The following articles were authored by PhilB

An Innovative Concept with an Innovative Camera.

“Departure Date” is a short film conceived and produced by the Richard Branson owned production company Virgin Produced and Virgin’s advertising agency Eleven.

The entire 30 minute film was shot on three international flights that involved all three of the Virgin group airlines – Virgin America, Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic. Flying between Sydney, Los Angeles, London and Dallas it claims to be the first commercial movie shot at 35,000 feet.

The whole idea of shooting a film on real flights with a crew of 20 using 2 Canon C300 cameras intrigued me.

Some years ago I’d worked as the steadicam operator and 2nd unit next day pharmacy DOP on a US TV movie of the week “Nowhere To Land”, filmed here in Australia. Most of that film takes place on board a flight between Sydney and Los Angeles too, but we worked for four weeks in a specially constructed studio set, a replica of the interior of a Boeing 747 Jumbo jet.

It had to be constructed with slightly wider aisles and “portable” seat rows that gave us the necessary space to set up our 35mm Moviecam Compact cameras and fly the Steadicam up and down the aisles.

A big factor in making the shooting of “Departure Date” possible was undoubtably the use of the Canon EOS C300 Digital Cinema cameras. Their ease of use, compact form factor and the ability to record a broadcast standard 4.2.2 50mbs codec to an on board CF card made them the obvious choice for this inflight production. The other big factor of course is the camera’s low light sensitivity and its excellent dynamic range, making it possible to light the set ups with a few compact low wattage LED flat panels.

Take a look at the trailer and behind the scenes video.

It’s characteristic of Richard Branson that his Virgin Airlines group would take this innovative approach to promoting his airlines with an entertaining “feel good” film. Who knows next time you fly maybe you’ll meet your soulmate too, it might even be a movie star – so long as you fly Virgin that is.
countrywide payday loans payday loan stores atlanta

By the Light of the Moon with the Canon C300

This is another low light experimental test for the Canon EOS C300. Last week I was in Canberra, ACT for a generic viagra in the us shoot and staying with my good friend and fellow cinematographer, Steve Little of Little By Little Productions. It was a full moon and the skies were clear so we decided to wander out into the cold winter night to a nearby wetland reserve. We deliberately didn’t take any additional artificial lighting.

The lenses I used were a Canon 50mm f1.4, which was used for most of the vision, a Canon L 70-200 II IS f2.8 (for the shot with the iPhone) and a Tokina 11-16 f2.8 (opening shot). The settings are all ISO 20,000 with the shutter set at 360˚. I used the Canon Cinema C Log scene file.

The edit was done in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. I’m now making the transition from FCP 7 and so far it’s going very well particularly with this camera and Premiere’s ability to import the native MXF files. I did some grading in Adobe Speedgrade, which I hadn’t used before and so it took me a while to get the hang of it, so some of the grading could be better with more experience of the software. One of the issues with Speedgrade was not being able to link the sequence directly back into Premiere. The main problem was having the camera colour balance set at K 5600 the footage looked like under exposed day time, so I added a lot of blue and desaturated the pictures to give the perception of moonlight. Maybe another time I’d adjust the camera colour temperature to do this whilst shooting.

During the process I’d experimented with adding a “Neat Video” noise reduction filter to the footage prior to sending to Speedgrade but found the results created a lot of blocky artefacts. I finally exported the complete sequence from Speedgrade, then brought it back into Premiere Pro and added a small amount of Neat Video noise reduction to the entire sequence. Better results could most probably been achieved with a different workflow and more experience with the software.

