". Nickelodeon")
  • Everything you need to know about lensese, by Caleb Pike (
  • Camera Movement That Makes A Difference, by Matt Workman (IBM, Panasonic, P. Diddy)

The only catch is that the Summit is free only when you watch it live, online; if you wish to watch it at a later time it’ll cost you a $100. Check out the official webpage for more information.

Source: http://nofilmschool.com

Virtual Lighting Studio: a free basic tool for experimenting with various lighting setups
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
January 2, 2015, at 9:33 AM

Here’s a piece suggested by Ryan Connoly in the latest edition of Film Riot YouTube videos, in which 10 online resources for filmmakers are presented  – one of Ryan's suggestions is Virtual Lighting Studio and it’s a relatively simple tool for experimenting with various lighting scenarios, that was meant for still photohraphy, but it can help filmmakers just as well.

It’s basically a free online program in which you to choose one of four faces and add some lighting to it. This is when the fun starts – you’re able to add up to 6 light sources and modify intensity, distance, angle, color or type of light for each of them separately.

Here’s a screenshot from the page:

As Ryan points out, the lighting in motion picture is subject to subtle changes, which cannot really be caught in this free software, Virtual Lighting Studio can still be a valuable resource, providing you with basic knowledge without the need to experiment in real life.

Virtual Lighting Studio is available in a few language versions, including English, and you can found it by following this link. If you’re interested in other resources mentioned by Ryan Conolly, please follow this direct link to his video material.



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