F-Stop and T-Stop

Posted by Brian Paris on May 15, 2009 in Blog

So what is the difference between the f-stop and T-stop? It is pretty simple really. The f-stop is the ratio between the focal length of the lens divided by the diameter of the aperture opening. So if the focal length of the lens is 50mm and the diameter of the opening is 25mm then the f-stop is f/2.0.

This is pretty straight forward, but what is really important is how much light is getting to the sensor. In a perfect world the f-stop would be a good gauge for all lenses, but in reality each piece of glass had different properties that change the amount of light that goes through the lens. The best glass loses the least amount of light and is closer to the f-stop. T-stop is just the measure of the actual light that gets transmitted through the lens, no matter what the glass. So, while it is possible to get different amounts of light through different lenses with the same f-stop, with same T-stops, you should get the same exposure no matter what lens you use.

In short: f-stop is the mathematical formula and T-stop is the actual measured transmission.

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NAB 2009, Day 5 – Wednesday

Posted by Brian Paris on Apr 22, 2009 in Blog

Started off the day with a one on one conference with Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and his new book Outliers. He talked about the general concepts behind all of his books. I have heard good things about those before, and I should probably pick them up sometime for some reading. The most interesting thing that I got out of the conversation was that he says he is always trying to get information that isn’t available on google. Seems that a lot of the young reporters are just doing their research on the web and don’t uncover anything new. I like that idea a lot, and maybe I’ll put something together on that a little later.

Went to a panel on reporting from the front lines. On the panel was: Craig White (Chief Photographer, NBC News), Kaj Larsen (Producer/Reporter , Current TV), Phil Alongi (Alongi Media Solutions & 20 Year Producer for NBC News), and Brian Natwick (The Pentagon Channel). They all talked about their experiences in covering wars and conflicts. Pretty scary stuff. I am glad that there are people doing it, but I don’t know if I could do it. I wonder about the students. Will they be going out and doing that type of reporting?

Then I went to see Josh Schwartz, the man behind Chuck and Gossip Girl. He talked a lot about how hard it is to stay afloat if you are doing shows that don’t have a traditional audience. Younger viewers are turning to different delivery platforms to get this entertainment fix. That doesn’t necessarily show up in the ratings, and without the ratings you aren’t going to be on the air for long. He did give some hope in that some people are starting to get into web programming. Not much pay there yet, but there is a lot of freedom.

Saw a lot of equipment vendors. I’ll have a lot more to talk about them when I start ordering for next year.

Finished up the night at the RED User party. There were a lot of speakers talking about the different post production and color correction work flows. There were also a lot of vendors with RED specific accessories and add-ons. Got some good ideas from tonight’s presentations.

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NAB 2009, Day 4 – Tuesday

Posted by Brian Paris on Apr 21, 2009 in Blog

Got a chance to look at a lot of vendors today. Looked through a lot of the Panasonic cameras. I am liking the look of the the AVCCAM camcorders. The HMC 150 is the hot little camera now. It is a 1/3″ in 3 CCD camera. Looks pretty good for a cheap camera. I like the idea of recording on inexpensive SD cards. They also were showing off a new camera (the 40) that is the little brother of the 150. I think it would probably make a pretty good camera for the journalism students.

Tonight I went to the Roscor celebration at the Imperial Palace. It was a little party for customers of Roscor. It was a good chance to see what other people are doing out in the real world.

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NAB 2009, Day 3 – Monday

Posted by Brian Paris on Apr 20, 2009 in Blog

Another day of the DP workshops. Started off with Blue and Green Screen information. Bob Kertesz talked about what he does to shoot for keying.
Some good info that come out:
shoot green 1 stop under key and blue at or a little over key,
blue makes for better flesh tones in a key but has more noise and needs more light than green,
chroma kinoflos work well, just remember that they don’t show as much luminance on waveform,
Composite Components‘ Digital Green Screen material was recommended

Next I went to the Indie Film Super Session. Brian Valente (redrock), moderated a panel consisting of Rodney Charters, Director of Photography, 24; Stu Maschwitz , Founder, The Orphanage; Charles Papert , Co-founder, Instant Films. They talked a lot about the RED camera and the Canon 5d MkII. Seems like there is a lot of talk about the convergence of Digital SLRs and video cameras. I see this being a big thing in the next few years.

Back to the DP workshop for more RED info, and then a session of Steadicam. There is a new wireless video system from IDX. Now you can fly a camera without being tethered to a recorder or monitor. Wireless makes it a lot easier for everyone on set.

Other announcements came from AJA. They have a new recorder, and a portable iO. I was hoping for an announcement from Apple about Final Cut, but no word yet.

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NAB 2009, Day 2

Posted by Brian Paris on Apr 19, 2009 in Blog

Started off the day at the DP conference with a good demo of the Phantom HD camera. The camera is a high speed machine, able to capture 2K footage at 1000 frames per second. This produces great looking slow motion footage. The footage that they showed was very impressive. Wouldn’t mind having one of them.

After lunch there was a demo by Grass Valley showing their Viper camera. Not a bad camera, but it just seems like it is a little old and out of place. They were one of the first on the market, but it is showing its age. That coupled with the fact that Grass Valley is up for sale makes it hard to want to invest in them. They also showed their HD camera, the Infinity. This was the most video looking camera that we have seen so far. Definitely not what I was looking for.

