Visual FX

Sony’s full-frame camera

Sony shooters have long been asking for a full-frame version of their translucent mirror cameras and now it’s here in the form of the A99. The new flagship Alpha camera has a 24.3-megapixel full-frame sensor, which sounds very similar to the one found in the new RX1 super-advanced-compact. It also has the newest version of the BIONZ processing engine and a matching 100-25,600 native ISO range. It does crank up the maximum burst rate, though, to 6 fps at full-res or 10 fps in a lower-resolution tele-zoom mode.

The A99 has gotten a serious upgrade in the AF department, employing a 19-point main system as well as a 102-point focal plane phase detection AF sensor at the focal plane for dual-AF. It offers a few advanced AF features that pros will be keen on, too, like the ability to select the range of the AF, so it won’t focus on things that are too close or too far away. It even works continuously during video.

The finder is an XGA OLED Tru-Finder, which covers 100% of the frame. It even adjusts if you slap an APS-C specific lens on that doesn’t cover the whole sensor. On the traditional display side is a 1,229k-dot LCD with built-in white pixels to increase brightness and a hinge for swiveling.

The body itself has also gotten some updates, especially in the grip area. Despite its robust guts, Sony claims it’s actually the lightest full-frame interchangeable-lens camera around. The case is made from magnesium alloy and the whole thing is weather sealed to increase durability. The shutter is rated to 200,000 actuations.

Predictably, the A99 also has a serious suite of video capture functions aimed toward high-end DSLR cinematographers. it does 1080p footage at the common 24p for the cinematic look, but it also does the coveted 60p, which makes action sequences look wonderfully smooth. As previously mentioned, it has full-time AF with tracking. There’s even a silent multi-control dial on the front of the camera to adjust settings during a shot. It has a built-in headphone jack (which was once a luxury on HDSLRs) and an optional XLR adapter kit for attaching pro-grade microphones.

The body will be available in October for $2,800, which makes it cheaper than both the Nikon D800 and the Canon 5D Mark III.

In addition to the body, Sony has also announced a slew of accessories meant to be used with its new flagship camera.The VG-C99AM Vertical Grip ups the total battery capacity to three and adds vertical control buttons to the camera. It will cost a fairly hefty $380.

The new HVL-F60M flash has a built-in LED for illuminating video, as well as a traditional strobe head. It comes with a bounce adapter and color filters, as well as a price tag of $550.

Ultimately, it looks like Sony has a lot of faith in their new top dog and we can’t wait to see how it performs. We were big fans of the A77, so we go into the A99 with fairly high hopes. But, only the test bench can tell if it lives up to the spec sheet.


Here is the first video I shot with a RED Scarlet I just purchased.
I was driving around last Wednesday when I bumped into Nick Metropolis (The King Of Collectible furniture on 100 So. La Brea LA)

Nick shared with me some great stories about the store. I was very impressed with the character of his soul and the kindness of his heart. Nick is not just running a one of a kind business he also helps everybody he comes in contact with including some of the local homeless by offering them work and shelter.
I was very impressed by the collectibles in the store from movie memorabilia to real antique film lighting equipment.
Nick rents the facilities for music videos, films and TV shows.
Recently they were asked to create a sizzle reel for a new show featuring the great characters of the Store.

Video specs:

ISO 800
50mm Nikon lens @ F1.4 and f2.8
ND filter Coking P154
Kenko circular Polarizer filter
The footage was color graded on RedCine- x pro and edited in premiere using colorista II and neat video.
I recorded on a 64G Red SSD card using
Redcode 8:1

Magic Lantern Firmware

Magic Lantern introduction from Trammell Hudson on Vimeo.

Download Here :
Magic Lantern is an open platform for developing enhancements to the amazing Canon 5D Mark II and 550D/T2i digital SLRs. These cameras are “game changing” for independent film makers:
It allows the use of a wide range of lenses (anything that can be adapted to the EF mount).
The 5D’s 35mm full-frame sensor is larger than the RED ONE’s sensor, Super 35 film. It is approximately the size of VistaVision. This means shallower native depth-of-field than anything on the market, except for the Phantom 65.
The dynamic range and latitude are close to the capabilities of high-end HD cameras.
The low-light performance is currently unrivaled, even by the RED ONE.
But, the software in video mode has limitations, even after the recent 1.1.0 upgrade from Canon that fixed the most glaring manual exposure “bug”.
That’s where Magic Lantern comes in — it turns your 5D Mark II into a 5D Mark Free. We’ve written extensions and widgets that fix many of the annoyances in working with the 5D Mark II on a film or video set. Our first set of fixes are targeted at the audio limitations of the camera, but there are some video enhancements included, too:

On-screen audio meters
Manual gain control with no AGC
Zebra stripes (video peaking)
Custom Cropmarks for 16:9, 2.35:1, 4:3 and any other format
Control of focus and bracketing
Beyond those features, however, is the ability to write your own extensions or to commission new ones. Within some limitations, we can fix many of the Canon firmware problems and plan to write widgets to address the requirements of the film users of this amazing camera.

Lytro promises to reinvent consumer point-and-shoot cameras

Start here. Get to know the basics. from Lytro on Vimeo.

