GREEN SCREEN VR TECH FOR DUMMIES Kit, technique and an editing tutorial from Larry Jordan
Everything you need to know to make money in this new industry
MAC vs PC
We answer the ultimate editor’s question
MEDIA PARTNER 2016
The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers
SUMMER 2016 @ProMoviemaker www.promoviemaker.net
PARROT BEBOP 2 + SKYCONTROLLER WORTH
GROUP TEST MONITOR /RECORDERS Four of the latest models face off
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PRO TEST C300 MKII
Is this Canon’s best cinema camera yet?
Sony’s coveted A7S II on test iPhoneography: Are you a real filmmaker or a phoney? One to watch: the final four The Phantom 4’s maiden flight
WELCOME The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ
Editorial Editor Terry Hope Deputy editor Zena Toscani Senior sub editor Lisa Clatworthy Sub editor Catherine Brodie Advertising Sales director 01223 499453 Matt Snow email@example.com Senior sales executive Krishan Parmar 01223 499462 firstname.lastname@example.org Design Design director Andy Jennings Design manager Alan Gray Senior designer Mark George Designers Emily Stowe & Katy Bowman Junior designer Lucy Woolcomb Publishing Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck Media supporters and partners of:
Welcome to the latest issue of Pro Moviemaker, and the very exciting news is that the soaring popularity of the title is leading us to increase the frequency of publication, so that from now on we’ll be appearing on a bimonthly basis rather than quarterly. It’s a move that will give us plenty of scope to source still more exciting stories and interviews, and I can’t wait to get started. Right now the entire Pro Moviemaker team is encamped at the vast NAB Show in Las Vegas, picking up the hot news as it happens so that we can ensure our coverage is as bang up to date as it possibly can be. If anyone was ever in any doubt regarding the vibrancy of the filmmaking sector then a day or two spent trying to find your way around the heaving halls of the Las Vegas Convention Centre would surely put you straight. Growth is continuing apace, and this business is a vibrant one to be in the middle of right now. We’ve got our usual heady mix of features in this issue, ranging from an interview with Dean Sherwood as he follows boy band The Vamps on their riotous journey around the planet, a look at the latest green screen and VR technology to see what it can offer the creative filmmaker and full tests on the Canon C300 Mark II and Sony A7s Mark II. There’s plenty more besides as well, so enjoy the read!
Pro Moviemaker is published quarterly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. ISSN number: 2045-3892. Pro Moviemaker is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Pro Moviemaker that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted in sterling and US dollars are street prices, without tax, where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.
Terry Hope TERRY HOPE, EDITOR
MEET OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS ZENA TOSCANI DEPUTY EDITOR When she’s not writing features and reviews for Pro Moviemaker, or getting overly excited about new camera gear and cinema releases, Zena puts her 1st class film degree and dancing feet to good use shooting wedding videos at Happy Kettle Films.
LARRY JORDAN SOFTWARE GURU Based in Los Angeles, Larry Jordan is considered one of the best software trainers in the world, and his philosophy is to make the business of editing less frightening and more understandable. To date he’s got eight books and thousands of technical articles to his name.
TOM FLINT AUDIO SPECIALIST Tom Flint has been reviewing pro sound recording products for more than 17 years, and has interviewed many of the world’s top music producers and studio engineers. He also produces his own music and videos and has recorded the sound for numerous short films.
ANDREW MOORE FILMMAKER Starting out as a wedding photographer, Kent-based Andrew Moore is now also a filmmaker, trainer and qualified drone pilot with CAA certification, who successfully mixes spectacular aerial footage with his regular wedding coverage.
JIM MARKS FILMMAKER A photographer turned filmmaker, Jim Marks trained initially under Bob Carlos Clarke and Patrick Lichfield, so has a rich background in the medium. He now spends much of his time focusing on the moving image, and his motto is “Nothing ever stays the same.”
ROB NIXON FILMMAKER Cameraman and video editor, Rob Nixon cut his teeth as an Avid editor for London post houses. He now runs a small production company and his current work covers fashion, music promos and live events. Recently he edited two BBC4 documentaries.
