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Drone filming at the world's largest football academy... located in China!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
July 30, 2014, at 12:48 AM

Spontaneous Combustion is a team that specializes in shooting aerial footage and recently they posted a video they did for the world's biggest football academy. What is a bit surprising is that the school is located in Southern China, and as you probably know China is not a football superpower (currently it is ranked #94 in the FIFA Ranking), but on the other hand who knows, maybe thanks to this academy this will change. But let's focus on the video. The team behind this short movie (which was part of the new ‘On Assignment’ series that ITN makes for ITV) shared some behind the scenes info with Dan Chung of News Shooter and apparently the drones carried such cameras like the Canon 5D Mark III and the RED Epic. You can watch the video below:


And here's an excerpt from the blog post:

"Using the DJI S1000 with the Canon 5D mkIII enabled us to get a rich colour scheme even through the haze, and the rock solid gimbal gave us lots of control to sculpt an eye-catching opening shot that slowly revealed the size of the enormous facilities without giving it all away at the start. With its retractable arms and rotors we were also able to transport the S1000 around easily and set-up it up quickly, allowing us to film in multiple locations during the short time-frame available.

We use a full-HD, zero-latency transmitter and a portable 24 inch HD monitor to help our clients see exactly what the camera is shooting while it is in the air.  This helps to make sure that we can get a winning shot with every flight and adjust the framing to exactly suit the client’s needs before starting our pre-planned filming path.  For a news crew this is especially important as it ensures they can get what they need and wrap the shoot on time."

If you want to find out more on the video and the shooting process, head over to the full article.


Go Creative Show on drone filmmaking: viral DJI+GoPro fireworks footage starts discussion anew
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
July 17, 2014, at 12:01 PM

The latest Go Creative Show deals with a topic that's undoubtedly hot in the past few days: drone flights and aerial shooting. The topic has been covered a few times already, but the attention has been drawn to it  again after Jos Stiglingh's footage of fireworks went viral and has made a several headlines in filmmaking blogs and newspages (mBlog post here), and after it's been reported that a flying drone nearly collided with a NYPD helicopter (find out more here)

Here's the list of topics covered with each guest (times in the podcast in brackets):

  1. The first you'll hear a short interview with the maker of the viral video Jos Stiglingh. In the show they talk about how the video became viral (with the help of GoPro team) and how he started aerial videography.
  2. (11:40) Matt Saunders – a copyright attorney discusses drone flight legality, with regard to footage copyrights and steps you should undertake to protect yourself
  3. (23:30) Jonathan Rupprecht - criminal defense attorney, commercial pilot, unmanned aircraft consultant, and a coauthor on legal treaties on unmanned aircraft law. The topic of their conversation is FAA laws and the future of commercial drone videography
  4. (35:00) Paul Antico – filmmaker and founder of Anticipate Media, and drone videography enthusiast. During the interview, Paul discusses techniques for shooting, grading and editing his footages, as well as legal and safety issues

Here's the podcast:


Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Just a brief reminder: the second guests's - Matt Saunders' - main advice is to abide by FAA regulations – this can be expensive, but if you do not, the agency might come after you. Apparently, this is what happened to the maker of the viral drone-through-fireworks footage; you can read more on that topic here. In the show, Matt Sauders offers legal advice for drone videography enthusiasts, and gives his email address, where you can send questions:


New Trends from the Trenches episode - Sony A7s, Atomos Shogun 4K and more!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
July 15, 2014, at 12:48 AM

The new episode of "Trends from the Trenches is now live" and as always it features our well-known hosts Jay P Morgan of The Slanted Lens and cinematographer Lars Lindstrom. In the new video they both discuss various interesting topics - among others they talk about Cinegear, the Atomos Shogun 4K display (that records 10-bit, 4:2:2 UHD 4K and HD video to Apple ProRes HQ, 422, or LT formats) and the exciting Sony A7s camera (low-light king according to Matthew Allard and many other filmmakers). They also discuss how passionate you need to be if you want to become a photographer or cinematographer and what kind of camera you would need. Also don't forget that you can download a podcast of this episode of Trends from the Trenches from iTunes.




Mamba FX - powerful node-based The Foundry's Nuke rival updated to version 2.0!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
July 14, 2014, at 4:27 PM

If you want to create motion graphics, visual effects or animations, there's After Effects, or The Foundry's Nuke and last but not least there was Apple Shake (RIP). But the choice is much wider. In fact, there's a great low-cost rival for some of these suites - SGO's Mamba FX which is a powerful and awesome compositing tool offering a node-based interface, unlimited layers and effects, keying, tracking, painting and restoration and it also can run other feature options including SGO’s stereo 3D toolset for shot by shot-based stereoscopic 3D corrections. Mamba FX got released last year and now the team behind this superb tool updated it to version 2.0. It is a significant development upgrade and now the suite is even more powerful. What's more the update is available free of charge for current Mamba FX users. The software is available for a wide variety of Windows, Linux, and Mac configurations and below you'll find some info on the new features, but SGO also made the decision to run a webinar on Wednesday 16th July - make sure to register if you want to find out more about the latest improvements (you can register here). SGO will run two sessions, so you'll be able to choose the one you prefer and a recorded version for download will also be available at a later date, so if you can’t make it to the live events there's no need to worry.

And now a bit on the new and updated features (via SGO):

  • Layer Route Effect - provides support and associated functions for working with multi-layer EXR files. (...) Mamba FX 2.0 includes features to split and route the multiple layers, allowing Mamba FX’s other compositing tools to act on individual elements during the compositing phase.

  • Spatial Isolation Keyer - interfaces with metadata that can be passed from CGI software via the EXR files.

  • "Point cloud” shape tracker - enables compositors to track 2D roto-shapes to shots very quickly. Multiple shapes can be tracked and combined using Boolean operations to rapidly create moving matte shapes.


If you would like to find out more on the update and on the suite, visit the official forums (here).

Mamba FX can be purchased directly from the SGO Mamba FX Shop for an introductory price starting from €239. If you would like to buy a license, follow this link. A free evaluation version is also available and you can download it here.


DJI presents Ronin - 3-axis stabilized handheld gimbal
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
July 10, 2014, at 3:28 PM

DJI, which is widely known for their drones, has just released their 3-axis stabilized handheld gimbal system called ‘Ronin’. These two products are not entirely different stories - DJI advertises that the experience in aerial cinematography helped to develop the Ronin. Previously displayed at NAB '14, DJI's gimbal is currently available for purchase. What edge does it have over the popular MoVi M5?

One particularly interesting feature is the ability to switch between 3 different operating modes: upright, underslung and briefcase. These allow for filming from entirely different perspectives – and changing between them is a matter of seconds. All this is presented in their promo video:

DJI Ronin weighs 4.2 kg (9.26lbs) and allows you to mount cameras weighing up to 7.25kg (16lbs)  It costs $4.499 - at this price level MoVi offers their M5, which is half the weight and supports up to 2.27 (5lbs)  load.  So if you’d like to use cameras heavier than DSLRs, a RED for instance, DJI Ronin could be a feasible option.

Just keep in mind that if you add the weight of a Ronin and a camera, the sum becomes quite scary (11.45kg/25.26 lbs). For how long can an operator carry such a setup? And will it be truly mobile and easy to operate, which should be its primary function? More info about DJI Ronin can be found at by following this link.



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