A Silicon Valley startup called Lytro promises to reinvent consumer point-and-shoot cameras with its new digital model. The Lytro “light field” camera looks like no other and lets you focus or re-focus your pictures on a computer after you take them.
If you had to give an award for the year’s most breakthrough piece of consumer tech, there’s a good chance it would go to Lytro, a camera company which recently unveiled its first product. Unlike other cameras, you never need to focus it. Rather, the images it takes are interactive you can change their focus later, meaning that you can take pictures of a fleeting moment without having to check whether the right thing was in the picture. And because the camera never needs focusing or adjustments, it never has any shutter lag. It is truly just a point and shoot.

Here is Dream Music Part 1

Dream Music: Part 2 from Marc Donahue on Vimeo.

Created by: Marc Donahue & Sean Michael Williams
Dream Music: Part II is a musical voyage into the depths of the subconscious. This lyrical narrative reflects on the perception of time within dreams and waking life. Filmed on location in 2 states over the course of 6 months, we explored our new production technique of what we call ‘lyric-lapsing’, to achieve the surrealistic feeling of movement. We built upon the foundation of Part 1 with ambitious ideas that usually took around 6-8 hours of work for 3-4 seconds of footage. Our goal was to pioneer a new film genre by telling a story through art and music. Part 2 was made to transport the viewer from their own reality into a world of dreams and at the end, they awake to wonder how we were able to take them there. Each scene was born from the symbolic meaning of the lyrics and overall message of the film; Time is the illusion within the dream of life.
Starring and Produced by Beau Brigham
Produced by Gus Winkelman
Here is Dream Music Part 1 –
Thanks to for our sponsorship and support with equipment!
Songs by, Joelistics: Days, Rabbits Running: Making Castles, dredg: Brushstroke-Reprise/Matroshka/The Ornament
For Fan Inquiries Contact –
For Booking/Business/Press Inquiries Contact –
Follow us on Twitter:

Cool article on how to build a demo reel

How to Create a Killer Demo Reel (From the Poptent folks)
Not everyone has made a demo reel of their work. Allow us to point out some
good thoughts on the subject. Follow the links to read the complete articles.
From Media College –
“A demo reel (aka demo tape, show reel, etc) is a video or audio presentation
designed to showcase your talents to a potential employer. The idea is that the
employer can see what you are capable of based on the examples you have
supplied. Depending on your area of experience and the position you are
applying for, your demo reel may include examples of your camerawork, editing,
graphics, sound mixing, presenting, etc.”
From Tips for a Demo Reel that Works By Bill Davis –
“When you’re new in the video production business, there’s nothing more fun
than watching other people’s demo reels. And there’s probably nothing LESS fun
than sitting down to make one of your own.
After all, this is your visual calling card. Every flaw, every less than perfect
moment reflects directly on you. And can potentially affect whether you get more
work – or starve. No pressure here.
When you sit down to plan one, there are only two things about which you can be
absolutely sure. First, nobody’s going to pay you a CENT for all the work you’re
about to do. And second, as soon as the reel succeeds in getting you work, it’s
instantly obsolete since your newest (and hopefully best) work won’t be on it.”
From Randy Dudley –
“Not enough can be said about demo reels. Many people don’t realize the
importance of having a good reel. It’s more than just a collage of content that
plays for a few minutes. It’s your statement as an artist, showing whoever sees it,
that this is what I do, this is the kind of person that I am. And there are a lot of
factors that contribute to this “feel” your demo has. First thing to do is talk about
what not to do. Please remember that these are only suggestions, and in some
cases may not be acceptable, but in general, they are good guidelines to go by.
These should help your reel from getting lumped with all the other ordinary
student reels.”

Bonaire great Location to shoot

One of the best locations I’ve ever been in, Bonaire is a small island located in the southern Caribbean (see the maps) known for its pioneering role in the preservation of nature, in particular the preservation of the marine environment, and for its excellent scuba divingsnorkeling, and windsurfing, among other things. Kayak in the mangroves, the gentle bay or venture out into the open ocean for a real challenge. Enjoy the nature of the land cycling or mountain biking.Many descriptions and slogans have been written about Bonaire: Best Kept Secret, Unhurried, Unspoiled, UnforgettableDiver’s Paradise; and the list goes on… The fact is that all these statements are true, and then some. Another truth is the statistic that over 55% of arrivals on Bonaire are repeat visitors!

I took this shot right before I rented a windsurf for the day (the conditions where perfect I’ll never forget that experience)

There are a number of reasons people visit the island. First timers generally have heard about the climate, the water, the sun and what there is to do. When asked, repeat visitors generally say that they did not have enough time to do all they wanted to on their first visit. If it is the third or fourth trip, the answer is basically the same but with this addition “It is the warmth and friendliness of the people” that keeps visitors returning year after year.

In the other side of the island the waves crash into the reef blasting 40 to 60 feet into the air really amazing


New Demo Reel

Holly and I have been working on a new freelancer site, I am so grateful for the  feedback on the latest demo reel, take minute to play it have fun.

Feel free to send me an email with your comments Demo link:

More on the Grove

It is really awesome how everything seems magical early in the morning.

Here is one special dude

Hey Mike I hope you’re feeling better, just know that no matter how ugly your face might look like right now from biting the ground with your teeth,  there will always be a place in my heart for you in the attic somewhere up with some boxes. I love you man.