Buy Mike Recommended
edit systems & gear
from Silverado Systems
Buy Books, Software, & More
at HD for Indies Amazon Store
Buy New Movies from
HD for Indies Amazon Store
Or, you can also support
HD4NDs by contributing
to the tip jar...
Help Support HD for Indies
Great HD Links
- HD For Indies Home Page
- HD For Indies FAQ
- HD 24
- Bare Feats
- 24p Entertainment
- Light Illusion (was Digital Praxis)
- OneRiver Codec Resource
- HighDef.org Info
- Understanding RAID
- Video Systems (Reviews)
- DV Film (DV=>Film)
- Plus 8 Digital (vendor)
- Digital Cinema Society
- Texas High Def (local F900 guy)
- Creative Cow (news & forums)
- Philadelphia FCP User Group
- Los Angeles FCP User Group
- Cinema Tech
- DV Info's forums
- HVX User
- Pro App Tips
- Bluesky Media - Instruction
- little frog in high def
- VideoMaker Learning Section
- Stu Maschwitz's ProLost
- March 2004
- April 2004
- May 2004
- June 2004
- July 2004
- August 2004
- September 2004
- October 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- July 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- August 2008
- September 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- January 2009
- March 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- June 2009
- July 2009
- August 2009
- September 2009
High Definition Video for Independent Filmmakers
A How To Guide for Digital Filmmakers
Welcome all! This is my blog to share my latest research,
thoughts, etc. on utilizing HD for independent filmmaking.
YES, I am available for consulting
Contact me at email@example.com
All content copyright 2004-2007 Mike Curtis.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Large, unwieldy and inconvenient? Yes! But otherwise, none of this would get blogged - too much going on! I'm going to be in LA for about a week at the end of this month and I have to plan for it. If you want to book me for some face to face consulting while I'm out there, drop me an email at the link at the top of this page (or to meet 'n greet).
Ricoh tries to bridge dueling HD formats - Yahoo! News
Ricoh has a new head assembly that will READ both HD-DVD and Blu-ray devices - this could be a good basis for a combo reader, solving the "which to buy?" conundrum. Note this is for READING only, NOT burning - that's a separate issue.
Also a separate issue - to the best of my understanding, Sony requires that Blu-ray licensees do not produce HD-DVD players - how will that contractual obligation be solved? Just because the tech exists doesn't mean it can and will be implemented.
But I'd also see a combo player costing $1000 any time soon - still awfully damned pricey for a home entertainment component. Other than the HDTV, what other home entertainment thing routinely costs over $1000? Umm...can't think of it. (And yes yes yes you CAN spend thousands on stuff, but considering the fact that home theater kits with receiver/amp, speakers, & DVD player are $300 at Fry's, they don't HAVE to cost that for consumers, sucky as that package is).
HDBlog.net � Blog Archive � HDTV Not Getting Cheaper as Fast
...in the fourth quarter of 2004, the average 42-inch high-definition plasma TV cost $4,446, according to another research outlet, DisplaySearch. By fourth quarter 2005, that average price had dropped to $2,611, a 41.3 percent decline.
From the end of 2005 to the end of 2006, the average price of a 42-inch HD plasma display is expected to dip 22.9 percent, to $2,014. In dollar terms, a plasma TV shopper at the end of 2004 would have saved $1,835 by waiting one more year.
Movie Marketing Blog - Movie Marketing Update: HD DVD Group Announces $150 Million Marketing Push
High Def Won't Take Off in 2006, Say Retailers | High-Def DVD Digest - 2007 will be the first year with any even vaguely significant adoption of high def DVD players, and HDTV prices aren't falling as fast as hoped - so the point of inflection on major HDTV adoption is still at some point in the future.
Video Business Online - 7/11/2006 - Punching up next-gen promos - CA6351635
Warner will release some of its premiere titles on HD DVD in the current third quarter, including Batman Begins and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, senior VP of marketing management Steve Nickerson told VB. Batman Begins had initially been expected earlier this spring.
...but will they release those on Blu-ray as well at some point in the future? Seems to remarkably dumb to limit to one format. Since they use the EXACT SAME codecs, and initial discs will probably be feature for feature matches for standard DVDs, an extra day or two of authoring plus manufacturing doesn't seem like it should be a good reason to limit availability of your product. Only Sony has that excuse - since they make both movies and are the major force behind Blu-ray.
