If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you could tell by all the non-stop spamming last Friday, that I was at the annual conclave of editors and content creators known as the FCPUG Supermeet, at the Mission Bay Conference Center.
The day-long event began with a series of workshops offered by different vendors, followed by a vendor showcase before the main event: A 3+ hour-long stage event featuring content creators and vendors highlighting innovation, creativity, and the latest developments in content creation technology.
Here’s a sampling of some of the highlights of the day’s events …
Fotoshop by Adobé
Commercial director Jesse Rosten‘s hilarious parody of beauty product informercials, Fotoshop by Adobé, has been making the rounds since it went viral a few weeks ago.
Jesse was on hand to screen the video, and talk about the genesis of the project.
Canon USA was doing ‘Future of EOS Cinematography’ workshops during the morning, focusing mainly on the new C300 Cine Camera … The pitch is that while the 5D has gained a lot of interest/acceptance from filmmakers and videographers, it was primarily designed for AP/Reuters-type news photogs, and the video function was an afterthought (nice afterthinking!) The C300 is designed from the ground-up for filmmaking.
The camera offers impressive ergos, and a lot of features packaged into the base product (control surfaces, LCD display, motorized handle, etc.) which comes in at a suggested retail of $13K.
It’s available with either an EF or PL mount, enabling use of either standard 35mm lenses, or the really high-end Canon glass, and Canon is coming out with a set of new EF Cine Prime Lenses ranging from 24-85mm (priced at $6800/ea.) and Cine Zooms, offering more precise focus calibration and controls for the professional DP.
The camera records mpeg-2 @50Mbps to an MXF file format, with Canon Log as an option. The claimed dynamic range shooting C-Log is 12 stops!
It’s also close to drag-and-drop for editing, via FCP 7s log and transfer feature. (Mileage for Avid editors may vary … 🙂 )
It shoots a wide variety of frame rates/sizes, and offers variable shutter angles.
The C300 uses a 3480 by 2160 CMOS sensor (8.3m pixel) that shoots at 4:4:4 and downsamples to a 4:2:2, 1920×1080 image… The big difference in approach with this camera is that there is no de-Bayering going on. The sensor gives a high-speed readout that virtually eliminates most of the artifacts typical of CMOS-based cameras.
Oh, and did I mention that it uses widely-available, low-cost, Compact Flash media?
For the stage show, Alex Buono, the Director of Photography for ‘Saturday Night Live”s Film Unit gave a chat about working with various cameras, with an emphasis on the Canon HDSLRs and the new C300. Alex, is no stranger to the FCPUG Supermeets, and is always a great presenter, showed some shorts and other material from SNL shot with the new Cine Camera…It looked amazing.
This camera is a RED-killer, at least for broadcast work where quick turnaround is needed, and will give the Arri Alexa a run for its money. The Sony F65? Maybe not so much, but the C300 is going to be the first choice of a lot of shooters.
Jimmy Fallon’s crew will be shooting with the C300 for remote shoots, while they are on location in Indy this week for the Superbowl. That material will air W-F.
Also, Canon mentioned that the new Canon 1DX SLR will have recording in AVC-Intra as an option, and will clock in at about $6K list.
Light Iron is a company specializing in on-set data acquisition and digital imaging technology…They’ve taken on-set Data I/O and Management to the next level.
CEO Michael Cioni gave a presentation on ‘The Future of D-Cinema Workflows’ which was informed, if not brilliant, and he made what I thought was one of the most profound statements I’ve heard about production in a long time: “Workflows are not commanded, they reveal themselves to you…” (If this guy isn’t crushed by forces loyal to the Status Quo in the Industry, he could be a game-changer.)
Light Iron has developed an entire platform for on-set acquisition, starting from a central workstation/data repository, called the Outpost Mobile System, along with a set of enabling hardware and software technologies, including an iPad-based tool that enables anyone on-set with a need to see what is being shot in real time.
They’ve also developed some pretty smart data transport hardware, including a “firewire”-type drive array that is built into a box built to take abuse, with a D-SCSI-based interface for speed, and built in power supply (if you can find an OSHA-type power cable, you never need to hunt for power transformers with these drives.)
