Muse Storytelling: Ninja Filmmaking – Commentary with my own hardware & software recommendations

https://www.ninjafilmmaking.com/minicourse

The current state of the world has posed challenges for all of us. As filmmakers, our challenges have been extra unique. Budgets are reduced, crews need to be smaller, and we are generally expected to work with less resources. That’s why we created the free Ninja Filmmaking mini-course: to show you how to create big results by outthinking your challenges. We’ll break down exactly how to plan out your story and be a far more proactive, stealth and intentional filmmaker.

Commentary

The Muse Storytelling folks have launched a free online short course under the title Ninja Filmmaking that is aimed at helping moviemakers cope and survive if not thrive in this pandemic-affected world.

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The camera that accidentally changed everything. Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM kit zoom lens. Image courtesy of Canon.

If things were difficult enough for independent self-funded documentary moviemakers before the arrival of COVID-19, they are even more challenging now with personal income and resources radically reduced and yet even more need for us to produce compelling visual storytelling to production standards that are constantly growing higher and higher.

Luckily, we are in the post-DSLR filmmaking revolution era, the now well-established mirrorless hybrid era with high quality, affordable cameras that can record excellent stills as well as video footage to current UHD broadcast and cinema projection standards.

Moviemaking remains, however, a predominantly white, middle-class occupation except in places where those of us locked out of the system have banded together in cooperatives with the support of donors and mentors to equip and teach ourselves to tell our own stories.

The last such organization located in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Paddington shut its doors several years ago after charging high fees for equipment rental and training during its later years.

Any free or affordable training by well-qualified moviemakers is welcome and I am for grateful Muse Storytelling’s ‘Ninja Filmmaking’ online course and advice on what for current production standards by one-person bands.

Moviemaking remains costly here

As Drew Turney of Filmism.net shared in a recent newsletter:

We all know moviemaking is an inherently expensive exercise. Even the amount of money we’d consider low (or no) budget filmmaking would be enough to get the average middle class family out of debt for the rest of their lives.

Drew bounces between Perth in Western Australia and Los Angeles, and is doubtless aware that moviemaking is an even more costly exercise in Australia than it is in the USA, with our exchange rates, lack of importer and retailer competition and local unavailability of many key items as well as non-representation of a number of useful, even essential, brands.

Nonetheless the equipment list shared by the Muse/Ninja folks is a good one based on the currently most affordable and versatile feature-quality Super 35 hybrid camera, the Fujifilm X-T4, supported by microphones from Australia’s own world-famous audio equipment maker, Røde Microphones, along with other currently popular lighting and grip products.

Production hardware recommended by Ninja Filmmaking

The list is a useful starting point though I would recommend considering alternatives from brands like 3 Legged Thing, Olympus, Panasonic, Rotolight and many others.

Some alternatives and extras to the above

The Muse Storytelling team’s Ninja Filmmaking gear list is a good one and in the best of all possible worlds would be affordable and findable at local retailers, had COVID-19 not arrived to disrupt supply chains and global air freight not to mention Australian and US postal reliability, or rather, the lack thereof.

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Approved by Netflix for top quality broadcasting production. Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H rigged with Zacuto moviemaking accessories. Image courtesy of Zacuto.

As underlined by the Ninja Filmmaking list’s reliance on Røde Microphone’s products for audio recording, Australian brands such as Atomos, Blackmagic Design and Miller Tripods are highly regarded in video production around the world for their affordability and durability under challenging conditions.

While Fujifilm’s X-T4 Super 35 hybrid camera is an impressive performer and the company’s Fujinon prime and zoom lenses are justly respected by cinematographers, there are other approaches to video production.

Panasonic has been making strides in its S-Series 35mm sensor hybrid cameras with the Netflix-approved Lumix S1H while the recently announced S5 looks like a respectable and affordable lower-specced alternative A or B camera.

Panasonic’s G-Series Micro Four Thirds hybrid cameras like the Lumix GH5, GH5S and even the G9 have impressive video capabilities, excellent IBIS and a documentary-style Super 16 4K look and feel, though many moviemakers regret the company’s reliance on DFD contrast-detection autofocus when autofocus rather than traditional manual focus-pulling is becoming increasingly important for one-person bands.

