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Canon announces 4 million ISO camera! Who's going to buy a $30k surveillance camera?
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
August 4, 2015, at 10:15 AM

Canon’s latest announcement is yet another (after XC10) that’s receiving negative article headlines and comments about being vastly overpriced and at the same time offering too little. We’re talking here about the new ME20F-SH costing $30,000, which boasts 4 000 000 ISO, and according to Canon, among other uses, it is meant for: 'nighttime surveillance and security, cinematic production, reality television, and nature/wildlife documentaries'. While the advertised ability to capture clear image in color in utter darkness is least to say impressive, lack of higher resolutions or even internal recording (SDI/HDMI outputs only) may put off the potential wealthy buyers.

The thing it does for sure is that it opens some possibilities that are otherwise unreachable, take nighttime aerial shooting, or filming the subjects without the need of additional lighting which might reveal the presence of a camera – like wildlife documentary or reality TV. The issue is that these are still a minority, confining the ME20F-SH into a niche instantly, and permanently.

More than that, Caleb Ward from premiumbeat.com suggests that the new cam will not find applause even in areas it is supposedly aimed for. He suggests that it is simply too expensive for most uses to buy, even these highly specific. He believes that $30k is a huge overkill for security & surveillance, as well as for reality TV. Nature and wildlife documentaries may find full HD not enough to invest in this camera, as it would hardly be future-proof. In his opinion, cinematic productions may find it useful, however, Canon has not released info about cam’s DR, which is one of the key specs.

At the end of his article, Caleb concludes:

A few years ago, having a revolutionary camera that couldn’t record 4K would be fine. But with 4K filmmaking becoming more and more popular, it’s incredibly nearsighted to release or buy a camera that can only record HD. Combined with the inconvenience of shooting with an external recording device and the high price point, it’s hard to see a scenario in which this camera will find a significant foothold in the industry.

Perhaps this is too harsh of a judgement - in the press release Canon clearly states that 'Due to the specialist nature and demand for this product, the ME20F-SH will only be available to selected partners' and was never meant for wider sales and shouldn't be perceived from that perspective. You can read Canon’s press release with major camera specs here and Caleb’s text here. The ME20F-SH should be available from December 2015.

Source: http://www.usa.canon.com, http://www.premiumbeat.com

Filming in the moonlight - 'Refuge' - high ISO amazing short narrative shot with a7s!
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
June 25, 2015, at 12:03 PM

Sony’s a7s has been called the ‘Low Light King’ for a reason – plenty of tests have shown its potential for shooting in the dark. Tests are one thing, the real action is another, and guess what – someone has actually decided to make a short entirely in the dark with this camera. The short’s called ‘Refuge’ and it was shot literally in the dark – with only the moon lighting the place. The film claims the title of ‘the first narrative ever filmed entirely in moonlight’.

Without spoiling too much, let’s first have a look at it:

It’s clearly visible that it was shot at high ISO (51200), but the setting of a out-of-this-world ecosystem explored by scientists allows for the graining to be acceptable, and even adding some flair to the image. It also needs to be mentioned that pulling the focus and framing is no small feat in such an environment – round of applause here for the team.

There’s not much info in the video description at vimeo.com, but looking in the comments section the uploader shares some insight into how the short narrative was actually shot:

We tested all of the picture profiles and seriously considered pp7 for slog, but unfortunately we couldn't reconcile the way it handled noise in the deep shadows unless we graded down about 2 stops, which we couldn't afford to risk committing to. Therefore we landed on pp6, shot wide open at 1/25 with the speedbooster. Lastly, the 4K from the shogun was utilized to give Neat Video every bit of info we could throw it to smooth out the noise.

Source: http://samshapson.com

IndieVice - ILC smartphone body for filmmakers to come soon?
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
May 19, 2015, at 1:55 PM

If you’d like to take full advantage of your smartphone’s video feature, you’ll definitely need some gadgets; there’s already plenty to choose from, but one that looks exceptionally smart is about to enter the market. We’re talking about the ‘IndieVice’ described as ‘the world’s first universal Smart Body for The Smart Phone, which converts your smartphone into a professional camera’.

