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Jim Keller

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Everything posted by Jim Keller

  1. Just in case this thread scared anyone, my warranty registration arrived today.
  2. Right. It's November. In my previous post, August=September and September=October. I should know better than to post early in the morning. :)
  3. I recently broke my own rule about not taking advantage of "mail-in rebate" offers (which only once in my life have resulted in a check arriving), and bought an HPX300 at the end of August. I filled out the online registration in early September, and despite the note that came with the camera that I would have warranty registration information about a week later, I've still seen nothing. The Panasonic website doesn't seem to include a way to inquire, and a copy of the registration information is required for them to process the mail-in rebate, which must be received by them with 60 days of the date of purchase. Anyone else having this problem? Anyone know the procedure for requesting them to either hurry up and process the warranty registration or send duplicate information if it was simply lost the first time? Thanks!
  4. Alas, CinéWave doesn't seem to do it, either. I'm beginning to suspect it's a lost cause.
  5. I'm running Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 on a 2.5 GHz Quad G5 with 10 GB of RAM running OS 10.5.8. I'm capturing via firewire in HDV format off of a JVC GR-HD1. I've done this before, successfully, many times, and did not change any system settings, either on the computer or in Final Cut Studio (though I have run periodic system updates as they become available). QuickTime Pro is installed and current (version 7.6.4). When I launch my "Log and Capture" window, the camera is recognized as a deck. I can still control it. I see timecode. I can still log clips. However, the video is not showing up in the Log and Capture window, only on the camera LCD screen. When I attempt to capture a logged clip, it launches the preview window and says "CUEING SOURCE MATERIAL" and happily cues the deck to several seconds before the logged point, begins playing, and keeps saying "CUEING SOURCE MATERIAL" long after the in point for the clip. Ultimately, I have to escape and cancel, as it will keep "cueing" until the tape literally runs out. When I attempt to capture "Now," the preview window opens, the beach ball spins for about 30 seconds, and then Final Cut Pro crashes. My clip settings are correct, with both audio and video selected. I have double-checked my device control settings. They have not been changed since I was successfully capturing (HDV firewire control, HDV 720p30 format). I am running in English, which is the default language on my OS. (The only report of something similar I could find on Apple's support pages were from someone attempting to run FCP 6 in a language that was not installed in his OS.) iMovie captures just fine (albeit, with all the inherent iMovie limitations). I have deleted my preferences. I'm frankly stumped. Any ideas?
  6. Max, it was a great idea, but, alas, no, it has the same problem QuickTime has. It's really a tragedy that Pinnacle was acquired by Avid. I have very little hope of anyone there even realizing the Targa 2000 Pro is their product, much less knowing if any of their hardware or software can support the old files...
  7. I only once contacted an actor who I was turning down for a role, and it was because she truly was wonderful and I wanted to ask her about what other sorts of roles she would be interested in. (I subsequently wrote a role for her.) In general, if you contact a professional actor telling them they didn't get the role, you're likely to confuse them. If a professional actor gets a call regarding a role, they're going to expect that it means they're getting a callback at least. Now, working with amateurs in an entirely different ball game, especially if the actors are friends of yours. If you do decide you need to tell them you're not casting them, I'd suggest a simple "Thank you for auditioning. While I don't have a role that's right for you in this project, I do hope to see you again in the future." If an actor is a personal friend and asks for more information, never, ever criticize their acting. Instead, focus on things they can't change. "She just looks more like the kid we cast as her son" is something no actor can argue with. "We decided the character really needed to be older" is in the same category. If you've gone with someone who is genuinely the exact same type as your friend, make it about personality. "She got along so well with the rest of the cast and the crew, they couldn't imagine working with anyone else." Obviously, I try to avoid getting myself in this situation whenever possible, and the real pros don't ask.
  8. I've recently unearthed a stack of CD (sic) backups of a project I was working on in 1998 and 1999, for which we used a Mac Quadra with a Targa 2000 board. I understand the Targa 2000 system used hardware encoding as part of its codec, making the source files unreadable without the card installed in the computer. Of course, the hardware is long gone. But I'd love to be able to crack open these files and take a look at them again. We did roll to tape, but digitizing off of that involves renting a deck and putting up with a generation loss on top of what was already a lossy codec. I'm wondering if anyone is aware of a way to use old Targa 2000 .mov files without the Targa 2000 board. Real-time isn't necessary, as I'd be perfectly content to be able to simply convert the files over to a modern codec. Thanks in advance!
  9. Decided to see how the iSold It folks could do with my last, beloved (but never-got-the-chance-to-use) Arri. Arriflex 16S Complete Production Kit + Accessories Good luck!
  10. And, to extend beyond the actual D.P., Catherine E. Coulson (Twin Peaks) was an A.C. when David Lynch had the crazy idea of having her carry a log around...
  11. It does pay to inquire before just dropping off your film, though. The largest Super 8 lab in L.A. has a strict "no porn" policy, and I know people who've had footage that you could show on television rejected by it (and footage returned processed, but not printed or transferred, with no refund offered). But that lab is the exception, not the norm.
  12. John C. Flinn III was in two episodes of Babylon 5.
  13. The firewire (1394) connection on the HVX200 is notoriously buggy. After the firewire connection on our second camera gave up, we wound up buying a P2 card reader and now transfer the files that way. It's worth the money, both in terms of stability and ease of use. As for the camera not recognizing cards at all any more, are you using a larger P2 card than you normally use? Some of the older HVX200s have firmware that can't recognize larger cards.
  14. You can also have Microsoft Word publish your document as both as HTML and a .PDF for printing. But you'll get both a better website and a better brochure if you use the right tool for each instead.