These guys are schooling everyone on how to do data acquisition, and do it right!
Scribbeo from Digital Film Tree
Ramy Katrib from Digital Film Tree presented their new ‘Scribbeo’ iPad app, a collaborative filmmaking app that allows mark-up and annotation of movie files using a distrubuted server.
Digital Film Tree made a big name for themselves when they helped Walter Murch transition over to Final Cut Pro for ‘Cold Mountain’, and are a leading provider of turn-key post solutions for cutting rooms.
Scribbeo is a new iPad app that enables users to share movie files distributed by a (FREE) server. The app lets users collaborate, mark-up and annotate movie files, and share the results…The app is brand new and will be in the in the App store any day now…I think the target price is something like $2.99.
It might just be worth a look. 🙂
Adobe CS and Premiere
Adobe hosted a DSLR Editing Workshop with Adobe Sr. Content and Community Lead, Kevin Monahan, during the morning sessions … Primarily focusing on feature sets, with an eye towards tempting current Final Cut 7 Editors towards adding CS5.5, and Premiere, into their work flow.
Adobe Premiere Pro Product Manager Al Mooney was also on hand for the sessions, and wasn’t shy about answering questions about current issues with Premiere, and what they are working with their developers to add, or improve, in future releases.
This is a very refreshing change from dealing with the tight-lipped security at Apple, where editors never knew what to expect in terms of performance enhancements, or future feature sets…Adobe’s transparency is going to be a major asset in winning content creators over to their products.
Adobe continues to make big inroads into the professional market for Premiere, especially in the Broadcast field. They’re upping their game with the tool, and announced a lot of new features that will be available in CS6, which will be formally announced at NAB in April.
The big news for this event came in the form of a preview of Adobe Prelude, a log-and-transfer, pre-screen and tag, tool for ingesting footage. This has been something missing from the CS5 Suite, and reminds me a lot of Autodesk Backdraft, but with a much more intuitive user interface than the editing tools in the Smoke family.
Phillip Hodgetts, and the New Now
I never know just quite how to classify Phillip Hodgetts, or maybe that he is just so versatile that his involvement in content creation and post production just defies categorization…He writes, he develops software, he is a post production guru, author, and podcaster.
Phillip was on hand to discuss topics from his latest book, ‘The New Now: How to grow your production, or post production, business in a changed, and changing World.’ (available from Amazon), a book with a title so complete, and all-encompassing, that it eliminates the need for further elaboration.
Hodgetts related his business experiences in his native Australia, with a set of strategies design to help one stay competitive, including giving yourself an unfair advantage, and making sure that you own part of whatever product you are creating … He’s a guy with a lot of battle-tested knowledge, and his book should be a compelling read.
Dropping the F-Bomb
Show Producers Daniel Bérubé and Michael Horton, who run the event in conjunction with Claudia Crask and SFCutters, stepped up during the show to “Drop the F-Bomb”, a reference to a graphic on this year’s audience badge with a bomb going off behind the ‘F’ in ‘FCPUG’.
After many years, and no doubt much consideration, Mike and Dan announced that the organization was changing its name, and rebranding itself as the ‘Creative Pro User Group’ or ‘CPUG’, to better reflect the times, and focus of the group.
I had lunch with Mike Horton earlier in the afternoon, and, while not discussing the re-branding as such, we spent quite a bit of time discussing the changing nature of the content creation space, along with a shift in interests away from product-specific focus, to one that was product agnostic, and directed towards all content creators, and not just editors.
This is a change that a lot of us in the FCPUG community (I started attending LAFCPUG meetings when I was living in Los Angeles back in 2002), have been suggesting for years, and I believe it will open up this loosely-knit network of content creation affinity groups to a larger prospective audience.
The World-Famous Raffle
Guys, unless you’ve been to one of these things, there’s just no way of explaining it…Mike Horton’s personal comedy-stylings for running a raffle are worth the price of admission by itself.
The next big event for the CPUG Network, will be the Las Vegas Supermeet at NAB in April.