Episode 71: Apple Updates the MacBook Pros

Episode 71: Apple Updates the MacBook Pros

Are Apple’s new MacBook Pros worth the upgrade? I have no idea, so Nick explains the new specs. Plus, your questions about recovering lost audio, organizing camera gear, and if your computer can handle 10-bit video files.

Regarding hard-to-play video files, for playback I recommend VLC for Mac or PC, and for transcoding files—EditReady for Mac.

This simple “underwear organizer” helps store my lenses, camera bodies, cords and accessories inside dresser drawers.

For more information about camera bags Nick and I use, check out episode 69, How to Vacation with a Camera.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 70: Alex Ferrari shot his film AT Sundance
  From his Instagram @ifilmhustle , Alex Ferrari holding the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera he shot his film  On the Corner of Ego And Desire  with.

From his Instagram @ifilmhustle, Alex Ferrari holding the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera he shot his film On the Corner of Ego And Desire with.

Episode 70: Alex Ferrari shot his film AT Sundance

Filmmaker Alex Ferrari is known for his website and podcast Indie Film Hustle. Alex’s latest feature film On the Corner of Ego and Desire was shot in four days at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Plus, your questions about filming concerts, creating pretty text, and which microphone I prefer.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 69: How to Vacation with a Camera

Episode 69: How to Vacation with a Camera

As Nick prepares to travel with his family, what camera gear is essential for summer vacation? Plus, your questions about CTO and CTB gels, shooting in low light, and whether it’s legal to use a news broadcast in your film.

Nick uses a Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L, and this Peak Design camera wrist strap.
For lighter, sightseeing travel, Griffin prefers the Lowepro Photo Hatchback BP 150 AW II or Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L AW.

John Luna’s instagramthank you, John for editing today’s episode!
And thank you Pierre Barr for mixing today's audio!

How I Produced, Distributed and Promoted Sriracha:

I used this Video Talent Release Form to produce Sriracha. As I’m no lawyer, it certainly could be more legally airtight to mitigate risk, but a simple release like this serves as proof that talent participated willfully, understands the project and how you intend to distribute it, and whether they should expect compensation.

This article by Jake Hicks on CTO and CTB gels explains exactly how much each gel affects white balance, including Kelvin numbers.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 68: Macro Infrared Photography with a Bellows

Episode 68: Macro Infrared Photography with a Bellows

Using a DIY-mounted macro bellows, Griffin shoots some weird close-up photos with his infrared camera. Plus, your questions about being a perfectionist, how to lock the stabilization of a handheld shot, and if a zoom lens messes up gimbal balance.

Watch our bonus episode, Converting My GH4 Camera to Infrared (September 6, 2017)
*I paid a company called Kolari Vision to permanently remove the “hot mirror” filter from my Panasonic GH4 sensor, and install a 720nm infrared filter.

Carson recommends using YouTube’s “Transcribe and auto-sync” feature to generate and export subtitle files for free. Lorenz recommends Lumberjack Builder, a subscription-based service for generating video transcripts.

For controlling vocal audio levels automatically, Joel recommends a plug-in called Vocal Rider.

Fstoppers writes about why “I.S. Lock” on the Panasonic GH5 is so useful.

If you’re having trouble setting up internet file sharing with a Synology NAS, Nick thinks it could be a port forwarding issue, and recommends this support tutorial.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 67: Automatic Captions for Videos

Episode 67: Automatic Captions for Videos

Griffin tests out SpeedScriber, an app that automatically generates subtitles for his latest video. Plus, your questions about editing out background music, when to use what kinds of stabilization, and issues with 24 vs. 30-frame videos.

SpeedScriber(for Mac OS) includes 15 free minutes of automatic transcription. After that, it’s $0.50/minute.

Joseph Linaschke, known as PhotoJoseph, has also experienced the DJI Spark/FCPX framerate issue we discussed last week. He sent me this thread in the DJI forums.

Nick helped me understand how 60hz televisions can avoid 24fps judder.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 66: The Framerate Mismatch Problem

Episode 66: The Framerate Mismatch Problem

Griffin attempts to solve a weird frame-skipping problem showing up in Nick’s latest drone footage. Plus, your questions about handling audio tracks in Final Cut Pro X, producing a compelling story, and how to create a video podcast like ours.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 65: Ronin-S, DJI’s new handheld gimbal

Episode 65: Ronin-S, DJI’s new handheld gimbal

The new Ronin-S ships on June 11, 2018. Is DJI’s new handheld gimbal worth the $699 price tag? Plus, your questions about producing political ads, how to sound professional over email, and post-production tips for audio.

