Zacuto’s “The Great Camera Shootout 2011″ Episode 1

Zacuto assembled a team of top-flight cinematographers and crew to scientifically evaluate the differences between many of the leading cameras out there for filmmakers today in this shootout.  And if you don’t happen to look away around the 20:00 mark right after @planetmitch ’s comments, you might see my mug talking briefly about what I saw in the latitude tests relating to 5D, F3, etc.

It really is astounding to me how far digital cameras of all ranges have come- especially since the 3-CCD betacams of  the late 80s.  In short, there are many excellent choices as a shooter/filmmaker, so don’t get hung up on which camera to rent or buy- just understand how to use what you have to its fullest potential in the context of telling your particular story.

Watch it here:


Hope & Life Conference Live Opener

I did the motion graphics portion of this video in After Effects using expressions and the Trapcode Sound Keys plugin to a temp track which the band played live to. Fun to see it come together live at this brand new Hope and Life conference for youth at Lakewood Church a couple weeks ago.

The edited shots of the pipe drummer were shot on a 5D the week before.

It was designed to coordinate live with the giant 40ft LED screen hoisting up from the floor revealing the “pipe drummer” behind the screen. It actually timed out better in rehearsal so I put the rehearsal clip on the lower right and the actual event on the upper right.

Apologize for the mix- its a combination of temp track, live feed and 5D (hence the handling noise early on, lol) mixed in FCPX.

I used Final Cut Pro X to sync up the clips using the new automatic synchronization (it worked), place them on the screen in boxes and added the canned FCPX titles just to see how the whole process worked with this new software. Since there is no multicam yet, I had to blade the clips and cut out holes on upper tracks (old school way)in a “compound clip”. I also used the share to Vimeo feature to complete the experience. The Share Monitor (FCPX version of Batch Monitor) said the upload failed, but when I checked Vimeo, it was there.

check my blog for more notes on FCPX as I post them.

Note, FCP7 and After Effects are my bread and butter (and thats what I used to create the video for the screen), but I do like some of the new features in X- just not ready for any big projects- at least for me yet….we shall see. Good test.


Technicolor and Superflat comparison on 5D Mark II

This is a quick and dirty, non-scientific comparison of the Technicolor and Superflat picture styles. While its not the same as raw or RGB capture, it certainly is a step in the right direction as it gives you more latitude to grade with in post. I’ve been using the “Superflat” picture style for a long time for everything I shoot, so I’m not comparing it to the standard or neutral settings built-in to the camera (I prefer NOT to do that as I just can’t get enough out of the blacks). Technicolor isn’t a huge change from superflat, very subtle at times, but it definitely gives you a slight lift in the shadows and what looks like a very tiny bit more room in the highlights (watch :42-:46). Also, it seems to handle flesh tones better (watch the guy closeup at :31) and doesn’t go as pinkish in the reds.

The other thing that is promising about Technicolor and Canon developing this is that now we have a standard style to apply to 5D Mark IIs when on a multicam shoot or when you are using someone else’s camera body. Yes, there are other manufacturing issues that can cause bodies not to match but this at least gets us closer than we were.

CineStyle was created by Technicolor color scientists and
engineers over the course of the last 12 months with the
cooperation of Canon U.S.A. Inc.

Bottom line is that I liked what I saw so far and hope to use on on all our future productions.

Tech notes:
I shot this in about 15 minutes and graded in another 10min in Color.
Nikkor 135mm AI lens (old manual)
ISO outside 125
ISO inside 1600
No filters or ND (so forgive my shutter over 1/50th:))
H.264 to ProresHQ conversion with MPEG Streamclip
Edited in FCP 7
Graded in Apple Color (where noted)
The 2nd half of the video is a repeat but without any grading.
Exported to H.264 for Vimeo.

Let me know what your results are, I’d love to hear.


“Beautiful Things” Opener for Lakewood Church shot with Phantom Flex


New service open that is premiering this Easter weekend at Lakewood Church.

This was a very unique project for us as it was all shot with a special high speed camera called the Phantom Flex. Many shots are up to 2560 fps. The result is footage that, when played back at normal (24fps) speed, shows us motion that we normally don’t see (aka God Vision).
What better way to celebrate how God sees us when we become “New Creatures” in Jesus Christ! 2 Cor 5 17





Thank you to EVERYONE involved, the crew that worked tirelessly for days and nights – and CAST that donated their time so generously.

Beautiful Things by Gungor.

Used by permission.


Phantom Flex clip 1

Phantom Flex clip 1 from Dan Rubottom on Vimeo.

Wow, what a week learning how to shoot not only with a new camera, but an entire different workflow on set.

Here’s one of the random clips we shot this week with the Phantom Flex. We mostly shot people stuff all week- more of that later- but did a couple fun tests too.
I think this was around 2000 fps.
Zeiss 100mm T3 Macro

Now, time to edit- main project coming soon.