Friday, March 9, 2012

Gear to see at SXSW?

SXSW didn't used to be a gear show, but more and more new and cool stuff is being shown each year. Here's the rundown of what to see:

Canon is sponsoring a screening venue and a "lounge" at the Driskill. Check out the C300 and maybe the 5D MIII at their booth at the trade show?

 Newtek is doing a smorgasbord of live webcasts at their booth at the trade show using Tricaster.

Adobe will be present, but mostly concentrating on the Interactive portion of SX with a bunch of panels.

HP and Nvidia are holding up shop at the Loft on 6th and doing demo's and workshops with Avid, RED, and fresh-off-his-VisualFX-Oscar-Rob Legato(!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

IBC/ BUT 2011

so, I'm probably the only guy in the biz who has gone to the Netherlands three years in a row for both IBC in Amsterdam and The BUT Film Festival in Breda. There's not too many other people around who need to see the new Sony/Panasonic/Red/ whatever and then take a train an hour south and watch a John Waters/Jorg Buttereit or Nick Nedd film. This year I was doing triple duty by carrying around a camBLOCK Pan and Tilt motion control system in my satchel and doing adhoc demo's on the IBC show room floor as well as shooting some timelapse shots at the Film Fest.

Here's a few quick highlights: AJA had a good slew of solid product announcements including the IO XT - the portable IO for Thunderbolt with Loop through! its shipping in Q4.
AJA also demo'd a new (free!) software gui called CONTROL ROOM that will make it easy to deal with video in, out and convert and (soon to be playlists?!) in this multi-software-the-same-machine-wtf-do-i-do-with-FCPX-new-world.

Also on the thunderbolt front was Sonnet, who are inching closer to shipping the plethora of devices they announced at NAB. This one is particularly cool :
its a 1RU Mac mini chassis that has room for the Sonnet Thunderbolt to PCIE box that will hold your full lane card. This is how you make an Xserve in 2011/2012.

Panasonic previewed another hand-held Stereo 3D camcorder, the HDC-Z10000. This one will come in at about $3500 (vs $22K for the 3DA1) It does not have dual HD-SDI like the 3DA1 - other comparisons forthcoming, but this could be the compact stereo cam that finally makes a dent in the predator market.
and, RED showed their Epic with an EF mount that controls Iris and everyone gathered around to bow down to it. Cumon Panasonic - make one of these for the AF100!
Tangent Devices wins the award for the coolest looking booth. Its a castle! oh, and the also previewed a new line of modular control interfaces called Element. The Element's should hopefully be ready for Resolve, Scratch and Color (?, RIP) and others by the time they ship.
Sachtler wins the award of tricking me into learning about new tripods by way of free Toblerone. The new ACE tripod does look pretty slick and affordable.
The Sony HXR-NX70 is already a shipping product. Somehow I missed the spec before about it being rain and dust proof. Pretty cool!
hey kids! this is a film flat bed! you can use it to edit and view 35mm and 16mm film and yes companies are still making and marketing them! This unit is made by Kinoton.
This is James Cameron and Vincent Pace talking about how awesome 3D is and why you should hire them on your next big budget Stereo shoot.
The Netherlands in Sept is the only place in the world where you can see hollywood giants like Cameron on stage and then an hour later see underground film legends like Nick Zedd.
(Cameron screened a future movie of Cirque Soleil with some impressive stereo effects with RealD and Christie Digital rigs. Zedd screened a ton of stuff at the BUT, including an insanely analog triple 16mm film with cassette tape non-sync audio experimental film.)

This is how you park your bike in Holland.
oh yeah! and here's the movie that me and Clay Liford were at the BUT showing. WUSS! We need to make another movie stat so we can go back next year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

NAB 2011 top 8 and what to see at the Texas Production Roundup!

top 8 NAB good stuffs:
no disqualifications for gear that was just future talk, cause just about everything shown on the floor was future gear. so here goes:

8. JVC baby 3D camera: the GY-HMZ1 its smaller than the HM100 and its in stereo for under $3K. will it be the camera that brings 3D production to the masses?

7. Matrox MXO2 Thunderbolt adapters: turn any MXO2 into a thunderbolt box for $299. (no thunderbolt loop though) backwards compatibility is your friend.

6. AJA "Phaser" - basically an IO Express with thunderbolt I/O and up/down/cross built-in. It could easily be the defacto post box I/O when it ships later this year (?)

5. Sonnet FusionEcho Express PCIE Thunderbolt box. add a full PCIE slot to any Macbook Pro or iMac with thunderbolt! KONA3G or Atto Fiber in your laptop you say? well ok!

4. FCPX for $299, Avid Media Composer for $995! of course, FCPX for $299 doesnt include all the other suite apps (announcements pending?), and Avid's price is temporary and dependent on if you own FCP, both are pretty significant.

