Monster Headphones: iSport

   

Hey guys, I recently completed a TV spot for Monster Headphones that’s been airing on ESPN and I wanted to share some of the behind-the-scenes of the process.

The concept was to showcase various features of Monster’s iSport line of headphones through athletes doing various training sessions like boxing, cross-fit, running, and etc. The production was a 3 day shoot shot in various locations in the bay area from San Francisco to Walnut Creek.

We used the RED Scarlet with a set Duclos-moded Zeiss ZE lenses and the amazing Canon CN-E30-105mm T2.8L telephoto cinema lens. The Canon zoom isn’t cheap, retailing at around $23k but it is definitely by far one of the best zoom lenses I’ve used not named Augenieux.

For the indoor scenes, we wanted to do a higher contrast lighting set up (we were inspired by Million Dollar Baby) and we achieved this with mostly our 1200W HMI Arrisun’s, 2k and 650w ARRI fresnels, and 4×4 Bank Kino-Flos for fill. For the exteriors, we shot in the late afternoon and simply relied on the beautiful natural light (and the occasional bounce card) to do the magic for us.

As for camera support, we kept fairly simply. We were on sticks for the majority of time except for the boxing and running scenes. We used our trusty Wooden Camera shoulder rig to shoot the boxing scene as we felt a handheld look complimented the impact of the punches better than locked off shots. We also used the CAME stabilizer arm and vest to fly our RED Scarlet. The CAME is an incredibly cheap Chinese clone of the Steadicam but it worked very well for us at the fraction of the cost.

SLR Magic Anamorphic Mount

   

A couple days ago, Andrew of SLR Magic was kind enough to let me play with their upcoming anamorphic adapter here in San Francisco and I have to say I was very impressed with the unit. I only got to play with the unit for a brief time and we were pretty much stuck inside a dark room so I didn’t get as much variety or cool shots as I would of liked. I also was didn’t have a tripod so I apologize for the shaky handheld shots. We matched the adapter up with an SLR Magic 35mm 1.4 CINE II. I also tried it on my SLR Magic 12mm 1.6 but unfortunately, it was too wide and it vignetted.

It took me about 10 minutes of playing around to get familiar with the unit’s built in diopter. It has a “Near” and “Normal” mode that you must adjust to get critical focus. I believe anything closer to 2-3 meters must be set to “Near” mode and anything beyond that has to be set to “Normal” to achieve infinity focus. I apologize again if some of the shots seem slightly “soft”, those shots came before I learned how to focus the adapter properly. The adapter can achieve tact sharpness at 2.8 and above. Anything below 2.8 and there is a significant loss in sharpness.

The flares look great as you can see from the examples. Andrew said they used a controlled method of coating instead of just stripping all of the coating away. The flares generated beautiful sunbursts and streaks. Enough talk, check out our video and judge for yourself!

Fluig Identity Project – BTS Info

   

Here’s a little BTS Blog on a corporate video I did a few months back. I added links to the BTS video and the final video as well.

Silicon Valley tech company TOTVS Labs recently asked Torres Studios to produce a corporate film for them. Take a look at this time-lapse video of us in action. Here you see my assistant Amy Ng and I set up for an interview with TOTVS executive director Vicente Goetten.

TOTVS Labs BTS Timelapse from Marlon Torres on Vimeo.

Our tools include a Sony FS700 camera for our A-Camera, a 5D Mark III for our B-Camera, and F&V K4000 and Z96 lights.

Sony FS700
Sony FS700 Super 35 Camcorder

We also used a Konova slider for B-Camera to make our secondary camera more dynamic. For sound, we used a Sennheiser G3 wireless-lav system and Rode NTG3 shotgun microphone.

Rode_NTG3_937540 (1)
Rode NTG3 Shotgun Microphone

The windows in the background were blowing out badly so I had to blast Vicente with two LED panels instead of the usual one to counter that problem. I used the F&V Z96 to add a slight backlight to the shot as well. Special thanks to my make-up artist Claudia Ponce did a great job keeping Vicente looking his best.

fvlighting k4000 led light panels
F&V K4000 Daylight & K4000s Bi-Color LED Video Light Panels

We also had to eliminate many of the overhead lights as the light temperature of the fluorescents above did not match our daylight balanced LEDs. This was a difficult balance as we couldn’t turn off all the overheads as the shot look too dramatic and we didn’t have the budget or resources to re-light the entire office.