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Meike T2.2 Series 6x Cine lens Kit for MFT + Cine Lens Case, containing Meike cinema prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

While Westcott’s Flex Lights are impressively versatile in combination with the company’s Scrim Jim bounce and diffusion system, I have long relied on industry-leading Rotolight’s LED lights for stills and video.

Sachtler’s Flowtech tripods are reportedly fast and efficient to use on location by solo moviemakers while Miller’s solo user tripods are solid performers and prove great investments, lasting for many years in the trenches.

Independent stills and now video tripod maker 3 Legged Thing continues to expand its range with constant innovation in a field where innovation was sluggish for years.

Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro manual clutch focus cum fly-by-wire autofocus professional lenses are benchmarks of lens design in any sensor format whereas Meike’s expanding collections of affordable geared cinema lenses show real promise in independent production compared to the exorbitant prices usually charged for cinema primes.

The question is, then, what look and feel, what visual and operating style suits you, your personality and your personal circumstances best?

Hardware and software Ninja Filmmaking forgot

The Muse Storytelling folks have assembled a great core list of hardware recommendations but they left out some essential items of hardware and software for the “proactive, stealth and intentional filmmaker.”

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PolarPro Variable Neutral Density Filter, Peter McKinnon Edition., Combo Set comprising 2 to 5 stops and 6 to 9 stops filters.

To date no hybrid camera other than Fujifilm’s X100 series comes with built-in neutral density filters so one must invest in sets of fixed value neutral density filters or the variable neutral density filters that are most appropriate for one person run-and-gun moviemakers.

Quite a few documentary and video journalism cinematographers have matching variable NDs permanently attached to each lens in their kit to avoid exchanging filters on the spot.

Brands to look out for include Aurora-Aperture, Breakthrough Photography, Formatt-Hitech Firecrest, PolarPro, SLR Magic and many others.

If you are collecting filters with industry-standard diameters of 77mm or 82mm then you need step-up rings to attach them to lenses with smaller filter diameters.

Brands I use and recommend include Breakthrough Photography, Heliopan, PolarPro and Sensei, but I lean towards hardened aluminium or better yet brass, and look for knurled step-up rings for ease of use, and fast removal and attachment in the field.

Lastly, whatever camera you are using, you cannot go wrong with Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT Pro system for creating perfect colorimetry and colours indistinguishable from what your eye sees.

Expose your footage using Mr Leeming’s recommended ETTR aka expose to the right method, demonstrated on the Leeming LUT Pro web page, and your footage will be eminently gradable to feature film standards in editing and grading software like Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve.

Other Links

  • 3 Legged Thing – “The most technologically advanced tripod system in the world.”
  • Apple – Final Cut Pro X
  • Blackmagic DesignDaVinci Resolve – “DaVinci Resolve 16 is the world’s only solution that combines professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects and audio post production all in one software tool!”
  • Fujifilm-X Global
  • Leeming LUT Pro – “Leeming LUT Pro™ is the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table (LUT) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading. The Pro II LUTs are designed for perfect Rec709 colorimetry and have a linear luma curve, with an average measured dE(2000) of less than 1, meaning they are visually indistinguishable from reality to the human eye.”
  • Muse StorytellingNinja Filmmaking
  • OlympusM.Zuiko Pro – “With no compromises made, M.Zuiko PRO lenses are amazing in every aspect.”
  • Panasonic Lumix Global
  • Peak Design – “Our products must be innovative, beautifully crafted, and quite literally the best in their category. “
  • Røde Microphones
  • Rotolight – “From the very first LEDs to offer the shoot what you see benefits of continuous lighting and High Speed Sync flash all-in-one, to the brightest 2×1 soft light ever made, Rotolight LEDs streamline the workflows of imagemakers across the world.”
  • Sachtler Flowtech 75 MS

PauL Leeming’s Leeming LUT Pro Now Released for Fujifilm F-Log, LUTs for Eterna Cinema, Pro Neg Std and HLG for Rec709 Coming Soon

Cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro and Visceral Psyche. Photograph made by Karin Gottschalk with Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R then processed in Alien Skin Exposure X4 using Summer Blockbuster cinematic preset.