3. Blackmagic "Atem" product line. Blackmagic bought Echolab last year and brought it back out this year w/ less zero's in the pricing. get a full daddy HD broadcast hardware based switcher for $6-$10K

2. Aaton quietly showed the only hybrid 4K/film camera on the show floor. its a 2 or 3 perf 35mm Penelope camera that can be changed from film to 4k in 30 min. It also can record offline to Avid DnxHD. The online codec is a 800MB/s 4K DPX. The digital mag has a built in Dalsa CCD sensor! crazy.

1. KinoFlo practical light bulbs! how come it took them so long to make something like this! around $20 a light.

come see some of this stuff this thursday at the Texas Production Roundup in Grapevine! the yearly post-NAB show goes from 9am-5pm this year and will also include some nifty seminars on media archiving, AJA on-set and post work flows, thunderbolt overload and future FCPX talk!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

too many shows, oh and NAB is next week

its a bit easier to send updates from Twitter and Facebook these days than write up a whole big 'ol blog post, so I'll just do a quick recap:

March - SXSW - the trade show was bigger this year than it usually is - still plenty of web 2.0 booths, but there was some video/film gear to be seen as well.
check out for some musings including a preview of the new Bogen 509HD head w/ a lite up indicator to tell you when your camera is balanced!

Late March - the Cinemacon in Vegas. this is the gear show for movie theaters that has replaced Show West. The most interesting thing on the floor there was that both Doremi and Qube cinema were showing ways to export DCP's directly from Final Cut Studio/Compressor. This is basically the workflow equivalent of it being 1995 and if were Avid were to say could export to a 35mm film print from their time line. The future of independent digital cinema has just become a lot more accessible.

NAB is next week! Expect new toys and software from Blackmagic, AJA, Adobe, and maybe Apple? Find me on the floor or follow me at @barak_epstein and @videotex

Thursday, January 27, 2011

EARTHLING going on tour this spring!

the Feature film EARTHLING is prepping for a theatrical tour this spring 2011. Fan us up on Facebook and request a screening in your town using the DemandIt link on this page!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Texas Theatre incorporates DIY Digital and analog cinema!

its been a while since anything was posted here, but I keep getting notes from folks that come across this site and want to see stuff here, so Im back. I've been busy reviving the historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff. (south of Downtown Dallas).
Weve installed a digital cinema server configured by Emerging Pictures and built by DigitALL. Its an excellent way for indie cinemas to avoid the high cost of DCP compatibility & delivery.

And on the complete 180 from that, we've also installed dual Elmo 16mm projectors and are doing a fair amount of 16mm screenings with a super old-skool manual changeover process. A recent print of Throne of Blood rivaled any 35mm or DCP that you could see, plus it was just plain cool!

Future plans for the theatre do include installing new 35mm rigs, and maybe well do DCP in the future as well. we'll see!

but, I usually post things about production gear here: so I will just say that weve got a demo of the new Panasonic AF100 coming in a couple of weeks and I'll be back here with more insights and possible configs for the cam.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trip to the Netherlands II

here's the report from my 2nd annual trip to the BUT Film Festival in Breda, and to IBC in Amsterdam.

the film I produced that's been making the festival rounds: EARTHLING, took home the best feature jury prize!

Its a 2-hr multi-stop train between Amsterdam and Breda, so I had to made a quick day trip to and from there to get back for the festival awards show. Luckily, the IBC floors are pretty tightly squeezed next to each other allowing one to cover lots of space quickly. Unluckily, however, is that the show floors didn't seem to have air conditioning!


Zeiss LWZ.2 Lightweight Compact Zoom lens w/ Canon EF mount on a 5D!

The ARRI Booth had plenty of Alexa's set up, allowing anyone to get in some good gun time. The camera seems ridiculously easy to use. The electronic viewfinder literally looks as good if not better than an optical finder. The embedded ProRes4444 workflow and (future) higher res workflow will be the things that push this cam into the mainstream rental pool for higher end work.

The newly announced Canon XF100/105 was on display in the heavily touted Stereo mode. The cams have built-in adjustments for creating 3D stereo images. The rig here is beta unit by RedRock Micro.

Canon also showed a low budget way to display 3D w/ 2 low cost projectors

Panasonic showed their new 152 inch(!) 4K Plasma. w/ four HD-SDI inputs. You couldn't help but stare at this thing for awhile.

Panasonic also debuted their long awaited DSLR-sized sensor AF100 cam! Its shown here with a Zeiss CP.2 prime. The camera will ship in december (w/o lens) for under $6K. It's got just about everything 5D/7D shooters want combined with the traditional cam features one would expect from a pro panasonic cam (TC, HD-SDI, XLR audio..etc.) the only thing missing is the SDHC capture codec (its AVCHD), but ----

that's where the new AJA Ki-Pro Mini will come in to save the day. The Mini has HD-SDI in (and HDMI) and will work great as a 10-bit 4:2:2 recorder for the AF100. Its shown here along with the original studio style Ki-Pro.

and here's something you dont get to see at NAB:

And we now have a final answer to the Avid vs FCP debate: The Steenbeck! Steenbeck was back in full force in the post-production hall showing a new(?) Super8mm rig, the ST822!