Here’s the final video:

Slow Motion Video Booth with Sony FS700 + Metabones Speed Booster

   

Last night our friends at Zendesk asked us to do a photo booth for their “Ballrs” event. Not only did they ask us to do it in video but they also wanted it to be in super slow-mo! We’ve had plenty of experience in doing photo booths and slow-mo photography but never both at the same time! BUT we were confident that we could pull it off!

For the shoot, we decided to go with the Sony FS700 Super 35 Camcorderand shoot at a super slow 240fps (10x slower than normal speed!). We thought about going with the RED Epic but we figured 4 hours of slow-motion video would be too much of a hassle to data wrangle.

Zendesk also didn’t really need stills pulled so dealing with the 5K resolution would of been overkill for a video that was going straight to the web. Regardless, 1080p from the FS700 still looks great! I used the F&V K4000 LED Panels to light the booth and for glass I used the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L II with Metabones Speed Booster to give a Full Frame View.

To make the video even more fun, I asked my assistant Scott Mason to hand people props that would look great in slow-motion like bubbles, confetti, party-poppers, silly string, and much more. Our creative participants weren’t shy and it didn’t take long until they started using their own props.

When we hit post-production and editing, we just loved how well it edited to dubstep music. I’m convinced that dubstep and slow-mo is match made in heaven.

Overall, we had a blast shooting and editing the video booth. Everyone had a great time filming and we had a constant stream of participants. It also got really messy quick!

Sony FS700
Sony FS700 Super 35 Camcorder

Metabones Speedbooster Sony Adapter FUll Frame
Metabones SPeedbooster Full Frame Adapter

Typically you might experience flickering from LED lights, but the F&V K4000 LED panels performed very well despite this high speed setting. The lights operated for over 4 hours on just V-Mount batteries.
fvlighting k4000 led light panels
F&V K4000 Daylight & K4000s Bi-Color LED Video Light Panels

Shape DSLR Video Cage – Kirk Neff Edition

   

Here’s a quick look at the Shape Kirk Neff Edition DSLR Video Cage. The Cage is lightweight and simple yet robust enough to handle mounting many of your popular accessories.

The cage is ready to mount directly to a tripod and comes equipped with a set of 15mm Rails for your follow focus or matte box systems. You can find a variety of other Shape DSLR Video related products through B&H (found here)

969820
Shape DSLR Video Cage – Kirk Neff Edition

Flying Defy G2 Gimbal Stabilizer w/ BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera

   

After unboxing the new DEFY G2 Brushless Gimbal Stabilizer along with recently receiving the new BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, it was time to pair them up for a test drive. Here are the first results, which I know can be improved with additional practice.

First impressions:

I’ve heard that these brushless gimbals are a lot simpler to learn than traditional stabilizers like the Merlin or Glidecam but that is absolutely not true in the case of the Defy G2. Yes, balancing is simpler and doesn’t take more than a few minutes but I found getting a nice stable image to be just as hard if not harder than the Merlin or Glidecam.

The Defy G2 is simple to set up. It comes in a nice laser cut Pelican case, pre-assembled and ready to go. Just attach your handles, plug in your batteries, balance your camera and your up and flying in minutes.

The Defy G2 can look great once you figure out it’s kinks and limitations.

I found the Defy G2 worked best when I moved slowly and taking advantage of the flexibility of being able to do up and down movements that I couldn’t do with traditional stabilizers.

Oddly enough, I struggled with the G2 when doing very simple moves like simple following shots where I would get micro-vibrations with every few steps. I called customer service and showed them some test footage, wondering if it was a balancing or rigging issue. They said it wasn’t a balancing issue but the way I was operating it. They told me to hold the handles too tightly and to walk heel-to-toe. They even told me that it might be the shoes that I’m wearing.

So I did what they asked and began “cradling” my G2 instead of holding it, began walking heel-to-toe, and wore the most comfortable Nike’s I own. I did notice some improvements but it didn’t eliminate the vibrations.