Australian feature film cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has released the first camera profile correction look-up table in his Leeming LUT Pro set for Fujifilm X-Trans sensor-equipped cameras, for Fujifilm’s F-Log logarithmic shooting profile, with Eterna Cinema, Pro Neg Std and HLG for Rec709 LUTs to come. 

This is a significant and long-awaited event given that Fujifilm has finally delivered on its longtime promise to radically improve its cameras’ video capabilities with the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-H1, with the coming X-H2 hopefully improving on the X-T3 as a moviemaking hybrid mirrorless camera in Super 35 format. 

Super 35 has long been the feature film format of choice for narrative and documentary production, and the arrival of improved video capabilities on Fujifilm’s X-T2 cameras was a relief after the disappointment of the X-Pro2’s video support. 

Leeming LUT Pro for F-Log on Fujifilm cameras with X-Trans sensors

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Still frame from sample footage of Leeming LUT Pro for Fujifilm F-Log in use with video from Fujifilm X-T3.

Even the recently announced X-Pro3 appears to have 4K Super 35 video features that may prove good enough in a pinch when more video-oriented cameras are unavailable.

The Leeming LUT Pro expose and correction methodology is based on exposing to the right aka ETTR followed by correction via camera-specific look-up-table files in one’s nonlinear editing suite or colour grading software of choice.

The ETTR method’s most vocal proponent was the late Michael Reichmann who was in favour for its use in photography and videography, and although he and many other photographers constantly lobbied camera makers for auto-ETTR in their Live View-capable cameras, to no effect so far.

Why camera makers continue to ignore the necessity of optimal exposure is anyone’s guess.

For that reason I am grateful that Paul Leeming has applied himself to solving the problem of correct exposure followed by correcting colour via Leeming LUT Pro, with the added benefit of making footage shot on a variety of affordable cameras usable in the same timeline without excessive shot matching work.

The ideal, maximum possible dynamic range and realistic colours, using Leeming LUT Pro and Expose-To-The-Right (ETTR)

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Footage with Leeming LUT Pro applied in nonlinear editing suite.

Uncorrected camera maker luma and colorimetry

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“Uncorrected manufacturer luma curve and colorimetry. Notice how the X shape is all distorted and not straight, and how it artificially lifts the mids to make them much brighter (a favourite trick of the manufacturers to make their images appear brighter than the sensor is recording them).”

Luma curve and colorimetry levels corrected with Leeming LUT Pro

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“Corrected luma curve. Notice how straight the X shape is. As an aside, you can also see the fixed colorimetry levels.”

In the light of camera makers’ tendency to fudge their camera’s video output as illustrated above, exposing to the right appears to make footage appear darker than one may be accustomed to, but Mr Leeming has made available other, secondary, LUTs to quickly and easily raise footage low values, as explained below.

As usual, the LUT will “darken” the footage, which really just means it will make the curve perfectly LINEAR. Examine the attached image using your waveform scope in your favourite editing software, and you’ll see what that means, with the exposure steps forming a perfect “X” shape in linear fashion. This is of course ETTR, so if you under-expose your image, it will look darker.

The LUT(s) don’t make the image darker. The LUT(s) correct the manufacturer luma curves to be linear. In most (but not all) cases, this results in the image “appearing” to be darker, but it’s not affecting anything, nor clipping anything, nor adding additional noise that wasn’t in the shot to begin with.

Don’t forget, you also have the Apollo Pro Quickies to use after the corrective LUT in case you want to brighten the image without clipping the highlights or adding any more shot noise. But when you can, please ETTR and save yourself the problems (and give yourself the cleanest possible log image to begin with).

If your shot after LUT application has its highlights not reaching 100% IRE, then you underexposed it. Use the zebras as per the guide to see where the clipping point is. Expose just shy of that and you’ll maximise sensor dynamic range and minimise shot noise.