DAN CHUNG FILMMAKER After cutting his teeth as a stills photographer with The Guardian newspaper, Dan became immersed in the world of filmmaking and, alongside a career making movies, he helped to set up the hugely popular News Shooter website (www.newsshooter.com).
BETH TAUBNER BRAND STRATEGIST Beth, the founder of Mercurylab (www. mercurylab.com), has been a brand strategist and creative director for more than 20 years now. Her forte is creating branding programmes and distinctive concepts, visuals and communications for creative professionals worldwide.
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6 VEGAS, BABY
All the latest industry news and developments direct from the NAB Show floor in Las Vegas.
Launch your aerial filmmaking business with our Parrot Bebop 2 + Skycontroller competition - worth £649/$799! FEATURES
20 CASE STUDY: DEAN SHERWOOD
We go backstage with this tech-loving filmmaker currently on a worldwide tour with platinum-selling band, The Vamps.
24 ONE TO WATCH
And then there were four. Find out what films our finalists submitted in pursuit of that £5000/$7840 overall prize pot.
31 CASE STUDY: MARK LEIBOWITZ
This Santa-Monica based image-maker explains how his business has evolved from stills to motion. ACADEMY
36 EXCESS BAGGAGE
Our regular DOP contributor Jim Marks explains the importance of packing (and protecting) your kit on location.
41 SOUND AND VISION
Learn how your soundtrack affects the emotional impact of your visuals and how you can use this to your advantage.
44 GREEN SCREEN 101
Everything you need to know to get shooting your first green screen scenes.
Now that you’ve shot some green screen footage, let post-production expert Larry Jordan tell you the easiest way to edit it. MOVIE MATTERS
60 ASK THE EXPERTS
Our industry experts answer your burning questions on drones, 4K and light meters.
63 MR GLASS
Filmmaker Dan Chung takes this opportunity to tell us why it’s all about the glass for him.
67 FESTIVAL CORNER
Improve your chances of getting your film selected and discover why attending festivals is a smart business move.
70 MAC VS PC
We pose the ultimate question for editors in this hardware heavyweight match-up. Who will come out victorious?
76 A NEW DIMENSION
Could VR become your bread and butter? Find out everything you need to know about the emerging industry taking the filmmaking world by storm.
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ACADEMY DOP WORKSHOP
SUBDIVIDE AND CONQUER
BAGS OF CHOICE
When travelling to a filmmaking job you should only pack what you need and you have to be sure potentially thousands of pounds worth of your gear is fully protected. Jim Marks considers the options
s I’m writing this I look to my left and see an impressively large and imposing wall rack covered from top to bottom in a menagerie of bags. Big, small, grey and black with sturdy zips and imposing designs they’re crammed with the ever-evolving debris of a career in filmmaking. Sometimes in my darker moments I gaze upon them and wonder, what are they all there for and what do they do? Bags are nothing new to me, of course. When I was working as a photographer I owned lots of equipment – the usual assortment of lights, cameras, lenses and stands – and, as such, over the years I gathered together a wide selection of favourite cases and methods for transportation. Things have just evolved now that I’ve graduated into the world of filmmaking and these days I’ve got even more gear to consider, some of it very expensive and vulnerable to damage, and I need to be prepared for any situation. I go to work in three defined ways, which often cross over, namely a car, a motorcycle or an aeroplane, and it’s not unusual for me to take multiple modes of transportation within the same journey. I think my record stands at Tokyo to Guildford using nine types, the last of which was an electric golf cart. How much I have to carry on my own also varies; sometimes I’ll have help with me but often I’ll be travelling on my own. So, as you can see, my relationship with bags is both complex and highly evolved.
Nothing really prepares you for the lunacy of filmmaking and the intricate demands of working with multiple camera systems and varying creative briefs. My business model when deconstructed is really very simple; the phone rings, a date and fee are agreed, I go do the job, then return and deliver the assets. Sounds simple perhaps, but in order to survive I have to create some semblance of order and control. Bags give me this peace.