I’ve had the G2 now for almost a week and my footage has been gradually improving but I don’t think any amount of practice will eliminate some of its limitations. I don’t think I’ll be able to able to run with it in a full sprint without any vibrations, I simply don’t think it was made for that type of camera work. I think it works best doing slow calculated movements.

I’ll continue to work on my handling and footwork and hopefully get the best out of my G2.

For information about the DEFY G2, check out my previous article: http://procinematools.com/unboxing-the-defy-g2-brushless-motor-camera-stabilizer/

defygimbal-case-1373317005
DEFY G2 / G5 Brushless Motor Camera Stabilizers

Canon-vs-GH3-vs-BlackMagic-Pocket-cinema-1
BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera
.

eBay Products – Brushless Gimbal Stabilizers

FeedWind

First Tests from the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera

   

Took the little Pocket Camera out for a spin to test it’s ProRes abilities.

So far i’m finding the camera can easily be cut along side with the larger more expensive systems. A small discreet system with this quality will surely receive plenty of use in my productions. The BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cameras have been shipping steadily and pre-orders can be found at B&H

Canon-vs-GH3-vs-BlackMagic-Pocket-cinema-1
BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera
.

Unboxing the DEFY G2 Brushless Motor Camera Stabilizer

   

Finally the DEFY G2 3-axis Camera Stabilizer has arrived. Unlike steadicams that require practice and skill and the talent to balance a camera using heavy counterweights, these new brushless motor stabilizers rely on a controller and motors to keep the camera’s horizon level at all times. Since the stabilizer does not require counterweights, the overall system remains lightweight and agile. Here’s a look at what comes with the kit.

Product Description:
The DEFY G2 features a full 3-axis control, two modes of operation: “Follow Me” and “Stabilize”, and integrated on/off switch. Purchase includes the gimbal, two LIPO batteries for approximately four hours of collective operation, LIPO battery charging station, and a crushproof/waterproof PELICAN case.


DEFY G2 Camera Stabilizer video

The DEFY G2 is comprised of lightweight, hexagonal carbon fiber tubes and high quality aluminum components. Uniquely incorporating a limited number of easy to adjust thumb screws into its design in place of hex bolts, users can field assemble and balance without tools in just minutes. Filming with the DEFY G2 is equally easy, allowing nearly anyone with little to no training to use. The DEFY G2 is scalable, meaning it can quickly adapt to various cameras and lenses during a shoot due to the ease of its field balancing.

A new larger G5 version has recently been announced and can support heavier DSLR Video Cameras. You can find additional information about the DEFY Camera Stabilizer by visiting their website at http://defygimbal.com/.

defygimbal-case-1373317005
DEFY G2 / G5 Brushless Motor Camera Stabilizers

Equipment Used for Project – 1190 Mission: Trinity Place

   
I get a lot questions about what type of equipment I use for a typical Torres Studios video production so I figured I’d right a little blog about the video I recently produced for 1190 Mission: Trinity Place.

1190 Mission: Trinity Place is an apartment complex that was recently completed on San Francisco’s Market St. Our client, Trinity Management, asked to us to produce a video that not only shows the beauty of the building and its individual units but also the surrounding neighborhood as well. That’s when we decided to do a “day in the life” video where we follow our actress Emily Claeys around various areas of the complex as well as cool restaurants and bars around the neighborhood.

We decided to use the BlackMagic Cinema Camera (BMCC) as our main camera and a hacked 5D Mark III with RAW capabilities as our B Camera. The reason I chose the BMCC as our main camera was strictly due to it’s portability and quick set up time. We had about a total of 2 days shooting for the entire video so speed and portability were very important to the production. I briefly entertained the notion of doing the commercial on my RED Scarlet but quickly decided against it due to the Scarlet’s more complicated nature. It’s simply much higher maintenance and simply wasn’t the right camera for the job.

855879
BlackMagic Cinema Camera

847545
Canon 5D Mark III

Since the internal 5DM3 codec was too soft to intercut with the BMCC, we decided to experiment with the new RAW hack from Magic Lantern. Many of our b-roll shots were shot on the 5DM3R, as well as all our Steadicam Merlin shots. The BMCC and 5DM3R cut amazingly together and gave us a very cinematic combination. The 5DM3R will give me a very nice and portable RAW solution until, of course, my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera arrives.

