Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why youll proabably be using a Panasonic AG-AF100 over a dslr (or a Red) next year...

So Panasonic pulled a fast one at this years NAB with the anouncement of the AG-AF100, the worlds first dedicated "cinema" video camera with a m4/3 chip- all with a price under $6k. Now I know a lot of you may think thats expensive compared to a dslr, or even a Gh1; which shares the sensor technology being used in the AF100. Let me go out on a limb here and say this will be the goto camera for a lot of projects next year.

Add these up;

dvx100/hvx200 legacy + Video specific GH1 style 16:9 m4/3 chip (11.6 stops DR) with a mount that can accept ANY lens you want + Good balanced codec with long record times and super easy editing + Pro Audio/video I/O and HDSDI (for 10-bit uncompressed if you really want it) + flip out and adjustable EVF and LCD and hdmi monitoring + ZERO aliasing/miore issues + 1080/24p + built in ND wheel + variable frame rates + Detailed in camera image adjustments... all in a very compact and reliable camera kit with instant boot up... Well thats a pretty badass camera for $6k that you could take anywhere in the world with you and shoot anything you want, more importantly... a camera that you can not have to worry about messing your shoot up!

This is going to be a long year...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Im on Gizmodo!

Actually, Im quite suprised... but hey, why not!

I recently got an adapter from Steve Morton ( that allows me to put some of my roundfront lomo anamophic on my 5d mark 2. It came in the mail, I threw it on and took a few test shots (and bragged on some internet forums about having the lenses mounted to my camera- Cheeky, I know..)

Then put up a short test on vimeo and within a few hours, It was on planet5d, then next thing I knew it was on, Really wish now I would have shot something better, I guess you never know who is watching your stuff!

Anyways here is the 15 seconds of fame link and the video test:

P.s. If you want to get a good kick, read some of the expanded comments on gizmodo- lots of haters on there! Im still recovering from a few the insults ; )

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Picture perfect 30p to 24p conversion (for the 5Dm2)

Sorry for the long break between updates, I am now going to commit to update every other week at the least.

So just recently Canon let loose the manual control firmware (which rocks!) but users are still stuck with 30fps. That is fine for an elegant slowdown to 24fps, but if your recording sync sound you want 24fps interpolated from the 30p files. This was an issue I worked through using compressor in months past but it always introduced artifacts, I looked at twixtor, After effects and others on top of that- but none measured up.

Just recently I bought Apple SHAKE and boy am I impressed! This is the best frame rate conversion of them all and now with the manual firmware for the 5D mark 2, you can shoot 30p at 1/50th shutter and get frame accurate perfect 24p without any noticeable artifacts... you can even scrub frame by frame on most clips and not see any.

After trying out all of the settings in Shake, Here is the best method of turning your 30p 5Dm2 footage into 24p WITHOUT slowing down:

1. Open Shake and import your 30p native file.
2. Set your input frame rate to 30.00
3. Set your output frame rate to 24.00
4. Go to Timing and select under the ReTiming menu:

- Set motion to "Best"
- Set Flow Smoothness to ZERO! (important)
- Set Flow Precision to 100 (also important!)

Then just render out your file of choice with the fileout node (I use ProRes HQ) and BLAM! Picture perfect 24p. On 99% of clips, I cant see a single artifact- even frame by frame. I can say with confidence that this is the cheapest and highest quality method for getting 24p from a 30p file. Shake is also amazing for doing other things too- like color grading or adding real film grain.

Comparison grab (24p on the left and 30p on the right (the frame on the left is an entirely new frame- notice the lack of artifacts even though the subjects hands are moving- I will post some moving stuff soon):

Monday, January 12, 2009

New s16mm camera test footage back!

I put together a little cut over the weekend of the first 600' I put through my new a-minima! This camera is too much fun to use!

"600 feet" - a s16mm camera test from Hunter Richards on Vimeo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Its here...

Just finished my first test roll with it! So much fun to use, it really puts the joy into shooting. The 6 lens set of illuminas are like icing on the cake- f1.2 feels good!

expired film + flashing = happy accidents

I have been having so much fun with my "new" old ae-program slr. I recently have been shooting expired film and using "flashing" techniques to yield some happy accidents! Here are a few pictures from recent (These are scans from cheap 4x6" prints. The dust and scratches are from the old dirty scanner- not on the neg)I love how cool these look "right out of the box"!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Have you heard about that "new" cinema camera?

You know! That one with these specs!?