  15. You can teach yourself a remarkable amount. One technique is simply setting up a video camera, and watching the monitor as you play with various approaches to whatever you're attempting to create. If building a model, don't worry about what it looks like in person, worry about what it looks like on camera. Then, when it looks right, note how it looks right and wrong to you in person. If working on a way to create a physical effect, try different approaches until one looks right on camera, even if it looks dippy in person. Etc. Also, make sure to take advantage of every opportunity you can get to see the actual sets, props, effects models, costumes, etc. for films and television programs you've seen (and if you haven't seen it and there's an exhibition in town, go out of your way to watch it right before and then again right after seeing the exhibition). But, ultimately, yes, you're probably going to have to take a job working with someone experienced in effects.
  16. How young do the children need to be? If teens, I strongly suggest going the "18 to look younger" route. If pre-pubescent, rather than shooting day-for-night, I'd be inclined to build a forest set on a soundstage.
  17. Unfortunately, the answer is "all of it." Think "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" without the traditional narrative footage, only the "blog" footage. The main reason I'm hesitant to go with an actual webcam isn't the quality of the optics (though I always prefer to start with better quality and filter it to look cheap rather than being stuck with the lousy quality), it's that everyone involved in the project is Mac-based, and Apple still hasn't figured out that people might want to record video at more than 640x480 resolution...
  18. For a project I'm currently doing specs on for a client, we're looking for an HD camera (preferably 720p) that will give us that extremely short-lens effect of a web cam, which we can build into part of our set. (Yes, it's safe to read that as "disposable.") The image quality doesn't need to be great for our purposes, but most of the consumer cameras out there can't get wide enough. (Of course, using diopter is an option, but I like to keep it simple.) Something tapeless would be ideal (including an actual web cam), but we can also handle an HDV workflow. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks in advance!
  19. I'd suggest shooting a test with the lights heavily gelled and color corrected back. A reddish light, for example, might bring up the skin tone of the African American while bringing down the tone of the Caucasian. But this very much depends on the specific skin tones involved, so I can't point you to a specific formula.
  20. I'd sincerely recommend encouraging him (as I'd do myself if he wanted to join this forum to hear from us directly) to attend a college or a university with an excellent film program in addition to many other excellent majors. (I came out of USC myself, but I can grudgingly admit that there are some other acceptable programs around. :) ) A school that is located in a market where he's likely to get work (Los Angeles or New York for feature films and television, or most any major city for non-broadcast video) but in and after college is best. When selecting a school, try to meet with some of the professors and find out how much of an insight the students get into the nuts and bolts of making a living in this industry. Many, many programs out there portray themselves as a shortcut to a high-paying career, and that's simply not the case. Your son will not graduate and find a six-picture deal from Paramount waiting, but in a good program he should graduate with the ability to find and accept a job in some department or another and begin the task of working his way up. Once the school is selected, I'd encourage him to take as many classes outside the film school as will fit into his schedule. This will not only make him a better director by virtue of having a well-rounded education in a breadth of subjects, but also help him identify other interests he may later wish to pursue in case he ultimately decides the professional filmmaker lifestyle isn't for him and he'd rather do it as a hobbyist while earning a living in a more stable profession.
  21. You know, now that you mention it, during a dry spell Lakehurst Naval Air Station might pass, with some careful framing. It's close enough to the Pine Barrens to give you the option of popping over to some of the various sand pits as well.
  22. Of course, the other approach you could take is to set everything in the bombed-out parts of Afghanistan, in which case most of Jersey City could pass... :P
  23. That's an interesting question. Personally, I find a documentary that is too well shot to be a little suspicious. If a documentarian is scrupulous, there's only one chance to get the footage -- and that's as it actually happens, in real time. Seeing the camera whip violently to the side as the operator trips over the dog lends verisimilitude to the documentary. Seeing noise as they've jacked the gain through the roof to cope with the dark environment does the same. However, I *do* expect the operator to get the camera in focus, and set the aperture so that the subject is visible, etc. That's just professional competence, and if the documentary looks like it was shot by someone who had never picked up a camera before, I'm suspicious in the other direction -- because if they're not professional enough to know how to use their gear to make the best of a real-world situation, do I trust them to be professional enough to represent the facts responsibly in their finished product? So, I guess my answer is, I expect the footage to look competent, but not polished. I am curious what others think, though...
  24. Personally, I'd go with a slightly lower image quality to get it to start playing faster, though having the option to select the smaller file size as you've done does cover that if you're not comfortable sacrificing on the picture (and I can certainly understand that -- I just find that if it doesn't start playing within 15 seconds, I surf elsewhere unless I'm on the site for a very specific purpose as so many websites I visit never load). Incidentally, you'll want to proofread the text around the link to the smaller version. I'd also suggest trying to shave about 10-15% out of the reel. Each shot you include should be showing a different aspect of what you can do, and in preserving the story arc of some of your footage, I think you're including stuff that is redundant from a photographic point of view. Also, your night work is beautiful, so I'd recommend trying to get that earlier in the reel, as precious few people watch reels the whole way through. All that said, you've done a good job editing it all together to have a real sense of narrative, which is essential in a reel, so if any of these suggestions muck with that, then don't do them. I also think you've done a great job in including on the website the one thing that everyone who is looking to hire someone needs: the information about why to hire you and not somebody else. In this case it's the equipment list. Looking at your website I know that I'm not only getting a DP, I'm getting a rental package as well. However, you may be limiting yourself to video work right now. You may also want to include a list of other (film) cameras with which you've got a professional relationship, especially if you've got an in with a rental house and can get them for the producer below rate-card prices. Nice work overall!
  25. There's certainly nothing wrong with the videography. It's functional. They got the events that occurred in the can in a manner that allows the audience to see and hear what's going on, and that's all you can ask of a documentarian. However, the direction and editing is truly outstanding.
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