839957
Steadicam Merlin

For lenses, we primarily stuck with our zooms. I love my primes but again, when you have 2 days to shoot, zooms are the best option to get as many shots done as possible. Our go to lenses were the Canon 10-22 F/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105 f4L IS, Canon 16-35 f/2.8L II.

351542
Canon 10-22mm
397662
Canon 24-105mm F/4 IS
486708
Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L

Keeping with the cinematic style, we also used our very portable Varavon Motorroid Video Camera Slider system. It’s lightweight and only travels about 3 feet but we found it more than enough for our fast paced production schedule. It’s variable speed motor gave us a lot of flexibility on the speed and also gave us a nice consistent movement without any of the flaws of human hands pushing on a slider stage. We used it a lot in this video, probably too much, but it did give a lot of production value to many of our shots.

Here’s a fun BTS video showing parts of the production

All the exteriors in the video were shot with natural light so we had to strategically shoot those scenes after 4pm when the light was best. For the interiors, if natural light wasn’t available, we took advantage of our F&V K4000 Daylight Kit. We also used our Sunrise Mini-Jib fro ePhoto Inc. for our epic lobby shot. For monitoring we used our trusty SmallHD AC7 IPS for critical focus and framing.

fvlighting k4000 led light panels
F&V K4000 Daylight & K4000s Bi-Color LED Video Light Panels

Portable Mini Jib
Portable Telescoping Mini Aluminum Video Crane Jib

Well that’s it, hope you found this informative and I’m looking forward to doing more of these blogs in the future!

Panasonic GH2 inside of Fhugen GH3 Cage

   

To this day i’m still working on several paid projects with a hacked GH2 camera. The quality is outstanding, the post workflow is simple, and the size of the camera makes it easy to travel with. For this GH2 camera, it is ideal to find a small rig that compliments this.

This Fhugen Honu Cage is originally designed for the GH3, but here i’m using it with a Panasonic GH2. The GH2 mounts pretty well, minus a few quirks, but you will still have access to a majority of the cameras features. The only one area that is not easily accessible is the battery door. Considering how long each battery lasts, this was not a major drawback.

51jAgnheyeL
Fhugen Honu GH3 Video Cage – Amazon.com

MagFilter – Using Filters on Sony RX100

   

Many types of filters are still important when shooting photos or videos. A Polarizer can reduce glare while increasing saturation and contrast. For videos and ND Filter can help control shutter speed while allowing max aperture settings.

Compact cameras like the Sony RX100 can capture great images but lack the ability to use such filters, unless you use an adapter like this great MagFilter solution by Carry Speed. The MagFilter is designed to work with any Point-and-Shoot style compact camera that does not offer basic threaded filter mounts. You can find the MagFilter available on eBay (found here).

Carry Speed MagFilter ProCinemaTools
Carry Speed MagFilter for Compact Cameras – eBay

You can also find the MagFilter for sale along with customer reviews on Amazon (found here)

Carry Speed MagFilter ProCinemaTools
Carry Speed MagFilter for Compact Cameras – Amazon

Edelkrone Modula MONITOR / EVF HOLDER Review

   

Unlike traditional magic friction arms, the Edelkrone Monitor / EVF Holder does not eventually spin loose when making adjustments to your Monitor or Electronic View Finder. Like other Edelkrone products, this product is built like a tank. You can find this product at http://Edelkrone.com or through many of their eBay resellers (found here).

Edelkrone EVF Monitor
Edelkrone Monitor / EVF Holder

How to Achieve Dynamic Balance Laing Steadicam

   

The Laing stabilizer vest system has become a very popular aftermarket system used for heavier cameras such as the RED or Sony FS700. Youtube member Eric Teotico has put together a great video showing you the steps to achieve dynamic balance on the Laing Steadicam. You can find the Laing Stabilizer Vest Kit via eBay (Click Here).