The music track was created using the Sonicfire Pro Software from Smartsound. This is great software for creating and manipulating the music track to add the right feel to a visual scene. I’d previously used Sonicfire Pro a lot in Final Cut Pro where the work flow is even better. We hadn’t planned a sequence when shooting, just done some test shots and initially on seeing the footage Steve and I envisioned a more sinister scene, when I heard this track I had a different idea, it’s a great lesson in how the audio track can impact on the story. I might try doing a second version only changing the music track for a comparison


sensitivity of the C300′s sensor and it’s low picture noise is remarkable, it is capable of seeing deeper into shadow areas than the human eye. The final edited footage here is not technically perfect, but it is very acceptable, especially considering the low level of light. I wouldn’t normally approach a shoot like this without at least some additional lighting but these results give an idea of how little extra you actually need, perhaps just a few small LED fixtures.payday loans lenders for bad credit payday loans with no bank account required

Exovest with Chris Fawcett

I was an instructor on the recent Steadicam Gold Workshop held in the Genting Highlands, just outside Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The workshop had 24 students from 9 countries and 7 instructors from 6 different countries plus 2 translators. This was absolutely the most enthusiastic group of students I’ve encountered in any of the Steadicam Workshops in which I’ve been involved. They were also to determined, inspired by the Korean contingent, to have a lot of fun. Many thanks to hosts and the crew from Tegas Broadcast especially Wesley and Henry for organising the levitra cialis viagra price event along with Brett Smith of Tiffen International, ASEAN, ANZ, India.

One of the other highlights was Chris Fawcett bringing along his Exovest for everyone to try. I found the vest to be a big step forward in comfort and weight distribution. The stress has been moved away from the lower centre of the back to just below the rear of the shoulders and onto the top of the pelvis. Around the waist pads are arranged to remove contact with the lower spine and in the front from the lower abdomen. The vertical rods are external to

the waist and shoulder spars, this allows plenty of room for deep breathing and along with the absence of chest straps allows plenty of room for rotational torso movement. A few degrees of sideways tilt movement at the shoulder spars and waist permits a more natural walking style. The Exovest is extremely lightweight but also very rigid.

I managed grab my iPhone and shoot some video when Chris was demonstrating the rig to Korean instructor Sanghoon Park. It’s a little rough but gives some good insight into how the vest works, the adjustments and how comfortable it is.

The end photo shows student Shoa Hue, one of the smallest operators I’ve encountered, alongside Garrett Brown and wearing the Exovest with the Ultra 2 rig. This gives some idea of the remarkable size adjustment designed into the rig.

You can find more information about the Exovest on the Tiffen Steadicam website.

Canon EOS C300 Online Menu Simulator

Canon has launched an online simulator

of the EOS CS300 menu. This is an excellent way to familiarise canadian viagra generic yourself with camera’s menu if you contemplating hiring or buying a C300.

View it herebuy cheap cialis online no prescription

Canon EOS C300 gets BBC approval

The Canon EOS C300 has received the

BBC’s required standards approval for internal and external cheap cialis india production of programmes for it’s HD channels. buy now

Canon EOS C300 Green Screen Codec Test

I normally don’t do a lot of shooting for green screen chroma key but I thought that the best way to test how good the MXF 4.2.2 50Mbps codec of the Canon EOS C300 really is would be a difficult and challenging green screen test.

I didn’t have to look far for a challenging subject, my partner Alison has wonderful naturally fine curly hair that I love, but she doesn’t like it, in her days as an on camera presenter and reporter she’d always been told she was impossible chroma key talent.

I edit with FCP 7 and I Logged and Transferred the camera footage in as Apple Pro Res (HQ). My usual chroma key plugin that I have installed in Final Cut is dvMatte Pro from DV Garage. This did a very good job quite quickly and easily. There are no issues with background spill but it did leave a very slight “shimmer” on the detail of the fine strands of Alison’s hair in the rendered composite.

Next I downloaded a trial version of Primatte Keyer 5.0 from Red Giant and tried that. There are some excellent tutorials at Red Giant

that guided me through the basic keying workflow very quickly. I applied the key to exactly the same footage and as you can see the results achieved in the second half of the video are really very good, especially when you consider I didn’t use any of the additional features for advanced keying in the Primatte Key package.

I’ve read a lot of criticism of the “only” 50Mbps 8 bit codec online, and on paper it might appear a little inadequate, but in practice however ordering viagra overnight delivery it is extremely robust. The aim wasn’t primarily to create a perfect key but see to see how far I could push the 4.2.2 50Mbps codec, I think it’s survived the challenge. I’d put this down to the way the Canon EOS C300 creates separate full 1920 x 1080 signals for each of the RGB channels without a debayering process, along with the double sampling of the green channel, which also contributes to the camera’s outstanding resolution.prescription medicine flagyl

Canon EOS C300, Low Light test

My second test with the Canon EOS C300 was to evaluate how well the Canon EOS C300 performed in low light. This involved shooting scenes in a variety of dusk and night time locations around Sydney’s Circular Quay and The Rocks, while experimenting with a variety of ISO and shutter settings in the camera.