When you’re out on a job you need to make sure that you don’t overfill it. Only take kit that you know you’re going to use.
Achieving bag Zen In the beginning, before I embraced my bag Zen, I would attempt to pack the night before. I’d rush through a familiar mental checklist pulling my chargers, glass, lighting and grip together in an ever expanding and fragmented mental jigsaw. Why this crazy pantomime? Well I could be easily working on a full bells and whistles RED EPIC shoot one day and a smaller location-based creative on an AGDVX200 the next. Unfortunately these gigs don’t just line up nicely with a day’s prep either side: often they overlap, meaning I’m forced to multitask between prep, shoot and post in everdecreasing circles. Each job will have different conflicting needs and requirements. Do I need an audio package? Am I mobile or studio based? Does the director need a wireless monitor or is there a gimbal move involved that needs portable power? Also what happens when things break (and they will)? What are plans B and C?
“Why take a full set of primes with you if you know in your heart the 25mm and 75mm will be all you’ll use today?” 36
With filming and its enormous capacity for toys you can bet you’ll need that mysterious missing two pin LEMO power adapter just when you think you have all the bases covered. Some folk will say take a truck, a van, the kitchen sink and you’ll be fine. However as a solo operator much of the time this ties me down and wastes my day stuck in traffic. The trick, and one that you’ll be glad to master, is to actually take just what you need to do a great job and no more. In your head you know which camera system works best, which light you should use and what grip you actually require for the shots. Why take a full set of primes with you if you know in your heart the 25mm and 75mm will be all you’ll use today? Be confident in your kit choices as you think through and mentally plan each move. Bags of bags So my answer is bags; bags to subdivide the many diverse areas of film and kit – bags for everything. Bags that fit inside each other, on top of each other, with rollers and without. Over the years I’ve accumulated so many that I now create my own favourite mix and match of different brands and features. It’s the only way to retain my sanity and keep pace with the fast turnaround that’s a freelancer’s life these days. Filmmaking is increasingly becoming tighter and more time pressured. Unlike in a stills environment, your camera and accessories take time to assemble and test. The only way to really meet the two conflicting pressures is to take your camera package as readily assembled as possible. When flying the rules have recently changed to a smaller roller bag, with potential from
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MOVIE MATTERS MAC vs PC
THE ETERNAL BATTLE
WEAPON OF CHOICE
As the Mac vs PC debate rumbles on, film editors need to make an informed choice about which way to jump. So, what are the pros and cons of each system and is one side genuinely better than the other? WORDS TERRY HOPE
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MAC vs PC
n any battle there are bound to be some fairly trenchant views on both sides, a refusal to see the other’s point of view and a digging in of the heels when it comes to evaluating your own good and bad points. So it is with the Mac vs PC debate. On the one side you have a cacophony of Apple Mac fanboys who are sold on the style of the product and love the fact that it’s such a universal symbol of the creative industries, while on the other you have the Windows brigade, who point out at regular intervals how much more bang they are able to get for their buck. Taking out the fact that there’s a huge amount of personal taste, opinion and prejudice involved, and that some people would never be tempted over to the other’s side, however strong their argument might be, is there actually a winner in this particular fight? Is there a system that is clearly better than the other? Specifically, if you’re a film editor is there anything a Mac can offer you over and above what a PC can do – or
vice versa for that matter – or do both sides have their respective strengths and weaknesses, meaning that they can both do a good job if you’re prepared to live with their foibles? While we’re not going to pretend that we’ve come up with a definitive answer here we’ve enlisted the views of a film editor who’s working with a Mac system and another who’s a PC user. We’ve asked both to give us some feedback about why they’ve made their choices and what they think of their respective systems. Both of them, it has to be said, are rational, free-thinking individuals who have based their computer hardware decisions on their personal requirements rather than a blinkered adherence to one side or the other, and both have not ruled out shifting their system allegiance at some point in the future if circumstances change. So, let battle commence: what really are the pros and cons, and are there genuine reasons for heading for one side of the fence over the other?