TUESDAY UPDATE Disney announced their Blu-ray lineup:
HDBlog.net � Blog Archive � Disney Announces Blu-ray Lineup
Disney announced their Blu-ray lineup, and quite frankly, it blows chunks. Of the nine movies announced, I don't even have the urge to rent ANY of them, let alone own'em. OK, maybe Dinosaur would be kind of interesting to watch in HD (the meteor impact scene alone would be cool). But as for the rest...six of them I haven't even bothered to see. And I'm a movie geek. Not a strong lead, heading further into LaserDisc 2.0 territory...
CalDigit RAIDs - They are doing native SATA RAIDs with port multiplication, which they are calling SuperLane, but it is port multiplication. The products sound interesting and valid, including a 10 drive RAID 10 config (finally!), but their specs are misleading - they advertise the maximum possible drive speeds, which are most definitely NOT the minimum guaranteed performance ratings. If 230 MB/sec is the max, minimum is likely to be 150 to 180 or so MB/sec - completely insufficient for 10 bit work. But if they can get their marketing claims straight, still is worth checking out.
Analysts: Blu-ray looms in Apple's future - Yahoo! News
As with any future product, Apple is keeping its plans for Blu-ray under wraps. But industry analysts don%u2019t think we'll have long to wait before Apple puts a Blu-ray drive in an Intel-based Mac.
The most likely candidate? The as-yet unreleased machine that will replace the Power Mac as Apple%u2019s professional desktop offering.
File this under "Duh." Steve Jobs stood on stage at MWSF 2005 (January of LAST year) with the then-head of Sony and talked about burning Blu-ray discs. While DVD Studio Pro presently only supports the HD DVD spec for high def projects, that is because HD DVD specs were finished in time. But in terms of burners, I'd expect Apple to go with Blu-ray. For one, longtime partner Pioneer is down to make Blu-Ray burners, and also because Blu-ray holds more data. Plus, I see Steve as a "go for the best regardless of cost" kind of a guy. I'd be REALLY surprised to see Apple to with HD-DVD at this point, but it is certainly possible. And these drives will be first in Mac Pros, the Intel based replacements for G5s. Rumor sites are saying there will be room for a second optical drive in the new Macs - I read this as meaning that either the initial Blu-ray burners will lack CD or DVD burning capabilities and you'll need a dual optical drive system (as was the case with early DVD drives), or that they won't be ready in time for the first units out the door, so Apple wants to leave room for adding them later (a less likely scenario). Apple has been either the first of one of the first to adopt new optical drive formats (remember how revolutionary SuperDrives were?), so I'd HOPE Pro Macs debut with the option of a high def burner. And if they don't, I'd damn well expect them to be rolled out at MWSF in January at the latest. An intermediate solution that is also likely: Apple announces the Pro Macs with a high def burner option "due next month" and it just so happens to take 2-3 months to reach Mere Mortals in the marketplace.
P2 Genie - The P2 offload software is now shipping their Windows version. It is a nice little app to offload your P2 cards and back'em up on a hard drive. From their site:
What is P2 Genie?
P2 Genie is a small utility designed to make your P2 workflow easier. Insert your P2 Card, P2 Store or connect your Panasonic HVX-200 camera to your computer and P2 Genie will offload all your media to either an internal or external harddrive (or both) - all with the click of a single button (or none if you set it to "automatic"). Easy as that!
P2 Genie comes with two modes - manual or automatic. In the "automatic" mode P2 Genie will start offloading your P2 Card(s) as soon as they're inserted - and empty them afterwards, if you enable this option. This feature is a real time-saver and could save you a lot of money because of the need for fewer P2 Cards.
P2 Genie works with two distinct naming schemes - reelnumber and name&date naming allowing you to completely costumize the way you name and log your footage.
P2 Genie's unique "single folder" feature will ease your workflow by allowing you to import all your media into NLEs like Final Cut Pro by copying all media files into a single folder.
(this and others found on FresHDV.com - pardon my leech, Matthew!)
DOFC - Depth of Field Calculator - Dashboard - Calculate & Convert What it says - a depth of field calculating Widget for OS X 10.4
Underwater Housing for miniDV DIY underwater housing for a camcorder. Pretty slick for total cheapie (no control access). I wouldn't do any serious shooting with it, but great for doodling with - set up to record, seal it and go (no short duration P2 cards please!)
Self-Reliant Filmmaking � Blog Archive � What To Do When Your Hard Drive Goes Soft.
Basics of what to do if a hard drive fails to mount. Insert pun here.
Creative Workflow Hacks � Blog Archive � Using HDCAM SR as an acquisition format is a nice piece on the advantages of HDCAM SR vs HDCAM, discussing distribution vs. acquisition formats. Plus, he links to me. Always with the linkluv, my friend...