Laing Vest Steadicam Sony FS100 RED Epic Scarlet FS700Laing Steadicam Vest Sony FS700Procinematools Steadicam Laing M-02 RED Scarlet
Laing Camera Support M-02 Stabilizer Vest Kit – via eBay

Portable Telescoping Aluminum Mini Video Jib / Mini Crane

   

Here’s a quick overview of a new affordable Portable Telescoping Mini Video Jib for DSLRs or or other small video cameras. This mini video crane is very lightweight and easy to setup. You may have to purchase additional weights if you plan to use it at full extension, but otherwise the product offers great value.

It is constructed mainly out of lightweight aluminum, comes with an bowl adapter, and a few counterweights. The Portable Mini video Jib / Crane can be found on both Amazon (here) and eBay (here).

Portable Mini Jib
Portable Telescoping Mini Aluminum Video Crane Jib

eBay Products – Portable Mini Jib Cranes

FeedWind

Canon 14mm T/3.1 CN-E L F Cinema Prime Lens Available

   

B&H just posted New Arrival availability for Canon’s latest addition to the CN-E Cinema Prime Lens Lineup. The new 14mm is an Ultra Wide-Angle for Full-Frame Format with a T3.1 Maximum Aperture and 11 Blade Iris. Canon’s Cinema Prime Lenses are now offered in 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm and can all be found via B&H starting around $4950 (click here to see all lenses).

844732913669Canon 14mm Cine Prime
Canon Prime Cinema CN-E Lenses 14mm, 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm

Magic Lantern Canon 5D Mark III – RAW vs Internal Codec

   

Here’s a few RAW vs Internal Codec examples of the Canon 5D Mark III using the Magic Lantern firmware. With the Magic Lantern firmware installed and configured, the 5D Mark III will capture RAW video as an image sequence similar to the BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera. The individual images will need to be assembled as a sequence.

With RAW video, you can see how the footage becomes much sharper, resolves more colors, and offers more dynamic range, but you can expect to capture around 7 minutes of video footage on a 64GB card. Here’s a full video montage of various scenes captured from the Canon 5D Mark III in RAW.

At this time, there are still slight issues with the firmware, so be careful when using it professionally. Even with fast 1000x Compact Flash Cards you may experience drop frames and artifacts. Banding can also be seen in certain gradients. The Magic Lantern firmware is still early in it’s release, but I have no doubts these small issues will be resolved and the Canon 5D Mark III will be the best RAW camera under $3K. If you plan on purchasing a Canon 5D Mark III you can support this site by using any of the links below to check for deals.

Canon 5D Mark III procinematools RAW Magic Lantern
Canon 5D Mark III (Body)
via B&H
Canon 5D Mark III procinematools RAW Magic Lantern
Canon 5D Mark III (Body)
via Amazon
Canon 5D Mark III procinematools RAW Magic Lantern
Canon 5D Mark III
via eBay

Compressed Codecs Now INCLUDED with Odyssey

   

Originally the Odyssey 7/7Q monitors required an additional firmware purchase to enable the recording function within the monitors. Based on customer feedback at NAB, Convergent Design has made some significant changes and now DNxHD and any future supported compressed codecs (up to 1080p60 422) will now be included at no additional cost in the base price of the Odyssey. There is no additional firmware option to purchase for DNxHD support. Simply insert a Convergent Design SSD into the monitor and you have activated recording features in both Odyssey7 and Odyssey7Q.

In addition, Odyssey7 will now be a gorgeous 7.7″ OLED monitor with compressed recording capabilities only. Any additional extra cost options and features will ONLY be available on the Odyssey7Q. This makes Odyssey7 a simple solution for DSLR and broadcast, and avoids confusion between it and it’s 7Q counterpart. Convergent Design is offering all extra cost options and features available to Odyssey7Q customers at a full-license rate, as well as a per-day rental fee, and is reflected as such in the pricing chart below. While the Odyssey7 and Odyssey7Q monitors and 2.5″ SSD media are available through our large Dealer Network, recording options are accessable via the Convergent Design website 24/7 – giving users ultimate flexibility along their journey.


Convergent Design Odyssey7Q Monitor & Recorder


Convergent Design Odyssey7 Monitor & Recorder