AN AFFORDABLE VARIETY
Jeb Johenning, partner in Beverly Hills, CA's Ocean Video (www.oceanvideo.com), says his past experience has been with Media 100 systems, which he continues to use, but he has found new advantages in running Apple Final Cut Pro on the Pinnacle CineWave.
"CineWave has a scalability from consumer-level equipment to the professional level," he says. "There are very few systems that allow you to use so many formats without having to relearn any new procedures. You can plug in a $500 8mm video camera or a $100,000 Sony HD system. When you're buying new technology that's changing nearly by the week, it's hard to tell which will prevail. This gives the professional user of average means an affordable solution."
Grace & Wild used Quantel's eQ with Henry Infinity on the "No Boundaries" campaign for Ford Motor Co. out of JWT. Footage was shot with a Panasonic AJ-HDC27 HD camera.
He points out, "The sooner you can get past the equipment side and learn the tool, the faster you get involved in telling the story. Apple's FCP, at only $1,000, gives you the opportunity to have virtually the same tools you'd have in a system costing 100 times the price."
Ocean worked on a high definition project with Santa Monica's Bellies Productions - an experimental film that was shown at the annual convention of the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE). This was edited in CineWave, even though it was shot and screened in HD.
Johenning steers users of the gear to the Web site, www.2-pop.com. Although it was user-originated, it enjoys the participation of both Pinnacle and Apple.
WISH LIST: Johenning wants "less rendering and more realtime."
Happy with the performance of the Quantel Henry and Editbox, Grace & Wild (www.gracewild.com) in Farmington Hills, MI, has recently positioned itself for high definition work with the manufacturer's eQ. Paul DeMars, director of technical operations, favors the Quantel approach because "they actually make processors for video post production as opposed to those who simply make processing computers. This makes it a much more efficient operation. You have a much faster processor, especially with the eQ.
"Even in the Henry and Editbox, the hardware is made to be video specific, so digital technology is consistent throughout the Quantel boxes and the colors always conform to SMPTE standards." While DeMars finds Henry and Editbox, in standard definition, to be strong, efficient and user-friendly compositing tools, he points to the resolution-independence of eQ for the HD world. He notes, "You can mix and match whatever level of video that you have to use."
A recent project for J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, the "No Boundaries" campaign for Ford Motor Co., brought about the union of eQ with Henry Infinity. In this motion control project, Luminary Films, Detroit, shot all elements on a Panasonic HD camera at 24-, 12- and 6 frames per second so that the camera would progressively create blurriness. DeMars notes that, with the Panasonic camera recording metadata, this was recorded on HD videotape.
"The eQ saw that information and knew how to play it back properly to maintain the film look without the operator having to go into speed-up or slow-down processes," he notes.
To future eQ users, he points out, "Their editing software is very interactive and fast, so you can expect very efficient editing. It can import any type of computer file and turn it into a video file quickly."
WISH LIST: He's withholding any HD purchases until the industry gets enough experience in the medium.
"There's no other choice," says Richard Miller, CEO of Guardian Entertainment (www.guardianltd.com) in New York, in reference to the Sony Xpri. A chief benefit, he reports, is not having to downconvert tapes and conform the timeline. The production and post facility shoots on a Sony F900 HDCAM, part of the CineAlta line. The tape is then put into an HDW500 deck, a multiformat deck that will handle 24 fps, and the 24-frame original is digitized to the Xpri, all in the native format. After the Xpri is used to edit the footage in the original format and frame rate, the result is outputted to HDCAM tape.
Miller holds that Guardian can be highly cost effective because Xpri reduces post production time by about 35 percent by not necessitating resolution or frame rate conversion and also saving the cost of offline editing and conforming.
Because everything was in one box, Guardian was able to work efficiently while posting the independent film Out of the Darkness. The box offered full color correction, a couple hundred special effects and built-in CD audio importing, as well as the ability to do both standard and HD editing.
Miller advises those using Xpri for HD editing to make sure the DPs also know their HD stuff - for example, using the correct frame rate. Guardian has been using the Xpri 3.01 and is now beta testing the Xpri 4.0.
WISH LIST: He believes Xpri 4.0 "will do all the things I want to see, adding a lot of new functionality to the hardware."
FREE TO EXPERIMENT
Heath Firestone, producer/director at Firestone Studios (www.firestonestudios. com) in Denver, has been going the Matrox route for nearly three years, owning four RT2000s and one 2500.
"At the time it came out," he says, "it was the only reasonably priced realtime system. It meant capturing MPEG-2 and also getting cleaner edges with 4:2:2. This gives us better-looking keys and, with the realtime system, it speeds up our workflow. We can be more experimental because we don't have to wait for things to render."
Firestone Studios used the Matrox RT2500 and 2000, running with Premiere, to edit this spot for the Colorado Renaissance Festival.
Matrox, which comes with Adobe Premiere, was used in a tightly scheduled commercial for the Colorado Renaissance Festival. Firestone had a day and a half to edit three hours of footage down to three distinct :60s. "Since we had realtime color correction," Firestone notes, "we were able to tweak all of our settings."
For those looking to spend under $1,000, "these are the most versatile realtime capture cards out there," he notes, adding that Premiere has plug-in capability with any Direct X audio program.
WISH LIST: He would like to see some inexpensive HD editing capabilities.
THIS BULLET'S VELOCITY
A user of DPS products for about six years, and of its Velocity for two and a half years, Pat Batrynchuk, senior online editor at Bullet Digital Post (www.bulletdigital.com) in Toronto now is looking forward to working with dpsVelocity's Version 8, which started shipping in mid-June. He says it has the one asset he was missing - multicamera editing.
Speaking of his current Velocity, he comments, "It's very easy to get around both small and large timelines. The architecture of the timeline is very open and image quality is wonderful. Their compression codecs are very good. It is also fully uncompressed, which we take advantage of for onlining TV series."
With Eyeon Digital Fusion effects and compositing integrated into the system, Batrynchuk can have a video clip on a timeline and right-click on it for a menu that will send the clip to DF. This opens that application with the chosen effect applied and ready to animate, then updates the clip back on Velocity's timeline.
Velocity is a significant help to Batrynchuk when he does his weekly work on Behind the Lens, a series on directors, photographers and camerapersons shown on the City TV network and produced by Keep It In The Family Productions, operating in the same building as Bullet. He points to Velocity's ability to composite quickly. He also finds it useful in handling the abundant greenscreen material.
"When I use the Velocity keyers," he elaborates, "it works well and renders quickly. And all the text and titling is in realtime."
He recommends to future Velocity users: "Keep an open mind and look at it as a new thing rather than as another Avid or Media 100."
WISH LIST: His wish has been answered with the introduction of the dpsVelocity V.8.