If you HAVE underexposed or simply want a brighter image post-corrective LUT, try following it with one or more of my Apollo Pro Quickies, which are expressly designed to lift the shadows in a natural way without clipping the highlights.

Stills frames from feature film shot by Paul Leeming, ungraded then graded with Leeming LUT Pro

Settings for shooting video Fujifilm cameras for processing with Leeming LUT Pro

  • Pro Neg Std, Eterna Cinema, F-log or HLG
  • H265 recording format
  • DR100 for all profiles
  • Highlight tone 0
  • Shadow tone 0
  • Color 0
  • Sharpness -4
  • Noise Reduction -4
  • Zebra level 100%

Quick and dirty Leeming LUT Pro for Fujifilm F-Log tryout with Fujifilm X-H1 F-Log footage

I shoot documentary stills and video rather than make narrative feature movies, so often work alone under challenging conditions as in this example.

The Fujifilm X-H1 had a vintage Zeiss Jena Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 MC Auto prime lens attached to it via a Gobe M42-to-X-mount adapter with no neutral density filter, and I fudged on setting a custom white balance as I was more concerned with understanding the creative possibilities of this lens for video than in getting technicalities perfect.

An adapted 50mm lens on an APS-C/Super 35 camera equates to 75mm in the 35mm sensor format, which is one of my favourite focal lengths for documentary photography and video.

I have been throughly enjoying trying out this lens and its companion, a Panagor PMC 28mm f/2.8 wide-angle prime lens that Paul Leeming kindly gave us.

These sorts of vintage prime lenses are rare and overpriced here in Sydney, at least ever since camera stores like Foto Reisel with their secondhand gear cabinets closed down.

Fujifilm Super 35/APS-C hybrid cameras capable of shooting 4K and Cinema 4K F-Log video as well as in other picture profiles: X-T3, X-H1 and X-Pro3

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at Adorama, Alien Skin, B&H Photo Video, SkylumSmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Unititled’.

  • Fujifilm XF and GFX CamerasB&H
  • FUJIFILM X-Pro3 Mirrorless Digital Camera B&H
  • Fujifilm XF LensesB&H

Paul Leeming Releases Leeming LUT Pro for Panasonic, Sony and Other Cameras, Now Working on LUTs and Settings for Fujifilm Cameras

Cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro and Visceral Psyche. Photograph made by Karin Gottschalk with Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R then processed in Alien Skin Exposure X4 using Summer Blockbuster cinematic preset.

Leeming LUT Pro has been released for a range of popular mirrorless, drone and action cameras, so Paul Leeming is working on his Leeming LUT Pro Fujifilm combo pack.

Mr Leeming has just purchased a Fujifilm X-T3 Super 35/APS-C hybrid camera in order to dig deep into Fujifilm cameras’ video settings and capabilities.

Cameras currently supported by Leeming LUT Pro include those made by Blackmagic Design, DJI, GoPro, Panasonic and Sony, with a list of which camera models are included now available at the Leeming LUT Pro web page.

The use of LUTs aka look-up tables for camera-matching profiles, dynamic range curve correction and creative looks is supported by a number modern nonlinear editing and colour grading applications including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Cyberlink PowerDirector, DaVince Resolve and Resolve Studio, Grass Valley Edius, HitFilm, Magix Vegas and a number of third-party colour grading plug-ins.

Several external recorders and monitor/recorders connected via SDI or HDMI are also supported by Leeming LUT Pro including those made by Atomos, BlackMagic Design, Convergent Design and Video Devices.

The news that Leeming LUT Pro will soon be supporting Fujifilm cameras is particularly welcome given that the Fujifilm X-T3 and X-T30 are proving to be excellent and affordable Super 35 video production cameras whether used standalone or connected via HDMI to external monitor/recorders.

Using Leeming LUT Pro

There appears to be persistent and widespread confusion about how best to expose video with no end of theories flying about and pundits purporting to know which theory is currently the best or the trendiest.