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MOVIE MATTERS 360° VIDEO AND VR VIRTUALLY REAL
BETTER THAN THE REAL THING
Virtual reality and 360° Video is no longer the stuff of science fiction and already several trailblazing studios are hard at work creating film content for a rapidly growing list of forward-looking clients WORDS TERRY HOPE
f you’ve read about virtual reality (VR) and 360° Video and have tucked the information away in a section of your brain labelled ‘for future reference’ then it’s time to fish it out. What many consider to be a futuristic branch of the medium that’s years away from achieving a mainstream breakthrough is actually banging on the door right now. Already there are enterprising filmmakers hard at work exploring what this exciting new medium is capable of. Those involved at this early stage will be the frontrunners as this sector explodes over the next few years. I met several of them at the recent UK Virtual Reality Festival, held in Ravensbourne, an appropriately futuristic university sector college, and it was incredible to discover first-hand just how far down the road VR and 360° filming has already come. Popping on a headset and a set of headphones I was able to venture into incredibly realistic virtual worlds and experience why this area of filmmaking is stirring up so much excitement. Perhaps just as impressive was the fact that some big name clients have also seen the potential and there’s an increasingly solid commercial case for getting involved. So, what’s been driving the growth of VR? Given the current estimate that no more than one per cent of the population has ever watched a film in this format, who is being crazy enough right now to jump in and get involved? Who will actually be watching these productions if they ever get made? Well, to misquote a classic film, it appears that if you make the films and supply the necessary accessories they will come. In other words, once the buzz starts to spread and more people are persuaded to invest in the increasingly sophisticated headsets – or even the cheap-as-chips but still effective Google Cardboard device – it will all take off big
time. As I can attest, watching your first immersive film is quite an experience and if you see a good one it will fire you up to believe that this could well be the future. Getting inspired That’s what happened to Phil Morrow, a seasoned filmmaker with over 25 years of experience in TV entertainment. He’s now devoting his professional life to rolling back the frontiers and creating intimate film experiences that thoroughly involve the viewer in an uncannily realistic world. I got so close to some of his virtual characters that I had the weird feeling my personal space was being invaded at times, and I experienced an almost irresistible urge to respond when one of them kindly offered me a crisp.
“My interest in VR was piqued a couple of years ago when my eldest son, Ben – who has his own tech start-up in San Francisco – came home for Christmas with an Oculus Rift DK1,” says Phil. “After he’d demoed this to me and his brother Jack, a tech supervisor in TV, we immediately saw the endless potential for VR as a medium for storytellers, artists and filmmakers. It’s the first truly new medium to launch in our lifetime and may even be the last, and it seemed to us that the early pioneers in any new medium (film, TV, radio etc.) have all the fun. So we decided to establish RETìníZE – a Cinematic VR Studio specialising in immersive storytelling.” What is fascinating for Phil is the idea of being involved in an area where evolving technology is changing the
ABOVE Phil Morrow had his interest in VR piqued when his son brought home an Oculus Rift DK1 headset, and he’s since gone into this technology in a big way. “The early pioners have all the fun,’ says the founder of RETiniZE.
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360° VIDEO AND VR “We immediately saw the potential for VR. It’s the first truly new medium to launch in our lifetime and may even be the last”
ABOVE Ian Watkins from 360 Events was a speaker at the recent UK Virtual Reality Festival and he’s already exploring the commercial applications of 360 degree movies and VR.
