Posted on July 5th, 2010 2 comments
As another television production season begins (most network shows begin shooting shortly after the 4th of July holiday), the question of whether to shoot on film or digital formats has become almost an anachronism in 2010. The fact is that the SAG actions a year ago solidified and accelerated a now unstoppable march towards use of digital formats for all but some legacy shows that are still shot on film. New shows are almost universally choosing (some might say being compelled by the studio, but I digress…) to put the cast under AFTRA contracts and shoot with digital cameras of various types. Under the umbrella of “digital formats,” there are numerous choices available: compressed and uncompressed, videotape based and file based, HD formats and higher resolution formats, large format and small format, and price ranges for equipment ranging from ridiculously cheap (the Canon DSLR’s) to if-you-don’t-have-a-network-level-budget-you-probably-can’t-afford-it (F35, Panavision Genesis, etc.). This season, you will find network shows shot on equipment from Arri, Panavision, Red, Panasonic, Sony, and possibly some others as the primary, or “A” camera, but on the same sets on any given day you might very well find cameras from companies like Canon, Iconix, Woodman Labs (the Go Pro line), and even Apple’s iPhone being used, sometimes on the same scene. If it all sounds like a bit of a free for all, well, to some degree it is. On the down side, the presence of all of these devices, each one seemingly with its own specific file format, has made life much more difficult for post production, both in editorial and in final finishing. On the up side, the viability of all of them for specific purposes has given production more tools than they’ve ever had to explore visual creativity. Every show must ultimately decide what to use as the “A” camera, regardless of what other tools they might bring to the set on any given day. And the reasons behind those decisions are not always what people outside the mainstream television industry seem to think they are. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on January 2nd, 2010 3 comments
This is the time when you see a lot of reviews of what’s transpired over the last year, but I’m not going to do that. For one thing, 2009 really sucked on almost every level, so why rehash it? But more importantly, I like to look to the future and not dwell on the past. And the future will be, at the very least, well, interesting. And not necessarily in the ways you might expect. So here are some personal prognostications for your profound perusal. And please don’t hold me to any of them – they’re all based on personal opinion with no basis whatsoever in actual fact. That said…
Posted on November 26th, 2009 No comments
There seems to be a trend in recent years towards “do it yourself” post production, particularly on lower budgeted projects. The advent of ever cheaper technology – both on the camera side and on the post side – has helped to bring this about. And for many, the mere presence of these things has helped put them in a position to create projects that they could never have considered in years past. The development of high quality but relatively inexpensive cameras, exemplified by devices such as the Red One, the Sony EX1 and EX3, the Panasonic HVX200, and more recently the video enabled digital SLR’s from Canon (in particular the 5D and 7D models) allows individuals with talent and the right skills to create images that can rival those from much more expensive devices in many ways. And the lowering of the cost of entry for professional quality editing, compositing, and color correction systems allows those same people to finish their projects at a reasonable level of quality. Even sound editing and mixing can now be done on desktop computers with excellent results, given sensible room conditions. So the question isn’t can this be done, because obviously, it can. The question is should it be done?