Mr Leeming has throughly researched the technical aspects and limitations of a range of current and recent hybrid camera sensors and has delved deep into each manufacturer’s colour science in this longtime RED camera owner’s quest to derive the best and most photorealistic colour from every camera.

I have watched him test cameras at the Unititled studio and have noted the thoroughness with which he does it, well-qualifying him to issue PDF manuals on how to best set-up each camera, how to best expose and how best to use LUTs in NLEs and colour grading software.

Correct exposure is achieved via exposing-to-the-right aka ETTR, a principle originally promoted by the late Michael Reichmann of The Luminous Landscape aka LuLa for digital stills photography but equally applicable to digital video.

The aim of ETTR is to adjust “the exposure of an image as high as possible at base ISO (without causing unwanted saturation) to collect the maximum amount of light and thus get the optimum performance out of the digital image sensor” according to Wikipedia’s entry on the technique.

I am currently awaiting before and after samples and other supporting images for current Leeming LUT Pro combo packs and when received will be publishing articles on each and how they work, so please come back to Unititled soon!

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

The Joy of Documentary Photography

Documentary photography is, in my opinion, one of the noblest, most socially useful and most personally rewarding pursuits one can engage in with camera in hand.

Photograph by David Turn from ‘Wales 1970s’ published by Café Royal Books.

It is regrettable that fashion and the death of magazines that relied upon documentary photography and its subgenre photojournalism have conspired to assign the genre into the waste bin of history only to be revived and celebrates by the likes of Café Royal Books, but that should not put off contemporary would-be documentary photographers.

Documentary photography at its best frames a mirror before the events, people and places of its time and is even more important in an age where entertainment is preferred to information, fantasy is preferred to fact and religion is preferred to science.

Against this background, documentary photography is an act of resistance born of seeing the world and all within it with supreme clarity.

Even if documentary photography’s current lack of fashionability and respectability, sees the genre absent from galleries, away from museums, off the television and out of print, I encourage all who may be so inclined to take on its mantle and practise it each and every day, where you live, where you work and in the streets of your city, town and country.

Do so especially if you are one of those whom the gatekeepers reject, whose experiences and views of the world are traditionally denied and ignored.

Do so especially when the gatekeepers may appear to accept your right to exist and be a documentary photographer but dictate rules and regulations at you that are designed to keep you, your vision and your work under control, compliant and conforming.

Do so because your right to to be you, to see as you do, to depict as you do and to tell your stories in your own way is unassailable no matter what lies you are told and what power games and punishments are enacted against you.

Above all, documentary photography is fun, demanding as it does a deep and constant engagement with this world and all that is in it to the point where it is possible to enter a flow state, also known as being in the zone.

Documentary photography is, in my experience, the surest way to achieve flow state that I know, a gateway into sheer joy.

Ways and means of production

The hardware and software of digital photography have come a long way since it began replacing analog film-based photography to the point where most cameras, lenses and processing software will do the job well enough now.

While most of the wide range of the analog era’s cameras, lenses and types of films, processing and printing materials no longer exist, contemporary digital cameras offer analogies of some of those upon which documentary photographers once relied:

  • Rangefinder cameras in 120 rollfilm and 35mm formats.
  • Single lens reflexes aka SLR.
  • Twin lens reflexes aka TLR.
  • View cameras in field camera and studio versions.

The mirrorless cameras of the analog era and now the digital age offer the advantage of silent operation and the lack of mirror slap and shutter shake, especially when shooting in electronic shutter mode.

Without the ongoing punitive financial burden of film, processing, proofing, printing and archival storage, digital photography is more affordable than analog so consider future-proofing and capability-expanding yourself through wise investment.

Hybrid digital mirrorless cameras open up the world of documentary moviemaking in ways that never existed for analog just with a little extra expenditure on video production accessories.

With DSLR giants Canon and Nikon finally seeing the light and slowly coming up with viable soon-to-be-released mirrorless alternatives, and mirrorless pioneers Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic already well established with a wide range of mirrorless cameras and lenses at several price points, there has never been a better range of choices in equipment.