ground rules all the time, and no one can predict where it’s all heading next. He relishes the feeling of being something of a pioneer, out there on the front line, breaking new territory and helping to establish what he’s convinced is going to be the next major advance for filmmaking. “Almost every aspect of the Cinematic VR workflow presents both technical and creative challenges at the moment,” he says, “because so often we’re trying to do things that have never been done. It means that we’ve got to do a lot of problem-solving: for example, there are huge amounts of data involved – we can shoot with rigs of up to 20 cameras all in 4K – and we need to manage that. We also have to find innovative ways to direct the viewers’ attention so that they look where we want them to, plus there’s the issue that, unlike conventional film, you can’t easily cut within the scene. This means we often have to think more like theatre directors, using cues from lighting and binaural audio to guide actors.” In terms of commercial uses for VR Phil concedes that it’s early days, but alongside
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AERIAL FILMMAKER INTERVIEW
BEAUTY DRONES IN THE WILD
FROM ABOVE After seeing an aerial film showing off the Amalfi coast, John Duncan learned how to fly a drone so he could capture the beauty of his native Scotland WORDS TERRY HOPE
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ometimes you can identify the light-bulb moment when you’re inspired to do something. For filmmaker John Duncan it was the chance encounter with an aerial film that showed off the beauty of the rugged Amalfi coast in Italy – a hugely powerful visual statement, all shot from a drone. Realising that aerial filmmaking was now within the technical and financial reach of just about everyone, John was determined to learn the craft. “It all happened around three and a half years ago,” he says, “and I achieved my Permission to Work from the Civil Aviation Authority 18 months back. It was quite a long and involved process, more perhaps than I’d envisaged, but I’m really pleased I’ve done it. It’s given me the opportunity to achieve some amazing aerial footage that couldn’t have been created any other way.” Some of John’s most popular films have resulted from expeditions to remote and rugged areas of his native Scotland. His two exquisite films, Wild Scotland and Beautiful Scotland, emphasise just how much a dedicated drone pilot can achieve, even with gear that some might consider belongs more to the consumer market. In fact, Wild Scotland has won the Wonders of the Natural World Category in the prestigious DroneFest competition, as well as being a featured video on the National Geographic website. Labour of love “Seeing the film about Amalfi made me realise that flying a drone would give me a valuable extra tool that I could use in my everyday filmmaking,” says John.
ABOVE As a dedicated drone pilot, John Duncan has created professional-quality footage with gear like the DJI Phantom 2, normally considered to be a consumer product.
“Now I’ve got my licence I look at every film project to see if there are any opportunities for aerial footage. While I might not be using my drone to make an entire film on a regular basis, aerial footage can be fantastic for intros, for example, or a really powerful closing credit sequence.” The two Scottish films were personal projects, painstakingly undertaken. “I probably took something like 25 separate trips to acquire all the footage I needed for these films,” says John. “Usually I travelled on my own because it was crucial that the weather was going to be suitable and often I wouldn’t know that until the very last minute. Fortunately the Met Office and MWIS forecasts were helpful and pretty spot on so there weren’t too many wasted trips. Much of the time I would set off the previous evening, then camp out so that I would be in position, ready to make an early start. “Being there early meant that I could do a recce of the shots I wanted, plus I could use www.suncalc.net, which projects a chart onto Google maps to show you the angle the sun will rise from at specific times. This was really useful and meant there was no faffing around once I got up in the morning.” John’s productions are the culmination of a series of mini adventures. “On one occasion I went hiking up Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill at 3am in the pitch dark, to film the spectacular