Panasonic was next up. It was pretty much just a sales presentation talking about how great Panasonic was. Not useful at all. If I wanted that info, I could have just read a brochure. The one good thing they said was that they were bringing out cheaper P2 cards out. They will have limited read/write cycles but will be significantly cheaper.

The rest of the afternoon was Gary Adcock time. He is a really good speaker, with lots of energy. His first talk was about being a DIT. It is a new position in the film making work flow, and it is vitally important to the whole process. With so many different systems, cameras, recording devices, and post production expectations, it is becoming a super skilled tech job. Not sure how many people are up for being great DIT’s, but I imagine that they will be in high demand. There is a good pdf of tapeless workflow best practices on the Fletcher website. It is a modified version of Gary’s rules.

Gary then talked about LUTs and monitoring. I thought that this was a little too technical, with out a lot of easy to use information. I understand things a little better now, but I still have to do some research to get the basics completely under control. I will also have to check out some of the better monitors during the show.

Exibition floor opens tomorrow. I will have one more day of DP stuff, but will try to look at as much stuff as possible.

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NAB 2009, Day 1

Posted by Brian Paris on Apr 18, 2009 in Blog

I am in the Director of Photography track at the NAB show in Vegas. Started off the day with a panel discussion led by Gary Adcock. They started by talking about the camera guild and why it was good to have a union. I like the idea of getting everyone trained and working from a standard starting point, but I live a long way away and don’t do any union shooting, so it wasn’t much help for me. They did take some interesting questions. People were asking about the state of digital production, post production, and delivery. There is a lot of change going on in the industry, and there don’t appear to be any solid answers to a lot of the issues out there. Hopefully a few solutions might get announced this week.

Next up was the state of the RED. Ted from RED talked a little about the history of the company and products, and then gave a little outline of their plans. All of this was pretty much on their website, but it was a good summary of everything. Best part was that he showed a lot of footage shot on RED. Some of the scenes were just amazing. I am so impressed with what this camera can do in the right hands. It was used is so many different fields; docs, features, music videos, corporate, commercial. I am looking forward to taking ours out for a spin when I get back to Doha. Seems that it is in Customs limbo right now, but hopefully that get straightened out soon.

Last of the night was an ARRI talk about their D21 camera. I wanted to see this camera, since it is one of the ones that I am considering for use at the college. I have to say that I was not impressed. The camera is large and heavy. Some of the footage was pretty good, but most looked like nice looking video. Not really what I was hoping for. It was nice to see the S.two’s OB1 attached to the camera. This allows for a little less complicated data capture solution. I am sure in the right hands this is a nice camera, but it seems like it is a bit hard to get the best results from this cam.

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$3000 Video Camera

Posted by Brian Paris on Mar 29, 2009 in Blog

A friend of mine asked me if I knew of a good camera to be had for a $3000 budget. That is a budget range that I don’t usually deal with. Most of the time I am looking for equipment at a little higher end or cheaper consumer cameras. I gave it some thought and did a little research and this is what I came up with. Let me know what you think. Read more…

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Get your Mojo on

Posted by Brian Paris on Mar 28, 2009 in Blog

Chris Booker stopped by class and gave a little information to the students this week. He was a multimedia journalist at the Chicago Tribune and teaches at Northwestern’s Medill School. He talked a little about mobile journalism (mojo), and gave a hint of what he teaches in his new media classes.

He mentioned a couple of good websites to check out. If you are interested in doing some surfing check them out:

Interactive Narratives

Multimedia Shooter

Both have good examples of the direction that new media journalism is going.

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Zacuto’s FilmFellas

Posted by Brian Paris on Mar 21, 2009 in Blog

Just found Zacuto has a Vimeo channel where they are posting some great webisodes called FilmFellas. It is a lot like Dinner for Five the show on IFC. Instead of Jon Favreau, we get Steve Weiss sitting around talking to filmmakers talking about film making. Good thing about this series is that these are people like me. They have done some good things, but aren’t big time successes that you see on the IFC show.

Check out the first one here and look at the other episodes on Vimeo.

FilmFellas - webisode 1 from Steve Weiss, Zacuto USA on Vimeo.

"Web of Opportunities"
Cast One: Steve Weiss, Philip Bloom, Peter Hawley, Steve DaDouche
“As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a filmmaker”, if this is your mantra, then you’ve got to see FilmFellas! Zacuto is excited to announce their new webisodic series, FilmFellas. A behind the scenes peek featuring influential and emerging new filmmakers who are making, creating and challenging the independent film scene and how we view entertainment. Follow this continuing series, you won’t want to miss a webisode as the cast and topics change. Watch in full screen HD with new webisodes premiering every two weeks. Producers Steve Weiss, Jens Bogehegn & Scott Lynch sit down and dine with industry movers and shakers where talking film is their family business.

The premiere webisode "Web of Opportunities" introduces Steve Weiss' passion for the web. Can the web really be a delivery medium for entertainment? Can money be made on the web?

Zacuto and Vimeo presents: FilmFellas

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Posted by Brian Paris on Mar 14, 2009 in Blog

Fun little lesson on acting from Ian McKellen on the show Extras.

Laughed my ass off after watching that. Funniest part is it is pretty much what acting is. Learn the lines and pretend to be the character.

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