Hybrid mirrorless cameras open up the world of documentary moviemaking in ways that never existed during the analog era and, with a little extra expenditure on video accessories, allow you to create professional-quality productions.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

I will add to this section soon, so please come back again if it is useful.

Rangefinder and Rangefinder-Style Cameras

Fujifilm
  • Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 Metal Hand Grip for X-Pro2B&H
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital CameraB&H
  • Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 23mm f/2 Lens (Graphite)B&H
  • Match Technical EP-XP2 Thumbs Up Grip for Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Black)B&H

Leeming LUT Pro Coming Soon to Level the Hybrid Camera Video Playing Field with Radically Improved Colour Accuracy for Easy Colour Matching

While we have been stunned and amazed by Australian company Blackmagic Design’s coming revolutionary Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K, a a quiet revolution in hybrid camera video post-production has been brewing. 

Australian cinematographer/director of photography/director/writer Paul Leeming of Visceral Psyche Films has been radically overhauling his Leeming LUT suite of camera profile colour matching 3D LUTs whilst grading Kodokushi, the very first full-length feature film to be shot on the affordable, award-winning Panasonic Lumix GH5S high-end compact video camera. 

paul_leeming_panasonic_lumix_gh5s_zoom_h4n_rig_01_1024px_60pc
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S plus 8Sinn GH5/GH5S cage-based rig used by Paul Leeming to shoot ‘Kodokushi’, the first full-length feature film to be shot with the GH5S.
During his first visit to ‘Untitled’ Paul Leeming tested several cameras for possible Leeming LUT One custom 3D LUTs.

As we learned earlier this year when Mr Leeming dropped by our home studio after wrapping production on the Kodokushi shoot in Osaka, the Leeming LUT camera profile testing and production process has evolved courtesy of now basing it on 3D LUT Creator combined with a new footage creation methodology.

We tested an early beta of Leeming LUT Pro, successor to Leeming LUT One, against earlier versions of Leeming LUT One and were suitably impressed.

Leeming LUT Pro has delivered on its predecessors’ promise of enabling easier, faster and more accurate correction of video footage from a range of hybrid cameras and camcorders affordable for self-funded, low-budget, independent documentary and narrative moviemakers.

Leeming LUT Pro makes that possible regardless of whether video acquisition is via Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, log, flat or regular picture profile footage, and with whichever brand camera so long as Mr Leeming has tested its footage for creation of his custom camera profile 3D LUTs.

Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Still frame from ‘Kodokushi’, the very first feature film to be shot with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera by Director of Photography Paul Leeming.
Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming with his Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 rig during his first visit to the ‘Untitled’ home studio..

Contemporary moviemakers often use a range of cameras on any given production, presenting a costly, time-consuming colour-matching headache during the postproduction process.

With Leeming LUT Pro, a timeline of footage from several different cameras can be colour-matched by dropping the relevant Leeming LUT Pro camera profile custom LUT onto each clip, evening their colour up for faster subsequent colour correction then colour grading for looks and emotion.

Consequently, footage from, say, a Canon EOS DSLR or Cinema EOS camcorder, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, GH5, GH5S, any of the Sony hybrid cameras, a JVC GY-LS300, GoPro or DJI X5 Series on the same timeline will no longer be screaming out their colour science differences and will play nice together.

Application of the ETTR – exposing to the right – principle as taught by Mr Leeming on his Leeming LUT Pro website aids in exposure-matching and enhances Leeming LUT Pro’s colour-matching benefits even more.

Colour-matching footage shot on a range of cameras over time is the bane of longterm documentary moviemaking and Leeming LUT Pro makes the process more accurate, easier and faster when using profiled cameras.

For example, my current documentary production gear kit includes the Fujifilm X-Pro2, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, and I may be adding a GH5 or GH5S along with a second Fujifilm camera to backup and extend my X-Pro2.

paul_leeming_panasonic_lumix_gh5_8sinn_cage_2250059_cameraraw_1024px_60pc
Paul Leeming’s Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 in 8Sinn cage with Scorpio handle.

That represents a range of picture profiles, film simulations, Rec. types and specific Rec. 709 profiles as well as HLG and V-Log without adding footage from very different cameras such as GoPro, DJI, Canon, Nikon, Blackmagic Design and more.

Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K gives self-funded indie moviemakers like me an eminently affordable 4K UHD and 1080p HD cinema camera option as well and Mr Leeming will no doubt be creating a custom Leeming LUT Pro 3D LUT for it when he can obtain a production-ready version of the camera.

Blackmagic Design’s Grant Petty once shared his vision for the rest of us who need to be storytellers in moving pictures but don’t come from traditional storytelling class and ethnic backgrounds:

“My big thing is, if you don’t have any money, it doesn’t mean to say your brain is turned off, or you’re stupid or you don’t have ambition. From my point of view, you want to move up, you want to do great things. If you want to do that, you should be able to buy products that let you do that. That’s how you get rid of class structure. I’m trying to remove it, and just let people be creative.”

With the coming release of Leeming LUT Pro, Paul Leeming is also assisting independent moviemakers in dismantling the moviemaking class system and more power to his arm, as the saying goes.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery GripB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone Adapter – B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H

fcp.co: If High School Kids Can Do It, So Can You… The Apple Short Film Project Workflow Pt. 1

http://www.fcp.co/final-cut-pro/articles/2052-if-high-school-kids-can-do-it-so-can-you-the-apple-short-film-project-workflow-part-1

“Sam here. I’ve been waiting to write this article for a very long time, and it signals the beginning of something… and that is the beginning of complexity finally getting out of the way of high end filmmaking and truly making it accessible to everyone. We’re talking turning high end filmmaking into a teachable, repeatable process….

… There is a new world of content that is emerging and the paradigm shift from an ivory tower post production mentality where everything is complicated and no one knows how to communicate with each other is shifting to a model where anyone can make something that looks amazing if they take the time to become good at their craft. All you need is the right workflow, some affordable tools, a basic understand of storytelling and filmmaking fundamentals, and a willingness to learn….”

red_raven_HK8Q2_AV1_1024px_60%
RED Raven camera with Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for Canon EF mount.

Commentary

I laboured under the ivory tower postproduction mentality mentioned in the quote above as well as the cap-in-hand production finance paradigm that has ruled documentary moviemaking for what seems like an eternity and I can think of no systems in the creative sphere that can be as punitive and as brutal to storytellers.

I have experienced the worst of the system with the lowest of low points being the time when then Australian Prime Minister John Howard personally demanded my human rights documentary movie project that was about to be commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Commission under its New Directors scheme be cancelled resulting in being blacklisted as a moviemaker.

I sincerely hope Australian expatriate Sam Mestman is correct about a coming major paradigm shift in the nature of independent documentary moviemaking, and I look forward to the rest of his four-part series of articles about the methods used by LA high school students and their advisers and assistants in the Apple Short Film Project.

Although the Apple Short Film Project was based around using RED Raven raw cinema cameras equipped with EF-mount Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lenses, I hope that the workflow used in these short documentary projects will be adaptable to using more affordable cameras such as Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 and GH5S hybrid Micro Four Thirds and media storage systems other than LumaForge’s reportedly excellent Jellyfish Tower.

I will post links to each article in the series as they appear.

Links

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Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art fast zoom lens for APS-C sensors and for adapting to M43 with Metabones SpeedBoosters, lens available in Canon EF or Nikon mounts. Also available in a geared cinema version.

Clicking on and purchasing through these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • iZotope RX 6 Standard Audio Restoration and Enhancement Software (Download)B&H
  • Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Camera T CINE Speed Booster XL 0.64x (Fifth Generation)B&H
  • Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Camera T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA 0.71x (Fifth Generation)B&H
  • Metabones T Speed Booster Ultra 0.71x Adapter for Canon Full-Frame EF-Mount Lens to Micro Four Thirds-Mount CameraB&H
  • Metabones T Speed Booster XL 0.64x Adapter for Full-Frame Canon EF-Mount Lens to Select Micro Four Thirds-Mount CamerasB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery GripB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone Adapter – B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • RED RavenB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens for CanonB&H
  • Sigma 18-35mm T2 High-Speed Zoom LensB&H

Lucas Pfaff: JTZ DP30 Cage and Shoulder-Kit | Filmmaker System REVIEW

“The JTZ DP30 Filmmaker System offers a great set of classic rig-parts in a high-end fashion. JTZ is the high-end brand from Fotga!…”

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The JTZ DP30 camera cage and shoulder- mount kit for mirrorless cameras like Panasonic’s Lumix GH5S, GH5 and GH4.

