Thursday, March 31, 2011

Set your PVRs

Since we'll all be at the wefcpug/RTS special meeting next Monday (4th April) - see previous posts for details - better set your recorders for BBC3 9pm.

wefcpug regular Jason Porthouse has edited 'My Brother the Islamist' for local production company Grace productions - more details here courtesy of the BBC site

Small fingers required

The perplexing iMovie app for iPhone has been joined by another app for those with small fingers - now you can edit/compress/upload to Vimeo using their own app.  OK, it's editing Jim, but not quite as we know it:  one step up from editing in camera (and there's lots to be said for that).  But just as it's theoretically possible to write your next Great Novel on an iPhone/iPad, now you can make the movie too without ever needing a desk.
All (some of) the details over here with a cute vimeo video of it all in action.   Note the link is to the blog in general, there's no permalink available - so if you're reading this in Christmas 2011 you'll have to do your own search of the Vimeo site.   Also there on the apps store.   Our favourite price, too.
So who's going to volunteer to cover Monday's DSLR fest then???

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sound Advice from the BBC academicians

The news is all over their channels today - audiences don't like TV soundtracks when they can't hear the words for the music.   There is a remarkably low-key and sensible foreword from the new bloke in charge of BBC-1, Danny Cohen, to a useful set of videos on what we must now apparently call the BBC college of production (or is that a Faculty within the Academy?).

I've had a jolly time watching a couple of these videos, jerky though the playback is on my broadband connection (of which more another time).    I'm feeling generous today, so I'll commend the one giving advice to one-person bands or self-shooters in the unfortunate BBC parlance.   It begins with the now obligatory picking-the-camera-bag-off-the-shelf sequence, and the advice is somewhat obvious, but they mean well and presumably there are people who need to be told this.   But how did they get the job in the first place, I ask snarkily...

In other areas, raise a cheer for the video celebrating that rarest of beasts, the Dubbing Mixer.   I was especially pleased to see, just in the closing frames, the tea-tray with, I think, choc hob-nobs, in view on the mixing desk.   As any old-style film editor or director (guilty as charged) knows, the whole point of booking a dubbing theatre, especially the grand ones in Soho, was to gorge on tea, coffee and chocolate biscuits while sitting on a comfy sofa watching someone else do all the work.   The only quibbles I have with the redoubtable Mr Foulgham ( a dubbing mixer of renown and talent) is the use of the phrase 'voice-over' to describe a scripted narration of commentary. (Narration is the correct term - voice-over according to this pedant and many before me is to be confined to use of sync sound over cutaway pictures).  

And a second point;  moving and fitting though the high wire walker film is, surely we should declare a moratorium on the use of Erik Satie as background music?   Taking it further, any editor knows there's an army of desperate music writers and performers out there, aching to write for TV.    Maybe we should have a moratorium on all re-use of recorded 'commercial' music in TV backgrounds.  Now that would take me back to my starting days...

Next meeting - DSLRs for cinematography - April 4th 2011

DSLRs for cinematography
A film-makers' workshop

Exciting new breakthrough in capturing the moving image, or just a passing fad that's being hyped by equipment suppliers?  The use of digital stills cameras (notably the Canon D5 range) to film high quality moving images at (relatively) low cost is raising interest around the world.  It's technically possible - the last season's finale episode of 'House' in the US was filmed this way - but how practicable is it for you and the programmes you make?  How, for instance, is the sound recorded?

Join a panel of film-makers and suppliers in an informal workshop on DSLR cinematography, held in association with the Bristol-based wefcpug (Final Cut User group).  Organised with the help of Canon UK and Pink Noise in Bristol, this will be a mixture of hands-on demos and presentations.  We'll hear from those already using these techniques for drama and documentaries, and gather comments from expert trainers.

We'll try to follow the process through from image capture to editing and final delivery - join us for a leap into one digital future of TV.

Monday April 4th, BBC Bristol 7pm onwards.

This could well be a packed meeting.  We're in the conference centre at the BBC (thanks to the RTS) but it's first come first served.   Make sure of a place by contacting Richard in the usual way!!

A big media week in Bristol

The 'big media week' began of course with the March wefcpug on the Monday.  As a starter course, I ran through the headliner items as I saw them from the BVE show last month:  this turned out to be not so much a presentation but a rolling discussion. 

There are a couple of developments since, as it happens:
- amongst the cameras launched, the AF-101 from Panasonic has a published evaluation from Alan Roberts, which pulls no punches.   Find it here.
- the new disc recorder, the Atomos Ninja, which shows great promise, has yet to appear on the 'shelves'.  According to the urbanfoxtv blog, deliveries were being held pending a hardware upgrade/bug solution.

Our main course (which, for timing reasons, came before and after the starters) was a race between various routes to compress for the web.   It's all (with sample videos) on Richard's wefcpug website.

And so to Thursday night,  the glitz and glamour of Bristol's own TV awards ceremony, the RTS West of England awards, which this year were held at the spanking new Showcase Cinema de Lux in Cabot Circus.   Read all about the awards elsewhere  but raise your glasses please to wefcpug member David Neal, who this year had the daunting task of editing and playing out the clips reel to an audience of 250 of Bristol's media moguls.  No pressure there, then.

Although I wrote 'clips reel' not only (as you'd expect) were the clips edited on FCP, they were played out from the mac too - via HD-SDI to one of the cinema's 4k projectors.  Only the week before, we were told, the last of the cinema's film projectors had been stripped out.   The future is disc-driven!