Creative Workflow Hacks � Blog Archive � Using Batch Export in Final Cut Pro is a nice little demo of how to use Batch Export in Final Cut Pro. BUT....there are some quality issues involved. It's great for quickie exports, making offline versions, etc., but I wouldn't always use it for high quality exports, esp. if converting formats.
Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip for Mac OS X A highly recommended little conversion application for format conversion, more about it (and where I found out about it) at Creative Workflow Hacks
NEW CAMERA FORMAT: AVCHD
Sony to Unveil AVCHD Camcorder Next Week - CIO Tech Informer - Blog - CIO
Sony plans to take the wraps off its first high-definition camcorder compatible with the new AVCHD format next Wednesday.
AVCHD has been developed by Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) as a way to allow high-definition video to be stored on 8-centimeter DVDs.
Consumers (according to article) prefer simplicity (and low cost) of DVDs. Canon, Pioneer, Samsung, and Sharp have expressed interest in licensing the format, and Sony and Panasonic were the developers of it.
Somebody sent me something about them upping the max bandwidth of the format, makes me think they might take it out of the consumer only space into prosumer and lower end pro gear.
Sony Global - Press Release - Panasonic and Sony Expand HD Digital Video Camera Recorder Format %u201CAVCHD%u201D
AVCHD format expanded - instead of just recording to DVDs, solid state memory and hard drives have been added to the list.
AVCHD INFORMATION WEB SITE
Offcial page on AVCHD, including list of supporters, which includes Adobe but not Avid or Apple.
Nike iPod: About the sensor battery - LAME. When the battery in the sensor runs out, you have to replace the ENTIRE KIT. After about 1000 hours of actual usage. So not only is the battery non-replaceable, but you have to replace the sensor AND the receiver. And you thought the irreplaceable battery in your iPod shuffle was lame...
MOVIES & TECH
Entertainment Weekly's EW.com | Feature: ''Pirates'': Why Davy Jones looks so amazing
Gushing praise for ILM's use of mocap on set, and Bill Nighy's excellent performance of Davy Jones. But frankly, it was pretty damned amazing. Even I, after working with CGI for years, kept staring at it and thinking it was a guy in an outfit with some CGI extensions because it just looked so damn real (can you say subsurface scattering? ILM damn sure can!). Stunningly detailed and realistic, and the funny thing is that, even as a mocap, CG rendered entity, something about the actor's voice and mannerisms kept popping out at me - I knew I recognized the guy (not as octopus and crab claw, but What Lies Beneath), and then I read the article where they talked about Bill Nighy on set.
Cameron comes back with CG extravaganza (Avatar, aka Project 880): "'Believe it or not, the shooting is a very small part of it,' Cameron says. 'It's a very, very big project where the shooting is like a month and a half -- not really very much. There's just so much CG, and the visual effects are a huge component. A lot of it is performance capture. We use different techniques (from, for example, Sony Pictures' upcoming 'Monster House'), but it's the same general idea.'"
When the 'Yes' Becomes a 'No' - Los Angeles Times
Film projects, some with major talent attached, are now getting their plugs pulled by budget-skittish studios.THE real magic of Hollywood is not the knee-buckling resonance of a perfect screen kiss or the ability to conjure an army of Orcs from the plains of New Zealand. The real magic of Hollywood, as any agent, screenwriter, director, actor, producer or studio executive will tell you, is that movies get made at all. Especially now.
OK, this is especially scary in light of the Disney pullback (see below) - the studios are freaking out and deciding to make fewer movies that they can control better. This is not good news for indies, as it makes it ever tougher to get produced by a big studio. In this day and age of decreasing costs for some aspects of production and post production, that feels a bit crazy. But read the article to make sense of it all. Can you say scope creep? I knew you could.
Film & Video | Finishing the 4K Commercial - a Lexus commercial for IMAX screens, shot 35 and 4K post. Worth a quick read if interested in 4K workflows (and you have buckets of money in your budget).
Major Cuts at Disney Are Expected - Los Angeles Times
Despite last weekend's record debut of its 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,' Walt Disney Co. is moving ahead with plans to slash hundreds of studio jobs and curtail the number of films it makes in an effort to squeeze costs.Across-the-board layoffs are expected to hit every major domestic and international sector of the movie studio, people familiar with the plans said, including production, postproduction, legal and business affairs, marketing, distribution and home video. The Burbank studio's animation operation, its Miramax Film unit and its music group are expected to be spared.
Wow, ouch. Fewer movies, fewer chances for outsiders to get their projects into production.
So what are the indie options? How about this one:
DOWNLOADABLE VIDEO/MOVIE NEWS:
SiliconBeat: CinemaNow lands $20 million, to keep up with everyone else
CinemaNow, which lets you (legally) download movies to your PC, has raised another $20 million from venture investors.