A big feature of this camera, for me, is its ease of use and portability; all I took with me was the camera body with top handle, no LCD viewfinder. I had a Rode VideoMic Pro mounted on the cold shoe on top of the handle and plugged

into the external mini jack port on the camera body. I used my Manfrotto 509HD-536K PRO tripod. In my belt bag took 4 lenses and a spare battery.

These lenses were;
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX 11-16mm F2.8

The EF 50mm f/1.2L USM was on loan from Canon Australia for a presentation I was doing with the camera the following night at the Australian Cinematographers Society headquarters in North Sydney.

All shots were recorded using the Canon C Log profile. The camera settings I used started with Canon’s recommended 850 ISO, which gives maximum dynamic range. This was perfect for scenes shot just after dusk, using the 50mm f/1.2 for a couple of shots I also used the camera’s inbuilt ND filters. By the time night had fully fallen I found an ISO 6400 (with a buy branded viagra online shutter setting of 180˚) was the optimum setting for naturally lit street scenes and allowed me to use the f/2.8 lenses.

Moving down to the Circular Quay foreshore, where there is very little lighting away from buildings, for some shots I pushed the settings as far as they would go to ISO 20,000 (+30db) with 360˚ shutter. I found the camera was now resolving detail and colour not visible to the naked eye, the most spectacular of these shots being of the couple taking photos with the Opera House back drop at 1′ 10″ in the video. To the naked eye they were merely silhouettes. I was also amazed at this setting, not just how low the noise in the image was, but the “quality” of the noise. It’s aesthetically more like a film grain than regular video noise and very low but acceptable and almost pleasing. (On Vimeo the necessary compression shows some blockiness in the shadow areas but this was not apparent when viewed on a monitor in the edit suite).

From all the reports I’d seen and read online prior to placing the first order for this camera at Lemac Film and Digital, I knew it was going to be very good in low light, but the results exceed my high expectations. With this camera I am now able to shoot outdoor night scenes with none or a very small amount of additional lighting just enough to add necessary fill and detail to close ups.

For additional additional information about shooting at night with the Canon C300 view “Sword: Behind The Scenes” at Canon’s Cinema EOS website.
accutane canada

Canon EOS Cinema C300, first impressions

A few days ago I took delivery of Canon EOS Cinema C300, one of the first to be delivered in Australia. I’d placed an order for the camera with Lemac Film and Digital way back in early December, sight unseen. I’ve dealt with Lemac for many years and their backup service and support is second to none, important if you’re a freelancer. I’d made my decision to buy the C300 based on evaluations from reputable cinematographers and footage that I’d seen on the internet. It seemed the perfect step up from using the Canon 7D, which I loved and my clients loved, but it could be a little cumbersome to

work with, especially when recording dual system sound, watching for moire and aliasing, the 12 minute shot limit, and dealing with the H264 codec.

The EOS Cinema C300 has put an end to all that. It is very easy to use. This camera has definitely been designed for the cameraman to use and at the same time all reservations about the 4.2.2 50mbs codec have been dispelled. I’ve long been a critic of rear mounted viewfinders on video cameras but this camera is so light, only 3lbs. A side grip makes it very similar to handling a Mamiya 645 or Hassleblad medium format camera and hand holding is a breeze. Arms tucked in tight to the torso, right hand holding the camera grip and the camera base cradled in the left hand – very comfortable.

Canon EOS Cinema C300 kit

Canon C300 basic kit, has no necessary "add ons"

Canon 7D with extra bits for audio, viewfinder and variable ND

The camera has outstanding resolution and exceptional dynamic range, no problems with moire or aliasing and almost unbelievable low light performance. The accompanying video was designed for me to discover what I could expect from the camera. So far it exceeds my expectations and I look forward to putting it to real use.

