Author Archive

WATCH: F-Stop, Shutter Speed & ISO Explained!

March 27, 2012 Leave a comment

When it comes to cinematography, there are a few concepts that are essential for every producer and director to understand.  These relate to the handful of camera settings that can be used to completely change the look and tone of each shot.

You’ve probably heard some of these terms before — things like the F stop, shutter speed and ISO.  But do you really know what they mean, and how changing them affects a shot?

If not, then you should check out this video from our friends at Revision 3.  Spend 5 minutes watching it, and you’ll finally be able to understand what the DP is talking about!

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Is Barry Diller’s video startup about to get sued into oblivion?

March 27, 2012 1 comment

A few weeks ago we told you about a new video startup called Aereo that is doing something pretty amazing.  They have created a new kind of antenna — about the size of a dime — that can receive receive local over-the-air HD broadcasts. But the coolest part is this:  they are deploying thousands of these tiny antennas in New York City, which residents can rent for $12 per month for each antenna. The customer then gets an app which they can use to stream live local channels from the antenna onto their computer or mobile device. The service is initially based just in New York City but — if they can get it going — it will be rolled out to other cities as well.  It’s a dream for anyone who wants to cut the cord and ditch their cable company for good.

There is just one problem though, which you can probably guess.  The broadcasters don’t like it, and they have now slapped Aereo with a lawsuit to try and stop them.  But Aereo isn’t backing down, especially since the company is backed by the notoriously combative Barry Diller, who has now counter-sued the broadcasters.  And he seems to have a pretty good case.

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Dark days for Variety magazine

March 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Variety, the magazine that has covered Hollywood for more than a century, is being put up for sale by its parent company Reed Elsevier.  And to add insult to injury, this is the second time it’s been put on the block in the last four years, following an attempt to sell it in 2008 that was scuttled because of the down market.

RBI seems intent on escaping from Hollywood entirely, as they recently sold Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News as well.

It has been a tough ride for RBI, and for Variety, over the last few years.  Variety’s average weekday circulation was 26,472 as of early 2009, the last time the publication was audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations before Variety withdrew its ABC membership. That was down more than 20% compared to 2001, according to the ABC.

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Is this the future of digital distribution?

March 22, 2012 1 comment

Parks & Recreation star Aziz Ansari has announced that he’ll be offering his comedy special directly to fans via download and streaming for just $5.

Sound familiar?  If so, that’s because another comedian, Louis C.K., did this a few months ago with his special — netting himself over $1M in the process.  Then Jim Gaffigan followed suit by offering Mr. Universe on his website for the same price.

So is this the future of digital distribution for live events? It’s hard to see why not.  By bypassing the networks, these artists are pocketing all of the proceeds themselves and — if Louis C.K. is any indicator — are doing quite well.

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WATCH: Amazing VFX breakdowns that will blow your mind

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

You may not be aware of this, but there’s a cool new trend among leading visual effects houses around the world, who are starting to post “breakdowns” of their scenes online.

For the uninitiated, a VFX breakdown is a way to show how scenes are composited together to create some truly remarkable effects.  For the first time, viewers can see how complex VFX shots are created, including the underlying video footage and the motion graphics that are laid on top. Some of this stuff is truly mind bending.

Take for example this video, which shows how the VFX masters behind Game of Thrones do their thing:

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Outsourcing your next PA

March 5, 2012 2 comments

There’s a new generation of apps coming out that may change the way you hire your next production assistant.

The first is called Taskrabbit, where you can post tasks and errands like picking up a package, doing a handyman project or even getting some computer help.  Then “task rabbits” in your city make offers, and the one who makes the lowest bid is automatically assigned to run your Task.  The service is currently available in 9 large U.S. cities like New York, LA and San Francisco, and they’re launching in more cities soon.

Another service that has just launched is called Exec, and it seems to be positioning itself as a more upscale, executive assistant kind of service.  It’s similar in concept to Taskrabbit, but it’s still in beta and only available in San Francisco.

As these and other services develop, it’s easy to see how they could be used for PA work.  For example, when you’re not in production but could still use a PA for something, then just “order one up” on demand using a service like Taskrabbit or Exec.

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WATCH: Live streaming coverage of the upcoming “PaleyFest” conference

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Are you going to the “PaleyFest” conference next month in Beverly Hills?  Have you even heard of it?

If not, it’s a 2-week long festival hosted by the prestigious Paley Center in LA each year.  The conference is mostly about TV, and is focused particularly on production and the people behind it.

If you can’t make it to the actual events in LA — or don’t want to shell out for a conference pass! — then here’e a top tip for you:

You can watch 9 of the 13 panels live online, for free, at

Read more in the Hollywood Reporter.

WATCH: How to turn your iPhone into a pro audio recorder

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

If you ever do any field recording, you know there are generally two options:  bring a full audio setup including some mics and a recorder, or go more guerrilla and use a portable video recorder.  I use both options, depending on the situation.  But for a while now, I’ve wished that someone would come up with a way to turn my iPhone into an audio recorder.  We recently heard of just such a thing, and it’s called the iSeries mic from Mic W.  Basically it’s a half-decent pro mic that plugs into the mini jack on your iPhone, then you use the app to record your audio.  Seems kind of cool, but in most production setups I encounter, we usually need more than 1 mic going — and I just can’t figure out how you can use more than one of these mics at a time.  Anyway, still worth checking out in this video from our friends at the Twit Network (go to about the 51 minute mark)…and let us know what you think.  Would you ever use this kind of iPhone audio recorder?

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WATCH: CEO’s of Scenios and Lightspeed give live demos of their cloud production platforms

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Last week the Producers Guild hosted a private event in New York City, all about the emerging world of cloud-based production.  If you weren’t invited, don’t fret – Production 2.0 has all the details, plus exclusive video of the three featured speakers.

The event was hosted by Sony at their amazing Wonder Technology Lab, where members of the guild were invited to learn about the latest cloud-based production technologies, and to see them live in action.  First on stage was Jeff Wurtz, the 5-time EMMY winning producer and director of Inside the Actors Studio.  He recently transformed the way he produces his show, moving to an entirely tapeless HD workflow.  The most important change that the show made though, according to Wurtz, was moving its production management into the cloud using Scenios.  He then introduced Scenios CEO Mark Davis, who gave a 30 minute live demo of the technology, which you can see in the video below.  Davis actually made some pretty big announcements during his speech, including an array of new features on the Scenios platform: live video conferencing, instant messaging, text messaging, and even a way to read Final Draft Scripts right in your web browser.

Next up was Jim Fitzgerald, CEO of another cloud-based production platform called Lightspeed.  This company is a relatively recent market entrant, but their technology offers a unique take on pulling all the elements of production together into one place.  Fitzgerald demo’d how the platform worked, and showed how it can be used to handle things like scheduling and call sheets.

Crews Control sponsored a cocktail hour afterwards, where there seemed to be a real buzz in the air about producing in the cloud.  Watch the video below and let us know your thoughts…are you using any tools in the cloud?  How’s it working for you?

Major streaming video news in New York City

February 15, 2012 3 comments

For years now, we’ve been able to watch streaming video on sites like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.  That’s just fine for movies, TV shows and little videos of Charlie biting my finger. But what if you want to get live TV on your computer screen — you know, local affiliates like NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox?  Well good luck, because it simply ain’t possible.

Until now, that is.  A company called Aereo has just announced a new service that will finally bring live streaming channels onto your computer or mobile device.

The company has created a new kind of HDTV antenna that is tiny — about the size of a dime — that can capture free over-the-air local TV broadcasts.  It has built a facility at an undisclosed location in New York City, which has thousands of these tiny little antennas.  The antennas are hooked up to giant internet pipes that stream the stations live onto the web.  Aereo rents you one of their antennas for $12 per month, and provides an app that you use to watch the live programming on your computer or mobile device.

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