Investors already include Cisco and Lions Gate Films; content is coming from Fox, ABC, Disney, HDNet, Lions Gate, MGM, Miramax, NBC Universal, Sony, Sundance and Warner Bros.
or just do this to drum up business for a slow moving product:
Movie Marketing Blog - Movie Marketing Update: Warner Independent Releases First 24 Minutes of 'A Scanner Darkly' on IGN
While the studios have been releasing clips under ten minutes on a fairly regular basis, this is without a doubt the longest preview released by a studio or specialty division to date. This shrewd marketing move is undoubtedly meant to drum up interest preceding the film's expansion onto 190 screens this weekend, up from 17 during the opening weekend.
MercuryNews.com | 07/12/2006 | How will YouTube make money?
The cost of running a site that streams millions of videos a day is adding up -- the monthly bandwidth bill alone is at least $300,000 to $400,000, industry insiders say.
Ouch. To me the crucial metric is something like this: How much can they charge per page for ads on pages with video, which has a substantial per-page broadband cost associated with it? The more ads they put on the page, the less likely any one ad will be clicked on. How to run their yield management for maximum revenue per page I'm sure makes these guys sweat at night. Or put ads on the video content itself, which reduces the likelihood that the fickle Internet market will put up with it, and just close the page before ever getting to the content.
We are now well past the "R&D costs amortize to zero as you scale" days of the early internet delirium. The biz model has to work. And with an advertisingless viral model like YouTube, it pretty much needs to work on a per-page basis - if it costs .03 cents (or whatever) to receive, post, and host that content each time, you'd damn well better be making .035 cents per page, or it is time to hang it up and go home. Or keep shilling for your investors promising future returns from Bright 'N Shiny New Technology until the whole thing implodes on itself.
I think online video may be like the greeting card sites of a few years ago. Except selling sites for eyeball counts doesn't garner what it once did.
In the end, online video may be tremendously successful....but may not be profitable.
Had a long talk with my friend Charlie Wood last night about video services, he pointed out that Google Video requires you to upload your content and then wait 2 days or more for it to get posted while they recompress it in their proprietary format. Oops - I think that alone killed their viability for the instant-response crowd. Two days to wait for the soccer headbutt seen 'round the world? No way. Of all places and markets, Google should have realized that timeliness to market counts. A LOT.
We talked about using the Internet as a source for HD content, everything from frivolous YouTube style videos to feature films. I think that day might come, but we need to see some models for downloadable video that work from a business perspective at ANY resolution first.
HD has a possible window as an Internet play - more choice than Pay Per View, higher definition than you can get from DVD. But broadband and/or compression needs to improve before that will be fully viable. Or Apple needs to get their butt in gear and go straight to HD content, offering a valid option to $1000 Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players that do nothing but play proprietary discs.
More on YouTube here:
MercuryNews.com | 07/11/2006 | Cassidy: YouTube hits the big time in a short time
Use of Internet Video Is Growing at a Faster Clip - Los Angeles Times
....but at least this is good news for indies - will the indie play be direct DVD sales (or downloads), with promotion done via viral trailers at free sites like YouTube etc.?
I've pulled a bunch of these links from Scott Kirsner's CinemaTech blog, which is truly excellent for covering the biz side of, well, cinema technology. It's a daily must read for me and I HIGHLY recommend it for indies trying to keep on eye on distro options.
Use of Internet Video Is Growing at a Faster Clip - Los Angeles Times
Well, duh. So indies, check it out - if you don't have copies for sale of your movie online (as either a DVD, high def DVD, or direct download) you can certainly put your promo materials online (for FREE, if not very high quality).
WHEW! OK, that ought to hold you. So if I don't blog tomorrow, don't get peeved. Sorry it isn't formatted all nicely, but hey, ya do what ya gotta do.
The unit only consumes power when the accelerometer is functioning (when you're running). So, if you ran for exactly an hour every day, it would last you nearly 3 years.
$30 for 3 years worth of use really isn't that bad. Hell, there'll probably newer/updated units released long before those 3 years are up anyway. ;)
PS - I'm not being a dick... just though it was funny that people are concerned about the +/- 1000 active hour lifetime of a $30 item.
Just this day and age of disposable electronics - shuffles with batteries that wear out, and just the sense of WASTE - "buy this item, but because the battery is fixed in it, throw away this radio transpoder and this receiver unit and buy another one" seems ridiculous. But that's a whole other blog to rant about our disposable culture.
-mike, who will have nothing to leave his nephew when he is older
PS - I don't need any consulting, but if you want a drink or anything while you're in L.A. let me know.
Links to this post: