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Michael Collier

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Everything posted by Michael Collier

  1. In the future you should have a section of your contract, be it work-for-hire or any other arangement, where you grant only a limited copyright to them for 30 days. once the invoice is paid it should have provisions for a permanent transfer of rights to them, but should the invoice not be paid, copyright remains your domain. If you don't have that agreement in place, you can't easily prevent them from using the work. If it were in place it would be a simple matter of calling the station, and sending them a cease and desist order, which would really light a fire under the butts of the people who owe you.. ...hindsight is 20/20. I started using this clause in my work-for-hire agreements after I got burned once.
  2. Your going to have a few issues to deal with Matt, and don't think I am piling on, because if you check my posts I am doing virtually the same thing. I also don't think Keith was out to antagonize you, just point out flaws in a sharp way....in my experience that's what engineers do best. I doubt he was trying to insult you. But here's my (hopefully) constructive criticism with your design so far. First 555 wont do the trick. They stay somewhat stable, but not nearly enough. By your own calculations 36 frames off per mag, and that's under ideal circumstances. As temperature changes, so too will the clock cycle. Though it will stay relatively stable at that new rate, you'd have to trim the timing every time temperature changed. I am not sure why you have such an aversion to crystals. A crystal can cost as little as a dollar, and you can use, as was mentioned, microcontrollers to bring the clock rate down to what you need. Programing a chip to do that would be very simple indeed, and with your programing background it should be easy to either learn the asm language of the chip you plan to use, or to use a C compiler. The problem you will have with steppers is the control. Yes you can add a gear to make the camera advance one frame every step. But conservation of energy tells you that won't be free. If you have a 1.8deg stepper, you need 200 times the torque required to inch the camera to drive it (plus efficiency loss due to the mechanical gearing down). If you have a 7.5deg stepper, you still need 48 times the torque. Finding a stepper with the required power might prove difficult, depending on the action of the camera in question. The next problem is the intermittent start stop cycle of those motors. Every time it advances, all the gears will slap against each other, and when it stops, the play will allow them to hit the other side of the teeth, making 48 distinct pops per second. The volume would be determined by the amount of play, the speed of the motor, and the effort it takes to move one frame. It would be far from silent, and might negate the positives of being somewhat near sync speed, regardless of how silent the motor sounds stand alone on a work bench. .......(tangent I just thought of, given the speed a stepper moves at between steps, wouldn't it be a danger to the film itself? if the stepper moves in milliseconds, the acceleration of the film stock might be too much for it to manage, resulting in the pull down pin breaking or tearing perfs? just a thought) If you move forward, and find a way to resolve the above problems, you should look into upping the frequency to 48hz, and gear the motor to only advance 1/2 frame. If it advanced an entire frame within the time it takes to turn the motor one step, you might find the exposure time is inconsistent and quite short. If you have a signal to open the shutter and another to close and advance, the exposure portion would be more stable. Even better would be to up the frequency 4.8khz and drive a 1.8deg stepper at 24 revs/sec (with a 1:1 drive gearing to the camera's movement) That way there is constant pressure on the gears But I think the best bet would be to use a DC motor with feedback. Its complicated, but its doable. It will also ease wear and tear on gears that were designed for consumer use. They are likely teflon and weak. strong start/stop cycles could reduce the life of your camera. Look into microcontrollers. If you need help getting started I can help, like I said my design works on microcontrollers alone, so I have some experience programming them. You might even be a better programmer than I. You might find a programmer for 12 bucks (like I did), get the company to send you free samples of microcontrollers, which have on board crystal drivers, and get the development environment for free. Net cost, 13 bucks, including the crystal. My project uses everything that people are trying to push on you, and trust me its not the simplest way to go, but the most effective, and not necessarily the most expensive. But crystals, microcontrollers, PLL circuits, and PID control are all very effective techniques to drive a DC motor in perfect phase. BTW, you or someone else mentioned not being able to find a cheap method of determining camera speed. I had extra room on my chip to program in a test tachometer, that now resides on my proto-board. It flashes an LED at a constant speed, and I can look at the disc with the light blockers to see if its in sync or not. If it is, a dot appears to stay rock solid. If not it will drift around the disc one way or another, from which I can determine the exact speed, or reprogram the chip to set a different tach speed. Its ugly, a bit convoluted, but I didn't have to spend anything to determine the stability of my hardware and software. Its helped me solve a bunch of problems anyway.
  3. I can't imagine a telecine could be done in BW by accident. Like was said before, check other tapes. If you don't have one, visit your local TV station, they should have some old tapes hanging around with something playable on them. They would likely give these away for free, especially if you impress on them you just need it for testing. I would check the SVideo cable, since those separate Luminance and chroma. If one or both chroma tracks has a damaged wire, all you would get is black and white. 1800 is a pretty old deck, and it could be bad, even if the seller was reputable. On the heads there are very fine copper wires attached to a small board on top. If any one of those breaks, every other field will be black and white, giving a desaturated, pulsating look. If two of them breaks, its back to black and white again. There are also several areas within the 1800 that could conceivably make your image BW, and none are truly 'user fixable' so they wouldn't be covered in just the trouble shooting manual. You would need an shop repair manual to make sure all the pots are correctly trimmed. get another tape, get another cable.
  4. Yes, same the original motor and the tiny board that holds the feedback circuits (the LED and receiver that sandwiches the disc with 10 holes) will remain the original. The tiny board that holds the LEDs that display sync warning, film warning and battery warning will be original. Every other board will be new, including power conditioning board.
  5. Just a heads up.... As a side project/personal project I am building all new electronics for the CP-16. The board (finally) is working properly, crystal sync at any speed, and I am getting it ready for production for anyone who would want to upgrade their CP with modern electronics. Since this is still in the prototype phase, I wanted to solicit CP users for any features they would like to see in the unit. So far I have the following design goals, most of which are proven working in the prototype: 2-64fps crystal sync in 1fps incriments, along with 29.97 and perhaps 23.976 (yes 64, whitehouse has assured me the camera can do it safely, it just needs to be driven to that speed by the electronics) 128fps for limited run times (working with whitehouse to figure out just how long is safe, if at all. Its theoretical at this point) LCD that reads: Fps, runtime (mm:ss), footage counter (with selectable load selection in 5ft incriments, so the film light still works with short ends) Battery meter that is always displayed in LCD, rather than the analog one that only reads when the button is depressed.) EXT control interface, so an aftermarket intervelometer or fps ramp control can interface with the control board. When finished there will be no old electronics parts driving the camera, so reliability should be improved. As I found out when the board fries on your CP, the only option usually is to replace it with an OEM one from the 70's for $600, with the same inherent problems. This will be built with modern microcontroller technology, and it will be rock solid (no red-like build 57s, though it will be reprogrammable should some new requirement be necessary. I am hoping to have these babies ready for sale by the end of the year, unless I get a swarm of shoots last minute. Upgrades will likely be done at whitehouse, its not likely to be something someone can install on their own (not if I am going to provide a warranty that is) so, is there anything I am missing here, anything you would want in the board that addresses a specific need you have? Seems this can be relatively simple, but before I go into final testing and lock the hardware/software, I'd like any feedback (even if its on mundane details...color of the paint, etc) Or just yell if this interests you....or if you think its dumb and a waste of time (oh another shout, these might be available as an aftermarket upgrade to any other crystal sync motor. it takes very little to re-purpose it for a different camera. So if you have a camera in mind, let me know and I will look into it.)
  6. don't forget you don't have to just dolly the light. In some circumstances it might be quicker/safer if you were to put a shinny board on the dolly and reflect the light of a stationary unit. you save one crew person from having to pull cable, and lightens the actual moving weight.
  7. Good on ya Richard. First movie gets distribution and makes money, now it seems you get a bigger budget and a talented DOP. Looks like you got it made in the shade. Hopefully the dog scenes go well, I learned a very stressful lesson a few months back why they say never work with children, hopefully the dog won't reinforce the latter part of that saying. Your not producing this as well are you? Sounds like your dance card is full. And yes BTS pics would be awesome.
  8. I just saw "hunger" shot in two perf, and it looked decent. I had a few issues with the way it was shot, but never saw bleed through (even during the ARDUOUS scene with the big blown out windows on the top of the screen.) It did appear to be just slightly softer than I would have liked to have seen, but this could have been for any number of reasons. The best I could find on the lenses were Zeiss, but no model. So they might be older lenses, or lenses that were slightly out, or maybe the DI was cheap and softened the image a bit. Maybe they used diffusion (though I didn't really feel diffusion, it just felt soft). Any number of things could have affected the sharpness of the picture. Done properly I think it could be a decently sharp format. Grain wasn't an issue on that film for me (v2 250D mostly from what I read) so I feel the softness was lens or DI related. I would love to see another film to see if that was just a choice that particular production made. Definitely let us know what that film is when you can Mitch, I am sure a big feature won't have to resort to older softer lenses and I might get a better taste of Technoscope.
  9. I have a beautiful angie 6mm lens with a CP mount. Don't know where to find new ones, this one came with when I bought it. How much are you looking to spend?
  10. Magic Hour in Alaska this time of year is around 6 or 7 hours. But to me magic hour is the usable portion of time, when the sun gets low enough in the sky that the extra atmosphere knocks down the contrast, and the sun becomes softer, even without a cloud diffusing it. That lasts (to me) until the sky looses its color and just goes to a low blue color. During that whole period its easy to light to maintain continuity, even in wide shots. Just before that and just after it, as David mentions, you can get closer coverage with a bit more set up. I think the fun thing about that period during the day, is the light changes so quickly you have to anticipate and plan to get the coverage you need so you can finish your day without too much compromise.
  11. I don't know that hydrogen would impart its color onto the explosion for very long. Only very little is used in a fusion bomb, and a disproportionate amount of fire is created. What I have always thought was true was the heat from the explosion causes the atmosphere itself to catch fire, so the color would be a mix of oxygen and nitrogen burning, whatever color that would impart. I have always assumed orange/red, because when stopped down enough in those test explosions, thats the color they read on film. But the initial flash is too bright, like david says, for it to even matter. Perhaps you have the room to be impressionistic with the color of light....how many of your audience have actually really seen a nuclear explosion? The most effective nuclear hits I have seen on screen is always a brilliant white light that comes on quickly, then slowly fades as the color shifts more red, and then the light travels up (usually causing the window light to move down) as the mushroom cloud moves up. I would think you can get this with something like a 100k flagged off, then at the point of impact, drop the flag, slowly dim down the light, and start a chaser sequence on gelled par cans. Seems like the initial hit would be hard, and then as the mushroom cloud starts to raise and grow, it could get softer, perhaps by adding more par cans per row on the chasers. if not chasers are out, then you can consider something like a crankovator (though that might raise to slow) or put your light on some kind of counter weighted rope system. But in addition to that you have unlimited options for what the lights in the building do. They could just flicker. They could go out all together to be replaced with a 'no light' look, the emergency lights could come on in brilliant colors. You have a lot of options, and a lot of ways to have some fun there.
  12. Well you are in the film industry..... I was going to hold that back until I saw you endorse the Genesis. The only thing good on that was sonic and kid chameleon. There's a reason they went under as a console maker. In my eyes the NES was the only true system until the 64.
  13. I worked on a project years ago where we waited I think 2 months before getting it to the lab. I kept it refrigerated until the producers could afford to get it to the lab. What I found during that process though is that working with the lab helps. If your going to telecine through that lab and you don't have a whole lot of footage, you might be able to work it so they will process and hold the film in their vault until you can afford to pay your tab. That would be much much better than simply leaving it undeveloped.
  14. Well your sort of in a pickle. Flats work, but if your talking about the screw in kind often they fog more than without. If you can get a matte box for your camera and use square filters you'll be better off, because the air between flat and lens isn't trapped. Just make sure your donut fits properly. I am sure you've already done this, but when in run and gun mode near a lake, I will bring some ND with me to make sure I keep my aperture low. Then you'll at least defocus anything that is on the lens, and a quick wipe with a cloth will be enough. If its full sun outside and your at an f11 or f16 with the sun back lighting your subjects, you will see every microbe and speck of dust on the lens. If its at a 2.8 you will have much more leeway in what is acceptable/non visible. But this of course is the non-ideal run and gun situation.
  15. I have seen David in recent days harping on this point. I think its an excellent point. Usually I just avoid posts that don't have enough detail to sink teeth into. I have shot a bathroom like this many times and never the same way twice. Sometimes I go soft overhead, sometimes sidelit, sometimes using practicles, sometimes a hard overhead with little up fill. You don't light by figuring out where your lights can physically fit, and then try and make that dramatic. You have to visualize in your head what you want. Whats the feeling? What is the actor going to be doing? Your light must support the mood, story and character all at the same time. Distant second to that is actually getting your lights bright enough. Maybe you don't need a key. Maybe a hard slash on the wall behind him defines his sillouette with just a soft, lowkey sidelight for closeups. I could throw out blind guesses all day long. Sometimes I think these sparse posts are from people who are new to lighting and don't really know what they want. Maybe they are stuck with lighters block and are trolling for suggestions so they can find their direction. I don't really know. Seems like you will never get a good answer to your question if you don't have at lease some kind of vision for how it will look, and articulate that, the question posed being not what, but how. Then small tips from us can help, but when asked for advice with a blank slate? Its hard to fill in when we don't know anything about the mood. btw, I think I coined a new phrase. 'lighters block'. I like it.
  16. I was forced to sign up just to view a poster for a movie I shot. The production company just wouldn't email it, and said, its on facebook, just sign up and you can see it. Two days later I had friend requests from at least 4 people I hadn't seen or heard from in years. Not terribly useful, but its not worthless. Accidental communication is always a good thing, when planned conversations can't/doesn't happen. Now when my governor signed up for twitter (two days after I found out what twitter was) I knew it wasn't for me. But at least now I can keep a constant state of awareness about her feelings visa vis the swine flu we don't have(she's still against it)
  17. well your first problem will be what the ratio is on the jib in question. If its a short jib with a 1:2 weight ratio, then your carrying maybe 60lbs of lead to ballance it. If the jib has a 12:1 then your looking at something like 360lbs. Without even considering the weight of the jib. How big do you need, because thats going to determine what ratio jibs are available to you.
  18. You can find the parts of the room that are offscreen, tape griff, ultrabounce, or even silk to the roof and bounce small units on the floor near the camera. That would build a general ambiance. From there super small units can be hidden sometimes in art direction. Even as small as a 12v 50w par bulb wired to a battery. Those can be used to edge things out, or create hot spots. Fabric keeps the light source very low profile. if drooping is a problem, then you can use bead board or showcards.
  19. Read Kris Mankewitz's 'Cinematography'. That was the book where I had the ahha moment where I finally understood why. I could try and explain it fully, but I really need the diagrams in the book, and I am not about to scan those and rip them off (not with one of the co-authors on the board anyway). Basically, without getting too much into the details, out of focus areas are a projection of the shape of the iris. If you see iris' bokeh that looks perfectly circular, the lens is likely wide open. If not, you can probably count the blades in the iris. If you imagined a point of light out of focus, keep in mind the projection idea, and as you iris up or down, that point of light gets bigger or smaller in relation to the size of the hole (bigger as you iris up, smaller as you go down). Now if each of those points of light were a point of detail, as you iris up you get more overlap and it seems more out of focus. Iris down and you see the overlap decrease, and focus seems sharper (even though hyperfocal and distance to point hasn't changed.) Make those circles smaller than the circle of confusion of your given format, and (presumably) that is now in focus, since the circle is smaller than the resolution of the format, or more correctly, smaller than the 'acceptable' sharpness limit of the format. Buy the book and study the diagrams to see why the iris projects itself onto the emulsion. Take some time with it. I think I studied and thought about it for 2 days before I got it, but at that time I was 15, so you might get it a little quicker.