Commentary

Every so often I wonder whether I should look further into the idea of shoulder-mounting mirrorless hybrid video cameras in order to approach the way I once used the Super 8 and Super 16 movie cameras on which I learned cinematography.

Then I take a serious look into the prices and the carrying weight of contemporary shoulder mount systems and set that idea aside for another day.

Until I came across Lucas Pfaff’s series of videos on the JTZ DP30 system.

JTZ, Lucas Pfaff tells us, is the higher-end brand of Fotga, the Chinese camera accessories makers whose DP500 follow focus device is used by documentary moviemaker Sol March of Suggestion of Motion.

Neither Fotga nor JTZ appear to have their own websites or retail through B&H Photo Video, so the only recourse is to buy from Amazon or ebay.

Meanwhile I will be looking for videos and other reviews of the JTZ DP300 in action on location to see how it bears up in the field.

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Austrian manufacturer Angelbird makes more affordable V90 SDXC cards than Panasonic’s own alternative and they are reportedly just as reliable.

Clicking on these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Angelbird 64GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 256GB Match Pack for the Panasonic EVA1B&H – special promotional packaging of two Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC memory cards that are just as usable in other cameras than the AU-EVA1 that also have UHS-II SD card slots.
  • Panasonic 128GB UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery GripB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H

Lucas Pfaff: Return of the display loupe? VARY-i cage for GH5s Review

“Nifty, well fitting cage for the Panasonic GH4, GH5 and the new GH5s! A remarkable little set!…”

VARY-i Cage Combination for Panasonic Lumix GH4, GH5 and GH5S with multi angle LCD viewfinder loupe and two VARY-Grips.

Commentary

When I first got back into photography and video with the then revolutionary Canon EOS 5D Mark II, thanks to the advice of my partner who worked in Canon’s R&D division at the time, I looked at several LCD magnifying loupe options online and in Sydney’s inner city professional camera store, now sadly defunct.

None of the solutions available then completely solved the problem of needing to view the camera’s LCD in order to effectively focus and shoot video, and so I set aside the idea of handheld video for a while until a chance encounter with a Panasonic GH3 in a duty-free store, which led to purchasing the GH4 when it became available.

Despite not investing in one at the time, I always thought there might be more potential in the loupe concept if done right and that they could be more affordable than the incredibly expensive third-party electronic viewfinders and graticals that have appeared to take their place.

Lucas Pfaff’s video look at the VARY-i loupe plus case combination for Panasonic’s Lumix GH4, GH5 and GH5S make it look like a very attractive solution for handheld video with the GH5’s in-body image stabilization (IBIS) or the GH4 and GH5S with Panasonic lenses with optical image stabilization (OIS).

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Austrian manufacturer Angelbird makes more affordable V90 SDXC cards than Panasonic’s own alternative and they are reportedly just as reliable.

Clicking on these affiliate links helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Angelbird 64GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 256GB Match Pack for the Panasonic EVA1B&H – special promotional packaging of two Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC memory cards that are just as usable in other cameras than the AU-EVA1 that also have UHS-II SD card slots.
  • Panasonic 128GB UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery GripB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H

newmatilda.com: John Pilger On Why The Documentary Must Not Be Allowed To Die

https://newmatilda.com/2017/12/12/john-pilger-on-why-the-documentary-must-not-be-allowed-to-die/

“Breaking the silence and speaking truth to power is the job of the film-maker, writes John Pilger, something that’s perhaps needed more today than ever before….

… Whenever young documentary film-makers ask me how they can “make a difference”, I reply that it is really quite simple. They need to break the silence.”

Links