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Lake of Dreams - creative and inspiring short shot during the Burning Man Festival!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 27, 2014, at 3:00 AM

From time to time you come across images or videos that can inspire your creativity and give you new ideas on how to shoot a specific project. The short below is called "Lake of Dreams" and it was shot by Roy Two Thousand - a musician and filmmaker who tries to express himself through music and film and through absolutely beautiful and inspiring images. Roy is also a teacher in Film and Media at Ex’pression College in Emeryville, where he shares his passion and expertise with his students. His classes present innovative audio visual collaborations and the video below proves that he tries to show many events in a more unique and creative way. "Lake of Dreams" was shot during the annual Burning Man Festival at the Black Rock Desert and as you will see Roy mixes different techniques (time-lapse, slow-mo, etc.) to produce something surreal. Amazing work and a lot to enjoy. If you like what you see make sure to check out Roy's other videos.



Beacon - short film shot with Photron BC2 HD high-speed camera and Canon 1DC!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 19, 2014, at 1:37 AM

Michael Sutton wrote a guest post for News Shooter in which he shares his thoughts and experiences connected to the idea of reverse storytelling. Actually Michael's last three films were based on this concept and his method is quite simple - he goes to a location with a topic in mind, then shoots the footage and goes back to his studio to explore all the ideas that he can draw from it. He also thinks that there is something to tell with almost anything you capture and it's hard to disagree with this statement. For example below you can admire one of Michael's latest creations - a short film that he shoot at the ocean and after watching it he felt that he should write a poem about it:

"I had never written a poem before, which explains why it does not rhyme and may be a bit disjointed. The concept: A man moves to the ocean to escape a life of flat boring pastures and a dark past, but he finds he cannot escape it by running away. He sees his demons in everyday things and it is only his faith (symbolized by the lighthouse) that keeps him safe. He is the gull."

The short film was mainly shot on the Photron BC2 HD high-speed camera at 250-2000fps, but he also used a Canon 1D C 4K DSLR, and a GoPro Hero 3+.

"For lenses I used my old school 300mm Tamron SP with Adaptall mount (the main lens used on 50 percent of the shots), a manual 50mm Nikon AI and a 16mm Rokinon in Nikon mount. I like the 300mm Tamron as I can change the mount from Nikon to Canon etc in seconds and it is fairly light for a 300mm."

You will see that the film features some aerial footage - it was done with the help of the DJI Phantom 2 with the Zenmuse H3-D2 2-axis gimbal. 

"I only had one Phantom battery so I knew I would only get two or three passes over each lighthouse at most. I decided to bring a power inverter with me and charge the battery between locations. This worked nicely as most of the locations were spread 20 to 40 minutes apart."

For more, head over to the full version of the article (here).


Matt Allard on shooting his documentary "Humanoids" using the Sony F55!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 13, 2014, at 2:38 AM

"Humanoids" is a documentary shot by Matthew Allard for Aljazeera's 101 East and as you might predict, the film focuses on Humanoid Robotics in Japan. This country is the world leader in robotics and the topic is just fascinating, because if you feel that robots are a thing of the future, they may be closer to reality than you think. But this also raises many serious questions nad doubts and for example in May 2014, the UN held its first convention to debate whether killer robots should be banned. But Matt also shared some info on how he shot the documentary with the Sony F55 (and he used the F3 as his “B” camera). Let's not forget that the project was done for Aljazeera, so it was shot for broadcast and according to Matt most broadcasters don’t want to deal with Log or large amounts of data, so the usual standard is 50Mb/s. This is why Matt made the decision to shoot the majority of the footage in 50 Mb/s in a standard REC709 profile.


"You really do need to get everything right in camera as you don’t have a lot of room to correct the image if you don’t.

When you’re working as a one man band on a long format show there is so much you have to be responsible for. Not only are you taking care of the camera and the lighting but often the audio too. A lot of the time you have two radio mics running, so you’re trying to monitor the levels and quality of the audio as well as focusing on the shot at hand. I try to hide microphones as much as possible but without a dedicated sound operator it can be difficult and time-consuming. Certain types of clothing just naturally make noise or that annoying rustling sound and hiding the microphone works better on certain types of clothing than others."

He also shared a few thoughts on shooting with the F3:

"I used the F3 as a second camera for quite a few of the interviews. I would often put it on the Redrockmicro one man crew which is a motorised parabolic slider. It is fast to set up and easy to use. You don’t have to attach motors or tripod heads to it, you just take it out, put your camera on and plug it in. It allows you to get some interesting angles."

For more head over to the full version of the blog post (here).


Blackmagic URSA first footage!
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
August 12, 2014, at 8:59 AM

A couple of days ago there have been some news around that Blackmagic URSA has been shipped to a number of users, though it’s still not openly available. These were not rumours – and, as a matter of fact, the first URSA footage is already available. John Brawley shared the video in his blog with a short comment:

This clip was shot over a period of about 90 mins.  I filled three of my four 128Gb SanDisk CFast 2.0 cards and did it on two Vlock batteries. Many of the shots were done before sunrise.  Pretty impressive for 400 ISO @ T4 at that frame rate.

All shots are ISO 400, 60 FPS at 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) ProRes HQ except for just one which was 24 FPS, the shot of the sun actually rising in shot.

One thing to note.  The Cooke 25-250 zoom is a vintage lens that’s over 30 years old.  It’s quite soft on the edges even when the centre is sharp.  You’ll also see a lot of chromatic aberration.  It’s hardly what you’d call a modern lens design.  But I like it for it’s personality.

Have a look at this spectacular footage:

While it looks gorgeous, John’s final sentence spoils the impression:

I should add, single node grade in Resolve, no NR and I had to fix two shots with black sun.

So, the good old black sun artifact it still there. For full text have a look at John’s blog here.


New MacBreak Studio episode - the improved Voiceover Tool in Final Cut Pro X!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 6, 2014, at 12:23 AM

It's time for the new episode of MacBreak Studio in which our friends Mark Spencer and Steve Martin continue to explain the new features and improvements that got introduced with the 10.1.2 update to Final Cut Pro X. In this episode they both focus on several new features which make recording voiceover tracks directly into Final Cut Pro X much easier. Mark reports that for example now you can add a visual and audio countdown to start the recording session, you also have the ability to mute the project if it has other audio during the section you want to add voiceover to, and additionally you can record a voiceover multiple times (and you can easily choose the one you like the most).


And here's a bit more on this episode from Mark:

"In this week's episode of MacBreak Studio, Steve Martin from Ripple Training demonstrates all these features and more. A fantastic feature that Steve shows near the end of the show is the ability to break apart the audition clip to reveal all the takes. By doing so, not only can you choose the best take; you can go further and choose the best sections of each take to construct the best overall voiceover.

One correction: you'll see early on in the video that Steve does not have a keyboard shortcut available when he selects the Record Voiceover command from the Window menu. But there is a keyboard shortcut for this command: option-command-8. If it doesn't show up for you either, it's probably because you are using a custom command set like Steve was using. Choose Final Cut Pro > Commmands to check this. It's a common "gotcha": when Apple adds new keyboard shortcuts in an update, they don't appear in custom command sets created before the update. Switching back to the default command set restores the shortcut in the menu."



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