This one’s for the camera department – Black Magic Cinema Camera

Five years ago the words “RED camera” would only mean one thing to most people: a red-coloured camera.  Nowadays you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody in the film industry who hadn’t heard of the camera manufacturer RED Digital Cinema or the RED camera itself.

It’s clear RED (and other digital cinema camera manufacturers) have had a profound impact on the industry over the past decade.  I still remember the day I came across RED’s website and read the announcement that they had created a camera that could record in 4K (4096×2304) resolution.  Back then 1080p and Blu-ray were still high-tech buzzwords and only the cinephiles had actually adopted the technology.  But here RED was proposing they were going to capture almost 4x that resolution.

Even in the past two years the landscape of digital camera technology has changed drastically.  First it was 35mm lens adapters and old still lenses, then came the discovery of DSLRs and the video mode that Canon originally released for photographic journalists to use when out in the field and needing to record video.  Canon started a digital revolution, with DSLRs almost stealing RED’s thunder.  Sure, a Canon 5D is no RED camera, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper and can still produce fantastic images.  After all, it’s been proven that this is the most important recipe to the average shooter; what gets me the best bang for the buck.

But now it seems the tables have turned once again.  Blackmagic Design, a company which normally specializes in hardware boxes for video encoding and processing, recently unveiled a digital cinema camera of their own.  The announcement came at this year’s NAB back in April.

So what makes this camera so special?

Well for starters it’s got as much dynamic range as the latest RED Epic (excluding HDRx).  With a whopping 13 stops, the Blackmagic Cinema camera has the same dynamic range as traditional film.  I mean look at some of this footage.  On top of that, and similar to RED, the camera records in a 12-bit RAW format, allowing maximum leverage in colour correction and post-production.  Sure, it only has 2.5K in resolution, but with 4K taking much slower to catch on in all theatres across the world, it’s nothing to hold against it.  What’s most exciting about this camera is what I was mentioning earlier regarding the perfect recipe for the average shooter.  That’s right, the price tag of this baby is only $2995 USD!!

This means that for what it used to cost to buy a 5D Mk. II (and not even what it costs to buy a Mk. III), you could afford a camera that allows you to shoot 12-bit RAW video with the same dynamic range as film, at a resolution high enough to project in any theatre.

If you can’t tell, we are really excited for this camera and to see what effect it will have on the industry.  The day has finally arrived where filmmakers can shoot footage with the same dynamic range as film, as well as have as much – if not more – room for correction in post, for under $5000.

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New School Meets Old School – Phil Tippett’s “MAD GOD”

Phil Tippett, master of stop-frame animation and famous for his work on the original Star Wars trilogy, is seeking funding on Kickstarter for a new stop-motion film called MAD GOD.  The film is described as “an experimental, hand-made, animated film, set in a Miltonesque world of monsters, mad scientists, and war pigs”.

The Kickstarter campaign has raised $108,704 with five days left and has already surpassed its original goal of $40,000.

MAD GOD looks like an incredibly original concept and story.  In the Kickstarter video (posted below) Phil explains the lengthy journey the project has taken since he first started it more than 20 years ago.  He decided to shelve the project once he realized the start of the “digital era” of cinematography was beginning, in the hopes that he would one day be able to shoot the project on digital cameras at a much more affordable cost over traditional 35mm film.

This brings about an interesting mix of old film technology meets new.  Phil is trying to create a project that – behind-the-camera – is photographed using modern day digital cinema and stills cameras, but relies on the old school art and sculpting methods for everything created in-front-of-the-camera.

Check out the video below for more information on the project and click here if you wish to donate to the cause.  The film is estimated for release by Dec 2013.

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Hollywood quality trailer, actually Kickstarter funded indie

Indie film ‘Dust’ (by Ember Lab) has the production quality equalling any of the hollywood mega-hits in the same genre, with one key difference: it is a Kickstarter funded indie film.

The trailer is breathtaking – and as you could imagine, they reached their funding goal of $80,000 (and were even oversubscribed to over $100,000).

I for one am looking forward to seeing this feature, and also looking forward to seeing what effect amazing indie films like Dust – created for a fraction of what you would expect- will have on the film landscape as a whole.

Checkout out the ‘Dust’ Kickstarter project here.

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Prescreen – discover and share great movies

“Every year thosands of great movies are made – but only a fraction of them ever make it to the big screen. The problem is they never find a home.”

Prescreen is an exciting new website providing curated social discovery of new films. A video-on-demand platform, specifically designed to promote and showcase premium video content.