The DJI Ronin-S is a 4.1-lb. 3-axis gimbal that can handle camera/lens combos up to 7.9 lbs. The Ronin-S can connect to these supported cameras to control recording and/or focus.

Upcoming workshop in Los Angeles
PHOTOCON LA 2018 is a three-day photo and cinema learning event in Los Angeles, which opens with my keynote Traveling Light While Filmmaking on June 8, 2018.

Griffin cuts these rubber sheets into pieces to squeeze between slippery metal camera parts—to keep a tight connection between a tripod head and legs, for example.

For DVD production, Nick uses MediaZilla. For email hosting, he recommends Zoho.

To learn Final Cut Pro X tips, Griffin recommends Larry Jordan.

Griffin Hammond
Bonus: The Four Ingredients of Documentary Film

Bonus: The Four Ingredients of Documentary Film

From his recent filmmaking workshop at Illinois State University, Griffin explains the four elements of news and documentary—SOT, b-roll, voiceover and natural sound.

Upcoming workshop in Los Angeles
PHOTOCON LA 2018 is a three-day photo and cinema learning event in Los Angeles, which opens with my keynote Traveling Light While Filmmaking on June 8, 2018.

 

Griffin Hammond
Episode 64: SD Card Problems

Episode 64: SD Card Problems

From Singapore, Griffin describes two recent problems he’s encountered with SD cards. Plus, your questions about the visual grammar of storytelling, pulling focus with electronic lenses, and the lenses I used on my latest film from Japan.

Directed by Errol Morris, The Fog of War is a documentary that features a special camera device called the Interrotron, which allowed former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara to speak directly into the camera during his interviews.

For the footage I shot in Kyoto, Japan, I relied on three Panasonic lenses—the 42.5mm f/1.2, 25mm f/1.4, and 8–18mm f/2.8–4. For Panasonic GH5 V-Log footage, I’ve enjoyed a LUT called VLog_to_V709_Varicam, included in this free zip file of LUTs created by Mitch Lally.

Here are the instructions for getting a podcast on Spotify.

Upcoming workshop in Los Angeles
PHOTOCON LA 2018 is a three-day photo and cinema learning event in Los Angeles, which opens with my keynote Traveling Light While Filmmaking on June 8, 2018.

Massachusetts Special Olympics video gig
If you’re interested in helping film the Massachusetts Special Olympics in Boston June 9–10, or the Cruiser Convoy in Mansfield, Braintree, Sagamore Beach, Danvers, or Reading, email Bruce Goguen at gig@EventsOnDVD.com

 

Griffin Hammond
Episode 63: Filmmaking in Japan

Episode 63: Filmmaking in Japan

Griffin and Amy are in Japan, filming a client project with the Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 handheld gimbal. Plus, your questions about aspect ratios, offloading footage during international trips, and how audio syncing helps edit a podcast.

For backing up footage without a computer, there are many hard drives with built-in SD card readers:

Nick is interested to try Ferrite, an audio editing app for iPad.

 

Griffin Hammond
Episode 62: Cheap vs. Expensive Sliders

Episode 62: Cheap vs. Expensive Sliders

Griffin buys an $820 Kessler Stealth slider, compares it to a $249 carbon fiber slider by Benro. Plus, your questions about SD card speeds, how to record two mono audio tracks, and whether to shoot your documentary in 4K or 1080.

Items I purchased today:

Nick thinks I need to upgrade my 37" 720p/1080i television. He just sent me this link—he recommends this new TCL 4K TV.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 61: Digital Cinema Specs

Episode 61: Digital Cinema Specs

A document from Australian theaters shows what tech specs they expect for your digital cinema files. Plus, your questions about SD cards and X-ray machines, the difference between European and American camera models, and how to film a weeks-long time lapse.

Thank you to John Cochrane in Brisbane, Australia—CEO of John Cochrane Advertising—for sharing these tech specs from Valmorgan Cinema Network:

View PDF—Production Specifications and Requirements

 

Griffin Hammond
Episode 60: The Story of the Fire

Episode 60: The Story of the Fire

Fire destroyed Griffin’s mom’s apartment in Bloomington, Illinois. She is safe, and the recovery process is going well. Plus, your questions about crop focal lengths, tracking freelance hours, and the best headphones for under $100.

Central Illinois news agencies reported on the fire, including this story in The Pantagraph.

How to protect yourself
The Red Cross has several fire preparedness tips—most importantly making sure you have working smoke alarms.

*My mom also appears in episode 54—she's interviewed on-campus at Illinois State University.