All shots in the video used the C Log profile and all grading was done in Final Cut Pro 7 using the 3 Way Color Corrector simply to adjust black and highlight levels, only in the night time shots at the end was any actual colour correction applied. The video files were downloaded from the CF card using the Canon XF Utility to back up footage to the computer (MacPro Quad 2 x 2.8), this took about 4 mins for 32 minutes of video. Log and Transfer into FCP was then done using the Canon XF plugin for FCP coming in as AppleRes (SQ) this took about 8 mins for the 32 minutes of video, notably much faster the same process with the 7D’s H264 format.

Also of note in this test is the performance of the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM lens using the stabilizer to hand hold and pan with the ferry, this not something I’d usually do off the tripod. I’d long wondered if it was worth forking out the extra $1,000 for IS version, it was.cialis daily price

Garrett Brown, Inventor of Steadicam

In July 2011 Garrett Brown visited the Australian SMPTE Conference and Exhibition to demonstrate his new Steadicam invention the Tango which was shown on Tiffen Steadicam Products Australian distributors Lemac Film and Digital stand. Garrett took some time out of a busy schedule to talk to Alison Ray about designing, using, and the canadian pharmacy ongoing development of the Steadicam.

In this first episode Garrett talks about what inspired him to build a device that could fly a camera smoothly and unrestricted over almost any terrain.

The scene from “Bound For Glory” that

refers to can been seen here at

In Part 2 Garrett talks about how the Steadicam evolved, he demonstrates the new Tango jib arm for Steadicam and talks about working with Stanley Kubrick on “The Shining”

Watch the scene from “The Shining” at

The week after SMPTE Garrett led a Steadicam Workshop in the NSW Southern Highlands town of Robertson, the location for the movie “Babe”. Along with Jerry Holway, Chris Fawcett, Harry Panagiotidis, Louis Puli and Rebbecca Wilson-Jennings I was fortunate to be an instructor on this workshop. In this third and final episode in the series Garrett talks about learning to operate Steadicam, what you learn in Steadicam workshop, and perfecting “The Look”.

Larry McConkey’s shot from “Goodfellas” entering the Copacabana can be viewed at

Information about Steadicam Workshops worldwide can be found on the Steadicam Operators Association website.

In Australia I conduct 2 day Steadicam Workshops for users of Tiffen’s smaller professional video rigs, Pilot, Scout and Zephyr, more information here online pharmacies without prescription

Shooting with a Canon 7D HD DSLR

I’ve recently spent a good few hours testing a Canon 7D and workflows into Final Cut Pro 7. Our first production was a real test for the system, an observational documentary.
We were commissioned to shoot a short doco for Sydney dancer Louie George rehearsing his new show. The shoot was done at three separate rehearsal sessions. We shot rehearsals as they happened only once

having to ask for second take of a dance we only had one angle.
The equipment we used comprised of four lenses, a Sigma 10-20mm, a Canon 17-85mm, a Sigma 70-200mm and for the interviews a Mamiya 645 55mm with Fotodiox adaptor. We a used a Steadicam Flyer for some shots, a perfect rig for the Canon 7D, as well as lots of handheld and a Manfrotto 504HD tripod that I’ve been asked to evaluate.
Audio was recorded on a Zoom H4, with Rode NTG 1 shotgun mike on one channel and Sony radio mike from Louie feeding the second channel. An output split from the monitor output of the radio mike was in turn sent to the Canon 7D via another radio mike for a guide track when post syncing with PluralEyes in post.
The Zoom H4 batteries drained very quickly when supplying phantom power for NTG 1. In future we’ll supply sound to the H4 with a mixer.
The only lighting used was for Louie’s interview. All the dance footage and Elizabeth’s interview were shot under available light. The Mamiya 55mm lens was used for both interviews at f2.8.
I made the decision to shoot all the footage at 720 50p as I was sure we’d use some slo mo. The slow motion shots were created by duplicating the original files of the shots required and conforming them to 25p in Cinema Tools. These shots were then slowed a further 50% viagra pills in Final Cut with frame bending off.

Producer and sound recordist was my partner Alison tamoxifen citrate without a prescription