Everyday, Prescreen features a new indie film on their website & email list.  If you find that film interesting – you can click through to watch the trailer. If you then feel you want to watch the whole thing – you can stream it for just $4 (on that first day). The film is available on the website for 60 days – but for the remaining 59 days the film will cost $8 to watch – so Prescreen is rewarding early watchers with a 50% discount.  Great idea.

Once you have purchased the film you have 48 hours to finish watching it – so you don’t have to worry if you get interrupted part-way through.

Overall, I think Prescreen is a great idea. DVD sales are dropping, and people are growing wearier of TV advertising.  Film distribution needs to be brought into 2012, and anything that helps the discovery and distribution of indie films is a win in my books.

And even better? Filmmakers share in the profits their films make.


Discover one new Movie Each Day, Stream On Demand


Checkout Prescreen – at

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At the Summer Box Office, a Battle Between Two Ways of Filming

At the Summer Box Office, a Battle Between Two Ways of Filming

Great piece about new digital filmmaking, vs classic photochemical techniques.

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Apple’s grip on Hollywood

iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macbooks – seeing an iDevice in a TV show or movie nowadays is certainly not out of place – in fact – in the young-teen market it is almost mandatory.

But unlike other products, Apple states they have never paid a cent for advertising in TV or movies. Where other brands pay the big bucks, Apple sits back, focusing on their product and brand, and Hollywood comes to them with open arms.

In 2011 iDevices were shown or discussed in close to 900 productions (30% more than 2010). 40% of films that topped the weekly box office, are included in this figure. Even the most common brands (Dell, Chevy, Ford) don’t have this production penetration – and they will pay for it.

And one of Apple’s most viral placements? Their luminous Apple logo on the back of their Macbooks. Perfectly placed (and flipped) to appear upright when on camera.

Apple - perfectly placed logo


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An example of the usefulness of bittorrent for entirely legal purposes

An example of the usefulness of bittorrent for entirely legal purposes

Wil Wheaton (from Stand by Me fame!) has a great post about the usefulness of BitTorrent. Fast, distributed downloading of files – any file – not just shaky cam rips of the latest super hero movie.

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How Pixar almost lost Toy Story 2

Amazing – the story of how Pixar almost lost Toy Story 2 to a bad backup.From being in software development for over 10 years – I can tell you, nothing makes you tighten your backup procedure like a failed backup disaster!

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On the Crowd & Films

Two heads are better than one right? Well billions of heads, located all around the world are even better… Especially if those heads find your head interesting, and have wallets.

Kickstarters Film Funding Growth

Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are two examples of popular crowd-funding websites that are shaking up the world of fundraising.  No longer are inventors, filmmakers, or anyone else with an idea forced to don a suit and sell their soul to investors. Investors who may or may not even actually care about their product.

Crowd-funding connects those who share a passion and allows them to fund their passion. Want to see that nifty iPad case get created? You can help with that. Dig the look of that film and would love to actually watch it someday? You can help with that too.

Crowd-funded films made up 10% of the total entries into Sundance this year. That’s 14 films that were funded by faceless allies, brought together through the internet by a shared passion – and all willing to invest in a film made by a person they have never met.

In the last three years Kickstarter & IndieGoGo alone have helped over 4,600 films raise the funding they need. That’s over $42 million dollars raised! And it’s growing at an incredible rate.

In an age where interconnectivity is taken for granted, the term ‘crowd’ is becoming a common prefix. Crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, crowd-curated.  The crowds are the connections -and crowd-sourced capital is just the tip of the iceberg.

The ‘crowd collective’ will apply to film in many ways in the coming years, and it’s an exciting time to be part of that crowd.

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Super. Easy. Callsheets.

Setkick adds Callsheets

Create your daily callsheets faster than ever before.  Big statement you say?  We’re pretty confident that our new addition of callsheet creation to Setkick is faster and easier than any other alternatives out there.

You hardly have to lift a finger.  We automatically detect the daily weather, the address of the closest hospital, and (if you have broken everything down for that day) we populate all the cast, crew, and elements that are required for that day.  All you have to do is enter call times, special instructions, walkie channels, and you’re done!

You can preview your call sheet as a PDF, and when it’s looking perfect – simply click ‘Publish’ and then ‘Save’.  Your callsheet is now available to download by all members of your project – or if you prefer – you can easily email the PDF to your cast and crew, just in time for tomorrows shoot.

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