Ed Burns’ very Indie “Newlyweds” closes the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. Photo credit: Edward Burns Fans page on Tumblr
We search for the more interesting and provocative news and views of the past week…just so you don’t have to.
The news today includes proliferating VJs, enchanting marimba sounds, and how we’ll all be using Cloud apps real soon.
New York Mag Goes VJ
New York Magazine plans to offer video journalism as a regular feature of its site. What might be a bit unusual is that the mag created its own video school to accomplish this; the first weekend classes began in February at $995 a pop. (More on the academy here.)
As reported in the New York Observer, the school is one more project by Michael Rosenblum, a New York-based producer and video consultant who has started similar schools for The Guardian, USA Today and The Travel Channel. Supposedly, those attending the course will learn of job openings from the NY Mag editorial staff, who sit in on the meetings.
Rosenblum also runs New York Video School, which joins an ever expanding number of online video schools.
Adobe Takes 0n DSLRs
It’s no secret: HDSLRs have quickly become accepted for creating everything from music videos to feature films. Ever wonder who lays claim to creating the first feature film using a DSLR? Searching for Sonny makes a case for its production in 2009 as the first “film” shot entirely on a DSLR. However, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, shot in stopmotion on Canon DSLRs and released in 2005, makes for a better claim. You can find more on the production in this Editors Guild article.
Support from major software makers for DSLR production, however, has built slowly. Adobe is one of the few aggressively staking out that market. Makes sense, as the company sits in a sweet spot, since it offers closely integrated software for both still and video editing in its Creative Suite packages. (The company is expected to make an announcement about a new version of CS at this month’s NAB.) Adobe has also recently launched a number of pages on its site to promote and teach how its apps can be used in DSLR production.
This page of the site offers useful tips for those involved in regular video production with DSLRs.
Of course Adobe creates these pages to convince you to pony up for the software. A professional won’t think twice about it. But the $1700 tab for Production Premium might not be an easy sell for many beyond the pro and enthusiast markets. Truth is, the latest versions of CS unlock much of the potential of smaller format gear, paying dividends as useful as an upgrade from an old DSLR delivers.
Better Apps and Improved Sensors
More powerful apps turn up in even lower-end gear. A Business Insider reporter thought that Vimeo’s new video editing app was as fast and flexible as the well-regarded iMovie app for iPod Touch and iPhone. Vimeo, of course, is the online enthusiast-streaming site that prides itself on the quality of its community-monitored video.
Getting higher quality images continues on the hardware end via improved sensor technology according to this CNET article. At the Image Sensors Europe conference this past week a Sony semiconductor unit executive touted the rollout of BSI (backside illumination) type CMOS sensors, which offers much improved lowlight sensitivity via a basic redesign of the standard CMOS sensor. That’s helpful, since pulling a good image out of low light levels has only been solved with deploying as large a sensor as practical.
Now, smaller cameras are benefitting. While their smaller sensors won’t yield the tight DOF (depth of field) a Canon 1Ds delivers with its full 35mm-sized sensor, capturing a useful image in difficult, low-light level environment is probably more important to users of cellphones, for example. BSI technology is one reason the iPhone’s camera is superior to many competitors.
Ed Burns’ Guerrilla Tactics, Woody’s Paris, Pricey VOD & Marimba Fun
A couple of weeks ago we noted Ed Burns’ tweeting the guerrilla production of his latest film Newlyweds. The actor/director/producer claimed it cost only $9000 to shoot with a three-person crew and a Canon 5D. He must have done something right: This past week the Tribeca Film Festival announced that Newlyweds was chosen as its closing night film, a significant tribute to Burns’ skill and indie chops, according to this Filmmaker Magazine article.
Another New York director’s film opens a different classic film festival: Richard Brody tips us off to a recently posted trailer to the new Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris. Has Woody made a rom-com? In any case, we’ll know soon after the film opens the Cannes Film Festival on May 11th.
As DVD sales continue to plummet, new distribution schemes are part of the studios plans to capture more post-theatrical revenue. WB, Sony, Universal and Fox plan to charge $30 for a VOD screening of recently released feature films, according to this Variety report. The majors will soon launch Home Premiere, a common branding under which each studio plans to offer movies at $30 a pop, with a viewing window of two to three days.
The 6thFloor NYT blog offered up news of this remarkable Japanese commercial. The short take is that it involves building a long, wooden marimba in a forest, and setting up the descending plates so that a bouncing wooden ball plays Bach’s Cantata 147, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. Sure, it’s to sell an NTT Docomo cellphone, but that’s handled discreetly at the end, while the whole production is to be marveled over.
Get Thy Data into the Cloud
You’ll probably be using a cloud-based business service soon, if you haven’t already signed on to one of the proliferating storage and music start-ups. This Business Insider article comments on Amazon’s roll out of an Android Appstore the prior week, followed by its new Cloud Drive service for the web and Android this past week. Want to use the Cloud for storage? Amazon offers 5GB of storage for free, besting services such as Dropbox. Buy an album from Amazon, and you’ll get the storage bumped to 20GB, again for free.
Finally, last week we wrote about Scenios coming out of beta on its Cloud-based production service. (Scenios uses Amazon’s S3, an open platform that offers access to the company’s extensive Web-based storage arrays.) The Tribeca Film Center-based company touts its cloud-based production management system as the first to be available to producers worldwide. It happens to be free too, offering 5GB of storage for a single project.
This past week Scenios announced that Bravo’s TV show Inside the Actors Studio recently became the first major television program to use its cloud solution to manage its entire production workflow. Becoming the first production to move a successful show—it’s now been in production for 17 years with viewers in 125 countries–to a new production scheme doesn’t come as a total surprise in this case: Jeff Wurtz, producer and director of the show, co-developed the online workflow procedure with Scenios CEO Mark Davis.
Inside the Actors Studio, produced via an SD tape-based workflow for its first 16 years, went to a tapeless HD workflow built around Scenios for its 2011 season. “I’ve cut production costs even while collaborating with my team more effectively,” says Wurtz, who has won an Emmy for his editing on the show. Wurtz uses Scenios to post and manage scripts, budgets, call sheets, locations and production schedules. Crewmembers can access the Scenios system from any Mac or PC web browser, iPhones and on location via an iPad.
Since Scenios automatically shows if crewmembers have read production updates and script changes, Wurtz says he doesn’t spend time worrying about his team being on the same page when live production starts. “This is something I should have had years ago,” says Wurtz. For more, visit the Scenios web site at www.scenios.com.