While the ‘professional camera’ part is a strong exaggeration, the device has quite a lot to offer. According to info at indievice.com, it will feature:

  • zoom-in/zoom-out technology
  • glare-deflector
  • comfortable eye-piece
  • flip screen technology
  • universal accessory mount
  • universal lens adapter
  • and all the other add-ons

You can find out a little more about IndieVice’s build and features in the official product page here (although the data is far from complete). Now, you may ask how much does it cost – it’s not for sale yet. The official page states that only one prototype exists so far and they’re only just preparing to launch a Kickstarter campaign. So, not much is known, except that the website and marketing strategy for IndieVice looks rather professional, and the crowdfunding campaign may be more of a formality.

Source: http://www.indievice.com

Kickstarter news: SSD instead of CFast - a plug & play device called C BOX
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
May 19, 2015, at 1:32 PM

The cost of media you record onto is sometimes overlooked when you pick your camera, which is particularly important when you get one that uses CFast 2.0, that can be easily called the new standard for 4K recording. An interesting project just came up at Kickstarter – it’s called C Box and it’s basically a dual SSD bay plugged directly into CFast ports.

Let’s have a look at the promo video for C Box:

One thing is that the cost of SSDs is smaller than that of CFast cards, but C Box has other advantages too: SSDs have faster data transfer rates, you can use any SSD that you like, and additionally you’ll generally have longer record times available (e.g. a 1TB SSD instead of a 25GB CFast)

There are some drawbacks too. The design looks absolutely non-weather proof, so outdoor use will be very limited – SSDs are only halfway inside the C BOX, plus you’ll need to have your media bay opened on your camera. There’s also the issue that you’ll have to find some space to mount the C BOX. The SSDs will require some powering too, this is what the Kickstarter page says on this matter:

Draw Powered From Your Anton Bauer, V-Lock, or Wall-Mount Power Supply! The C-Box system comes equipped with a standard 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC female power port. Use this with any 5V 2A power supply and you’re ready to go. We recommend using at least 2 amps of power in order to ensure proper powering of device and all connected drives.

If the C BOX in the video looks amateurish too you, that may be due to the fact that it’s been 3D printed – the final product is promised to have a better looking case with a little more space between the drives to keep the cool. According to the information, the C BOX will cost $499.95. At the moment of writing this, the C BOX has nearly half the funds with more than 20 days of campaigning to go. Find out more about the C BOX in its Kickstarter campaign page here.

Source: https://www.kickstarter.com

Is ‎360° video the tech of tomorrow? GoPro buys Kolor!
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
May 14, 2015, at 3:43 PM

360 degree videos are by no means a novelty, and the fact that YouTube support 360 download & viewing plus the recent acquisition of company called Kolor by GoPro Inc only highlights the potential of this technology. If you haven’t heard about 360 videos on YouTube, you may want to look at this post in our blog, meanwhile, let’s have a look at Kolor, and how it is relevant for GoPro Inc.

Kolor has a decade of experience in creating software stitching images, currently providing solution for panorama software, virtual software and video-stitching software like the Autopano, Panotour or Autopano Video. And they’ve just been bought by GoPro. Currently there’s already a good few of manufacturers offering spherical GoPro mounts designed to shoot 360 video, but still a third party app was needed to stitch the footage. The addition of Kolor into GoPro team will hopefully help develop the tech further (both software and hardware).

In the press release on GoPro.com we read:

Spherical media enables a range of immersive viewing experiences and is an essential building block of virtual reality (VR), a technology poised to transform entertainment, education and other industries. Kolor’s solutions enable users to combine multiple photographs or videos to produce high-resolution panoramic or spherical content that can be enjoyed on mobile devices, the web or in a virtual reality environment.

And an excerpt from Kolor’s press release:

This is a unique opportunity to give professionals and casual users the chance to use the advanced technologies that Kolor develops. It also gives us the necessary support to fully commit ourselves toward what we’ve always believed to be the next digital revolution: immersive media. GoPro’s capture devices and Kolor’s software will combine to deliver exciting and highly accessible solutions for capturing, creating and sharing spherical content. The transaction is scheduled to close in May, when we’ll officially be part of GoPro.

Source: http://gopro.comhttp://www.kolor.com

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