- Instant boot up
- Totally uncompressed progressive RAW 4:4:4 2K images, No debayering- real 2K! With no CMOS rolling shutter issues! (with variable frame rates)
- up to 20 stops dynamic range!
- Native PL or nikon mount
- Ultra Low power consumption
- Disposable battery option! (run the camera on disposable batteries in a pinch!)
- No cooling fans
- Master time code generator
- Built in incident light meter
- Built in intervelometer for timelapse with exposures up to 255 seconds!
- High resolution color video output for monitoring
- Instant NTSC/PAL switchable
- Free* upgraded image sensors every time you buy new media to record on (sensors starting at just $75!)
- "Insta-Change" Image sensors for native daylight, tungsten and with any native ISO speed! Even choose black and white native sensors!
- "Insta-Archival System" Master archival created for free! No additional hardrives or tape needed!
- "Perfect skin" technology ensures your talent has beautiful skin tones with out the plasticy digital look
- Weighs just 5lbs- With battery and media!
- "Insta-view" viewfinder, totally uncompressed 24-bit+ images with ZERO lag time, requires no additional power!
- "REAL-FILM-LOOK" technology makes your image look exactly like film, even replicates real film-grain!
- Available to buy right now for less than $15,000*- ready to shoot!

OK! Had enough specs already!? What camera is it you ask!?

Well its an Aaton A-minima, a super16mm film camera that was made a few years ago. But I guess you could apply most of those specs to any modern super 16mm camera.

Want to hear some specs of 35mm cameras!?

* Average used price

Whats in your fridge?

Just had to brag a bit! I scored 6 rolls of 16mm kodak snip-tested recans for $100... (1/5th of the price as buying the film "new") I'm not going to use them for a "real" job but I do have some fun personal projects planned for them. This marks the new "film-only" compartment in my fridge.

And more film stuff to come! Did I mention I sold the DSLR and bought a 35mm SLR from the 70's? Or that I sold my Red for a super16mm Aaton A-minima? Some think I went off the deep end...One thing is for sure, Things are going to get very interesting shortly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

How to load 5219 in a Red camera... (sorta)

Disclaimer: I am not very good at explaining things through typing. If you have a question about this or I lose you along the way, feel free to contact me for more info. This was just a quick demo and shouldn't be used as rock solid data.

I have been lusting over kodak's vision 3 (7219/5219) stocks for a while. I haven't be able to use them yet- Well, I never really get to shoot film anyways... but I do have a planned affair with 7219 in a few weeks at my own expense!- more on that later.

There is something so pretty about how film handles highlights, you have so much over-exposure room it is ridiculous when compared to digital image acquisitions. So you might ask yourself... how can I get my camera to respond to more like film and less like digital camera? As a Red camera owner, I have been trying to answer that question for about 5 months, sure you get the resolution and depth of field of 35-mm film, but the images that come out of the camera have been so clean and well... video like? (can I say that?) Its not really a bad thing and there are many circumstances where I can see that would be a preference, but for now, I am looking for the look and feel of film and I think I am getting closer.

First let me show some of Kodak's 5219 so we can get a feel for how a cutting edge fast film-stock responds to light (image and exposure data from kodak):

Here are exposure references to a few numbers on the picture:

8. +7 stops over exposure
7. +6 stops over exposure
6. +4 stops over exposure
5. +2 stops over exposure


2. -2.5 stops under

From this information, its a safe bet to say that kodak 5219/7219 has about -3 stops under to black and +7 stops over to white. (Im sure it has more range than that- just being safe!) Notice how much room for over-exposure there is, you can see plenty of detail outside- however the shadows go to black more quickly.

This is almost opposite for a Red camera:

With base settings (asa320) you get maybe 2 to 3 stops over exposure and... IMMEDIATELY clip to white(like most digital cameras). But something great about it is that the Red can see very deep into the shadows and still be relatively clean when compared to underexposed film. Because the asa on the Red means almost nothing at all (its all Raw data), you have the ability to "place" your exposure (18% grey) anywhere in the index you want.

Let me try to demonstrate this, and attempt to show how you can get more of a 5219 response from your camera:

First I am going to show you an image I took with a Red camera of my lovely wife:
(ASA320, 23.98fps, 180 shutter, face at T2, camera at T2- all base setting with Redspace gamma- no adjustments)

This is all from the same take, I just panned up to look out side more.
See all those highlight burn to white outside? Look at the roof (T11-16) It is completely clipped, even the driveway (T5.6) in the back ground is clipping. While this image is clean and sharp (and has a film like depth of field)- It looks nothing like film to me...

Back to what I said about asa and putting 18% grey where you want. What if I could utilize those many available stops in the shadows- for instance the 2.5 stops closest to the noise floor, and place them in the highlights instead?

Here is where it might get confusing:

So if I rated the camera at 2.5 stops faster- essentially underexposing the sensor by almost 2.5 stops (because its a native asa320 sensor), that means I would gained 2.5 stops in the highlights. So now all of a sudden my 2-3 stops over exposure latitude just turned into almost more than +5. So now, If I shoot that same scene with my wife but trade range in the shadow for range in the highlights- I just might be able to get a more film like response to the highlights in this high-contrast scene.