  20. Kodak 5201111000110101000110110011110001111110001010110101011110001................... ......
  21. LEDs come up to full brightness in about 5ms. so at least enough for 200fps.
  22. Watch the behind the scenes to Russian Ark. They did a oner 90 minute film. Not terribly exciting, but they did well on it. If I remember right they had the camera free and a guy with a backpack with computers recording the feed wirelessly. It can be done. They guy was a big guy, but he said somewhere around one hour he started to get very fatigued. Tilman B├╝ttner was the steadicam op. Probably why Jason brought him up, I'd imagine.
  23. You could try building an LED IR light near the camera lens to see if you can get the typical 'cat eyes' where the retina reflect the IR and show up as a light dot. That to me would sell night vision mode better than any post effect, but you would have to test it. I think you would have to use IR LEDs just because they won't put out much light that will register on the skin tones, but would be very visible on the retina. Something to try anyway.
  24. Your bound to make mistakes no matter what you buy. You don't know how your going to work after the first short. You'll like some things about your kit, some things you won't, some you wish worked differently, etc. Every setup is different, every Key Grip is different, every Gaffer is different, every DP is different. There is a lot of crossover in what one crew of people prefer compared to another, but if you have never really worked then how would you know? How do we know what to recommend? I would say the best that you can do, given your limited budget, is to spend 1/10th of it right off the bat. Buy some totas, buy some bead board (basically the white foam insulation they sell in 4x8 sheets at home depot, break it down to 4x4 squares) buy a pack of color correction gels (don't bother with party gels just yet) maybe a cardolini and a gobo head. A couple c-stands if your feeling crazy, but that is way more than 300 bucks to get to that point, so maybe slow down. finish your first short film and review the process. look at equipment that might make your job easier. Don't spend the other 9/10ths just yet. maybe just spend another 300 bucks. make another short. Spend another 300. Make another short. Spend 500, etc. As you grow as a film maker, so will your understanding of how your style and talents affect what gear you would use (as well as resources. No sense dropping money into a 20x frame if you don't have the grips to fly it, or the knowledge to know what rag you need and why) We can't answer questions you haven't thought up yet, so the best thing is to start making movies and find those problems that we all experience every day and figure out how your going to solve them. No matter how complete of a list we give you, you won't get it all for 3000 and you will likely find 10 more things you wish you could afford for your next short. Start small and expand. I guess its akin to saying: don't buy a full woodworking shop yet. Buy a hammer, a saw and a miter box and build a few projects before going out and buying a planer and a dovetale jig. It takes years of woodworking before you would know what to do with the new Yankee workshop, film making is no different. don't kid yourself into thinking your going to be the next savant right out of the gate. The camera should be decent to start with. You might want to upgrade later, but it should get you through a year or two of experimenting. An FCP will edit just fine for years to come, so it might be a good investment. Just as an aside: I don't see a tripod on your list....take care of that. Its essential. Not for all shots, but you can't fake not having a decent tripod. 50 bucks at walmart doesn't cut it.
  25. We had a sony engineer doing a demo in Anchorage, Alaska about a month ago, and he said there were only 35 of them in the world. Being so new I doubt there are any completed films yet. Maybe some on sets right now though. On a positive note I took the time to get familiar and with an engineer there to guide me, I can tell you its an AWSOME camera. A little big, but the image is there. I framed up shots with deep shadow and sun hit snow and it was able to hold the detail. Very neat camera. But yes, it is identical to the f23. It has a s35 sized CCD (not CMOS) chip. The best part about the demo was there were a lot of red cameras on hand. So while everyone else flocked to the Reds, I had the F35 and the engineer all to myself. I took advantage of that opportunity I can tell you.
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