“I also had some strokes of luck, such as when I was filming an offshore lighthouse and the light came on as I flew around it” serrated ridge of An Teallach,” he says. “Hearing stags roaring in the valleys below is a memory that will stay with me for a very long time. “I also filmed at Bass Rock near North Berwick, which is home to the world’s largest single rock gannet colony with some 40,000 pairs of birds and seeing all this at first light was a real treat. “Other locations I’ve filmed at have included Skye – Quiraing, Old Man of Storr, Glencoe (Three Sisters), Buachaille Etive Mòr and Sgurr a’Mhaim – Devil’s Ridge, Ben Nevis, the Forth Rail Bridge, Dunbar, Rannoch Moor, the Wallace Monument, Edinburgh, Glenfinnan Viaduct and The Kelpies, so there’s a lot of variety in there. “I also had some strokes of luck along the way, such as when I was filming an offshore lighthouse and the light came on as I flew around it. “On another occasion I was camping out and could hear this cacophony of
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GEAR CANON C300 MARK II
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CANON C300 MARK II A WORTHY UPGRADE
Canon’s much-anticipated C300 upgrade delivered a camera with 4K capability and a host of improvements over the original, but is it the real deal? Filmmaker Rob Nixon got hands on to find out WORDS ROB NIXON
ver the past year we’ve seen some great new 4K cameras released, many with high frame rates, wide dynamic ranges and new picture profiles. To remain competitive it was clearly time for the original C300 to receive a makeover, even though it’s been the most popular broadcastcapable camera to hire for the past four years and has been used on shows that range from The Jump to Classic Car Rescue, Posh Pawn, Benefits Street and BBC’s Panorama. First announced a year ago and finally becoming available for sale in September 2015, the big question for many was whether the new C300 Mark II could retain its predecessor’s crown as the go-to broadcast camera for countless productions, especially those in the reality, observational and documentary sectors. As a regular user of Canon C-Series cameras I was keen to find out and relished the chance to test out the camera as soon as the opportunity arose. First impressions can sometimes prove significant, and straight out of the box the new C300 felt good. It’s solid, feels substantially built and is nicely designed. You can tell from the off that this is a professional piece of kit. It gives you the confidence you need to take it out to difficult, challenging locations without having to worry about reliability, harsh weather or it getting the odd knock (which, I should emphasise, was in no way part of my testing process on this occasion...) Despite all this, in its stripped down mode it’s surprisingly light. You just add the side handgrip and in the palm of your hand you have a wellbalanced, broadcast production camera that shoots 4K.
SPECIFICATIONS Price: £11,994/$15,999 body only Image Sensor: Super35-type CMOS Effective pixels: 8.85 megapixels (4096x2160)/ 8.29 megapixels (3840x2160) Processors: 2x DIGIC DV5s Lens mount: EF, PL (optional) Built-in ND filters: Standard: 2, 4, 6 stops Expanded: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 stops ISO range: Standard: 160-25,600 Expanded: 100-102,400 Autofocus system: Dual Pixel CMOS Recording media: CFast2.0 Cards (2x slots), SD Card (1x slot) Monitor: 10.16cm/4in Rotating Colour LCD, 1.23 million dots Viewfinder: 1.32cm/1/2in, 1.17 million dots, up and down angle adjustment Exposure and focus aids: Peaking (Two Types), Zebra Pattern, Magnify, Edge Monitor Focus Assist, Black & White Mode Headphone connector: 3.5mm stereo mini jack Dimensions: 149x183x183mm/ 5.9x7.2/7.2in (without grip); 190x183x187mm/ 7.5/7.2/7.4in (with grip) Weight: EF mount: 1770g/3.9lbs (body only), 1850g/4.1lbs (with cinema lock; PL mount: 2000g/4.4lbs (body only)
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GEAR MINI TESTS
Here’s another round up of essential accessories for the filmmaker, ranging from a green-screen set-up that could boost your special effects credentials through to an electronic ball head for time-lapses WORDS TERRY HOPE, CHRIS HARPER & WILL CHEUNG
X-RITE COLORCHECKER VIDEO TARGETS ColorChecker Video £95/$128.99
Some of the most indispensable of accessories for filmmakers are those that are the simplest, and this pair of freshly introduced video targets certainly falls into this category. Produced by X-Rite, a company that has a long and celebrated history in the production of targets designed to help photographers achieve trueto-life colour reproduction, this expertise is now being offered to those involved in filmmaking where colour accuracy is just as valuable. The ColorChecker Video is a 21.6x27.9cm/8.5x11in two-sided colour chart that’s been designed specifically for the needs of those
Passport Video £110/$148.99