Here is the same scene as above but a moment later with the camera rated at 2.5 stops faster and the stop adjusted to match the readings on Marika's face (processed with Redlog and adjusted curve to match exposure):

How is that for a comparison of the above shots? I shot it just seconds later from the ones above. Look at the roof- yes there it actually a roof there now and you can see it! This is a huge improvement on a high-contrast scene by exposing this way.

I can hear you now, "I dont want to rate my camera for that fast- thats crazy!". Stop right there... forget about what the Red says asa is, it doesn't translate for this exercise.. its just how you meter the scene! I actually left the camera at asa320 both in camera and in redalert for post processing ; )

Here is the final product with the finishing touches of a boost of red (like 5219) and grain to compensate for grainy-er blacks and a little s-curve.

With motion tracked Stop overlays so you can see what the scene was reading at asa 320:

Pretending to shoot kodak 5219 (with T-stop overlays) from Hunter Richards on Vimeo.

Clean with no stop overlays:

Kodak 5219 look on Red (no T-stop overlays) from Hunter Richards on Vimeo.

Back to what I said, this is "trading" stops. Some bad things from this would be noisier shadows, personally in a high-contrast scene I will take noisier shadows for more headroom in the highlights.

I would probably do this for 1080p output, defiantly for 720p and maybe even more extreme underexposure for Standard definition. If your screening 4K or 2K, I would rate the camera at only a stop faster (asa640) to get some benefit of this but not have too much grain in your shadows.

Next time I will try rating the camera for 2 stops faster and try to find the perfect compromise between highlights and shadows.

And for the final sad news: If you really want the film-look, you have to shoot film! ; )

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SEKA- promo film for non-profit in Rwanda (Teaser finished!)

This was my first time working as a "documentary" filmmaker. It was quite the experience shooting this in Rwanda. I had a wonderful time.

This is actually just a teaser for the full-length piece about Africa Mission Alliance and what they are doing in Rwanda. The final product will be about 15 minutes in runtime and be interview driven. Seeing this little cut makes me want to just focus on this kind of work. Income vs. Goodworks... is there a happy medium?


SEKA- The Africa Mission Alliance Partnership Film (TEASER) from Hunter Richards on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Its not the camera its how you use it.

After my recent return from shooting a promo for a non-profit in Rwanda- I had a left over dvx100. It wasnt my first camera choice for Africa, but it was the right tool for the job. But honestly- I couldn't wait to start working with professional cameras and formats again. I received a phone call from a friend of mine who wanted me to shoot a little teaser film for church about a week after I got home. My RED camera was out on rental with another friend- So I agreed to shoot it with the dvx100 I had used in Rwanda. Long story short. We spend a day of planning the shoot and about 8 hours shooting with a minuscule budget and no lights.

Its amazing what you can do when you stop worrying about formats or what camera your using and just focus on cinematography. I was even surprised at the result. You can see the film below. All captured on a dvx100.

GO WEST - Series Promo (HD VERSION) from Hunter Richards on Vimeo.

This isn't the best work I have ever done but I wanted to give you an example of what can be done with the tools you already have (you may even have a better camera than the dvx100!) Its not about getting that next better camera, its about learning the craft and doing the best you can with the tools you have.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Winning Favor-Feature film Wrapped!

It keeps getting better all of the time! What a wonderful week it was- I spent 2 days of this week on rollerblades weaving in and out of basketball players while filming with the Red- it should make for some interesting footage. Here are a few grabs from the footage of this week:

AND AN EXCLUSIVE CLIP! (scroll down to see it):

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Grabs from Winning Favor- First week of photography wrapped

WINNING FAVOR, indie feature film
DIRECTOR: Jamey Durham
DP: Hunter Richards

Starring Matt Ashford (Days of our Lives)
& Bonnie Johnson ( The Great Debators, Evan Almighty, Big Fish, Patch Adams)

(click to view a larger image)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The start of a cinematography quest

I enjoy visiting the Strobist blog (, what a great resource for still photographers on lighting with those little strobes. Its a shame that those little battery powered things don't pump out 24 frames a second or I would gladly trade any light kit for them! I really wish there was a blog like that for cinematographers... ; )

The more I learn about cinematography, The more I appreciate a single frame and studying the quality of light and composition with in it. I'm not a master of cinematography by any means, but I believe that learning how to master just a single frame of an image sequence, will lead to a successful mastery of a sequence of images. I want to grow as a cinematographer, and I hope to use this blog as a tool for others to grow as well.

And so begins... The cinematography quest: LIGHTplusMOTION