Upcoming workshop in Los Angeles
PHOTOCON LA 2018 is a three-day photo and cinema learning event in Los Angeles, which opens with my keynote Traveling Light While Filmmaking on June 8, 2018.

Regarding Austin’s question about counting freelance hours, I’ve come across ZEI° by Timeular, a tabletop device that tracks your working hours.

Although I prefer to trust wired lavalier mics (like the Sony ECM-44B) when possible, I’ve recently purchased a Sennheiser EW100 G3 wireless transmitter and ME 2-II lavalier mic.

John—looking for sub-$100 headphones—is considering the Sennheiser HD 280 PRO. Griffin likes his Sony MDR-V6. One of Nick’s favorite review sites, Wirecutter, has several suggestions.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 59: Blackmagic Design Pocket 4K camera

Episode 59: Blackmagic Design Pocket 4K camera

Film tech announcements from the NAB Show, including the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. Plus, your questions about shooting for cinema screens, what framerate to choose for editing, and if you should spend $1,000 on a microphone.

NAB announcements that caught our eye:

 

Griffin Hammond
Episode 58: ProRes RAW in FCPX 10.4.1

Episode 58: ProRes RAW in FCPX 10.4.1

Final Cut Pro X’s latest update (v10.4.1) to video editing adds ProRes RAW and closed captioning right in the timeline. Plus, your questions about when you’re allowed to record audio without permission, the etiquette of film festival laurels, and how to sync timecode between cameras.

Next week, I’m teaching a one-hour filmmaking workshop at Illinois State University!
"Upgrade from Amateur to Documentary Filmmaker"
Tuesday, April 17, 5:00pm CT
Normal, Illinois
Illinois State University
Fell Hall 280 (Communication Innovation Center)
Facebook event—Let me know if you're coming!

This free event is part of COM Week—a series of educational events focused on entrepreneurship and career-building, hosted by the School of Communication at ISU.

HIRING
I’m hiring a few freelance positions around the world for an upcoming project. Email me at griffin@hey.film. Looking for—

  • Drone operator in Tokyo
  • Location scout/manager in Tokyo
  • Drone operator in Taipei
  • Location scout/manager in Taipei
  • Drone operator in Singapore
  • Location scout/manager in Singapore
  • NYC-based editor fluent in Japanese
  • NYC-based editor fluent in Mandarin Chinese
Griffin Hammond
Episode 57: New HDR Monitor to Test

Episode 57: New HDR Monitor to Test

BenQ sent Nick their latest 31.5” HDR LCD monitor to test out. Plus, your questions about editing video on a Surface Pro, finding video work through the internet, and whether to place a lavalier mic on the bride.

In two weeks, at Illinois State University, I'm teaching a one-hour filmmaking workshop. And you're invited!

"Upgrade from Amateur to Documentary Filmmaker"
Tuesday, April 17, 5:00pm CT
Normal, Illinois
Illinois State University
Fell Hall 280 (Communication Innovation Center)

Facebook event—Let me know if you're coming!

This free event is part of COM Week—a series of educational events focused on entrepreneurship and career-building, hosted by the School of Communication at ISU.

Griffin Hammond
Bonus: How do I recover corrupt video files?

Bonus: How do I recover corrupt video files?

After shooting a music video, Taylor worries his SD card is corrupted. Nick recommends software to recover missing video files. Plus, we won “Best Podcast” from Johny Bosworth!

For recovering deleted or corrupted video files, Nick recommends the free, open-source, multi-platform software PhotoRec.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 56: New, quicker FAA authorization for drones

Episode 56: New, quicker FAA authorization for drones

In the United States, the FAA is rolling out a system called LAANC to make it easier and much quicker for commercial drone pilots to receive authorization to fly near airports. Plus, your questions about filming loud concerts, entering film festivals, and storing video assets.

Articles on this subject:

Brendan asked about film festivals. Here’s a spreadsheet from 2014 that details the film festivals I entered Sriracha into, including their various deadlines and costs.

Griffin Hammond
Episode 55: Cameras used by SXSW Filmmakers

Episode 55: Cameras used by SXSW Filmmakers

No Film School asked 43 filmmakers at this year’s SXSW film festival what cameras they shot with. (It’s mostly ARRI Alexas.) Plus, your technical questions about the Panasonic GH5, lenses, hard drives, and what audio mixer to hook up to your computer.

Read: From ALEXAs to 1980s JVCs: Cameras & Lenses Used on SXSW 2018 Films

Warren asked what audio interface to use with his Sennheiser MD 421-II microphone ($380). He’s currently using the $40 Behringer XENYX 502 mixer. Our voiceover artist friend Matt Shivers recommends he upgrade to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 ($150).

Griffin Hammond