undertaking a video workflow. On the one side it features chromatic colour chips, skin-tone chips and grey reference chips, while on the other there’s a full-size spectrally neutral white-balance card, which is designed for pre-camera checks and wider shots. Lightweight, robust and easy to carry around, this essential piece of equipment ensures that everyone on your team will be able to work with consistent colour information, saving untold amounts of time in post-production. The ColorChecker Passport Video meanwhile is a neat little ‘book’ of colour targets that flips
open to provide a total of four different options: a Video Colour Target, a Greyscale Target, a White Balance target and a Focus Target. Just 12.5x9.9cm/4.92x3.9in in size and made of sturdy plastic, this is another accessory that can be tucked into the corner of a gadget bag or even a coat pocket so that it’s always to hand and ready to be used. Both ColorChecker Video products are well conceived, well made and designed specifically for filmmakers. They are items that those who care about their colour will be keen to use on every shoot. They can help you to get a better camera-to-camera match, achieve perfect exposure and handle mixed lighting situations, and for those of you who shoot with an eye on their editing they will be worth their weight in gold. TH SPECIFICATION Size: ColorChecker Video 21.6x 27.9cm/8.5x11in, ColorChecker Passport Video 12.5x9.9cm/4.9x3.9in Targets provided: The two-sided ColorChecker Video features a Video Color and White Balance Target. The ColorChecker Passport Video offers a Video Colour Target, a Greyscale Target, a White Balance target and a Focus Target. Weight: 227g/8oz, Passport 80g/3oz PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING 8.5/10 Used properly, these colour charts will make the life of the film editor so much easier. Pros: Will pack in a gadget bag and can be taken everywhere. Cons: It takes a while to learn colour management but it’s worth it.
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BRISTOL VFX75 GREENSCREEN SET-UP Price: £558/$793
Often when you think of portable green-screen backdrops, you conjure up visions of cumbersome stands and heavy crossbars. However, this is where the VFX75 from Bristol VFX comes into its own: weighing 7.8kg/17.2lbs, the stand components pack away into a case no bigger than a tripod bag, with an additional bag for the material. Whilst this is great in terms of practicality, however, one of my main concerns was whether a timeconsuming flat-pack style build would be required. I also wondered
Chris Harper, camera pperator & post-production specialist at Five on a Bike: www. fiveonabike. com.
The 2.5m2/ 7.5ft2 green screen is easily set up in under ten minutes.
“A clever addition is an attached skirt, which creates a natural cove”
whether the finished ensemble would be sturdy enough to take the weight of the screen. I needn’t have worried. Despite being made up of several parts, the frame took less than ten minutes to piece together – it would be quicker still with an extra pair of hands – and once I was finished I found that, while the stand might not be as solid as some of its more heavy-duty rivals, it still felt sturdy enough to easily hold the weight of the 2.3m2/7.5ft2 screen. I also discovered another benefit of the design: floor space. The VFX75 takes up significantly less space than some other options, which could really make a difference if you’re working in a compact location.
The supplied screen feels like it’s well made and with the frame set to its full height it’s stretched so creases are removed. A clever addition is an attached skirt, which creates a natural cove: this means that, with the PVC flooring, fullbody shots are easily possible. The only concern I had was a seam down the middle of the screen that, while not a huge problem, could, I feel, still cause an issue with the key. Even if this were the case, however, it would still be something that could easily be rectified with lighting or in post. Overall, this is a well-priced option that will appeal to those that are looking for something that’s portable and lightweight and yet still feels as though it’s built to last. CH SPECIFICATION Accessories: An integrated fabric skirt and PVC floor extension Screen Fabric: Specially dyed and brushed synthetic fibre Surface: Wrinkle resistant and Velcro receptive Available Colours: Green and blue Size: Fully demountable with a maximum flat screen area of 2.3m2/7.5ft2 Weight: 7.8kg/17.2lbs PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING 8/10 Extremely lightweight and portable green-screen system that can be set up in a matter of minutes. Pros: Easy to set up and carry around with you Cons: There’s a seam on the screen but it shouldn’t create any issues
SUMMER 2016 PRO MOVIEMAKER
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Sample of the Summer 2016 issue of Pro Moviemaker magazine