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"60 Seconds on Set" video series - a few tips on how to use a follow focus!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 31, 2014, at 1:11 AM

If you use an interchangeable lens camera, you are probably aware that a follow focus can dramatically improve the quality of your work. A follow focus can aid in achieving repeatable, sharp focus in your video shots, but using it requires a bit of experience and many filmmakers put markers allowing them to have some more control over focusing. If you want to hear a few tips on using a follow focus, check out the video below. It features filmmaker, educator and musician Clinton Harn, who hosts "60 Seconds on Set" - a new educational series from RØDE Microphones that offers filmmakers and content producers quick tips and tricks for getting the best results when out in the field. In the video he shares a simple method that should make using a follow focus even more effective:


Sony responds to firmware hack unlocking 4K recording on the Sony F5!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 31, 2014, at 12:29 AM

A few days ago we reported that Sony F5 user and filmmaker Paul Ream found a way to hack Sony F5's firmware. It gave him the possibility to unlock 4K XAVC recording on the camera. It was an exciting news but many expected that such action might void the warranty of the product (and as you know the F5 is not a cheap camera). On the other hand even though performing the hack might carry other risks, the F5 and the F55 incorporate very similar hardware and 4K recording on the F5 was disabled by Sony by software. And because the F5 is $8,000 cheaper than the F55, hacking it can be tempting. But as predicted, Sony responded to the new situation and on their official forums one of the moderators posted this disclaimer: 

"Sony is aware of the All File modification that was done by some F5 owners to enable 4K XAVC recording in the camera head. As a matter of policy Sony cannot approve any modifications that are not part of an official firmware release. All firmware updates from Sony come with quality assurances that guarantee high quality performance. Furthermore, unauthorized modifications to the product are not covered by, and may void, Sony 's product warranty."

As you can see the message is very general and it still remains unknown if performing the hack will void your camera's warranty, but you can be pretty sure that the next firmware update will block the possibility to record 4K footage on the F5. 

Paul Ream replied to Sony:

"Firstly, I did not go looking for 4K on my F5 because I felt I was entitled to get it for free. I do not expect to have anything more on my camera than I paid for originally.  It was more a case of idle curiosity - a challenge if you like.

Obviously, I thought for a while about what to do with the knowledge… but this ‘hack’ as some call it, was so simple, that I was actually shocked nobody had thought of it before.  Did people really expect me to say nothing? Most F5 users on here were begging me to tell them how I did it!

If I’m angry, it’s because Sony have failed to protect the investment that F55 owners have made in a very expensive product. This damages the reputation of the brand - i.e.. both camera’s.  I’m not even sure I’d have the guts to use 4K4F5 on a paid job until we know more about what’s going on with these camera’s?

Yes, I think Sony now need to offer 4K on the F5 officially - even at a reasonable fee. They know it’s what their customers are crying out for, and we all know it’s now possible.  To do anything else would be petty. Trying to sell us a £10K upgrade for items we didn’t want was when the long term plans for the F5 went wrong… now’s the chance to put that right.

What I am pleased about is the fact we’re all now discussing how these professional items are sold to professional users."

Developing a professional camera takes a lot of money and time and this is why such companies as Sony and Canon block some features and charge much more for higher camera models, but on the other hand when you buy something you want to have the right to do anything you want with it. We will see where this discussion will bring us...


New Go Creative Show on pros and cons of self-distributing online and more!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 29, 2014, at 10:07 PM

A lot of hot news recently - among them the information that ARRI AMIRA can record UHD video, a new awesome Movcam cage for the Sony A7s got released and more. The new episode of the Creative Show talks about these events, but mainly the authors speak to Ted Alexandro and Hollis James, comedians and creators of the new web series “Teachers Lounge”. Ted released specials with Comedy Central and appeared on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel and more. Hollis James has been working with Ted for much of their careers. If you have some experience with self-distribution you know that sometimes it can be a very ambitious task and it often requires not only a lot of knowledge but also useful contacts, unique ideas, and so on. This is why you'll probably be happy to find out that the guests of the show talk about pros and cons of self-distributing online. But of course many other topics are discussed in the podcast (full list below).


To download the file to your disk, click here.

And here's the list of topics discussed with Ted and Alexandro:

  • How Ted and Hollis got the hottest comedians on their show
  • Incorporating improv elements into the show
  • Pros and cons of self-distributing online
  • How Ted and Hollis got started in comedy
  • Why comedians need to embrace “bombing”
  • Alec Baldwin
  • What can we expect for season 2
  • Working with Thundershorts
  • Their standup road stories
  • and more…


A walk through editing keyboards, mouses, controllers and others!
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
August 29, 2014, at 9:15 PM

When time is a factor (when isn’t it?) the last thing you want to face is your gear slowing you down. While it’s hard to say that a keyboard does so, a special editing keyboard featuring lots of dedicated shortcuts can certainly give you the edge. A great round-up of existing editing keyboards, mice and controllers has been posted Jonny Elwyn at

"Keyboard shortcuts are the hallmark of a speedy editor. The more shortcuts you’ve got memorised the faster you will be. Learning all the shortcuts of course takes time, and if you’re new to a piece of software it will take even longer. That’s why keyboards like the ones from UK based Editor Keys (and their US sister company KB Covers) can be very useful."

First Jonny presents silicone covers for keyboards – these are easy to install and remove covers dedicated for a particular piece of software that let you turn your external or built-in MacBook keyboard into a professional workstation. For examples, please have a look at Editor Keys offer here.

Secondly he goes with a full scale pro-gaming keyboard: the Corsair Vengeance K70 programmable gaming keyboard:

"The beauty of this keyboard is that every key can be programmed to a macro and stored in it’s own internal memory, which means you only have to set it up once. Each mechanical key is also able to be programmed to be backlit by any one of 16.8 million colours and 10 different levels of brightness. Although designed for PC users they seem to work on Mac too."

Then Jonny moves on to Pen Tablets. He doesn’t write much about it – except their ergonomic advantage over a standard mouse, and links back to his previous articles on Wacom tablets.

There’s also a couple of controllers, like the Logitech G-13 (photo below):

"The Logitech G-13 is a programmable gaming keyboard that allows you to set up your keyboard shortcuts and macros (multiple keystrokes activated in one button push) so that you can edit faster than ever before. Or so goes the promise. I’ve just ordered one so I’ll let you know how I get on with it in due course."

If you do decide to stick with a mouse, there’s also a selection of these – mostly for professional gaming purposes, but this means they feature numerous programmable buttons – like the Razer Naga Epic with nineteen buttons, out of which 12 are additional programmable ones.

Please visit Jonny article here for more information, links, videos and photos.



Apple's user numbers for Final Cut Pro - an informative histogram!
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
August 28, 2014, at 3:35 AM

The topic of transition from Final Cut Pro 7 to X with all the consequences might seem long depleted, but as long as there is FCP7 user base, it will return. Now, an interesting post has been published at forums – Franz Bieberkopf took some time and effort to summarize the number FCP older versions and FCPX users across the years. He openly admits that these numbers are of limited value, however it’s an interesting chunk of data nonetheless:

"Though I think user numbers are of limited value, it has become a bit of an interest to me (particularly in light of how secretive and vague the various developers tend to be, and in light of the sometimes outrageous claims here). I dug into past announcements from Apple in order to sketch the shape of the numbers that we do know (even including a graph!), and thus the growth curves over the past 15 years."

The data is not complete – there’s a big gap between 2003 and 2007, but a clear tendency can be observed. So, here’s the graph Franz mentions:

Below Franz’s post, other users rightly point out that you can look at the graph in two ways. On the one hand FCPX is currently still only half way in the number of users FCP7 had in its prime, and on the other, it only took FCPX three years to get to the same point that FCP 1-7 reached in 7 years.

Full text, with links to sources can be found at via this link.



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