25
Oct
14

I downgraded from Red Scarlet MX to Blackmagic Production Camera, but it feels like an upgrade!

Martin Beek https://livecrew.nl I’ve thought long and hard about my next move, camera-wise. My Red Scarlet MX was eligible for upgrading to an Epic for 9000US$, or upgrading to a Scarlet Dragon for 9500US$. I paid a small fortune for my Scarlet and adding another 9 grand meant that i could’ve better bought an Epic in the first place. IMHO, not much of a deal or “gesture” to Scarlet owners.

I decided eventually to sell the Scarlet now it’s still worth a few bucks. Emphasizing on “a few”.
I had to let it go a few weeks ago for 7200 euros including a cage, Redmote, two 64gb SSDs, 5″ LCD, sideSSD, etc.; the complete scarlet package plus tophandle and cage. That amount of money is peanuts, but hey, you know that it devaluates starting day one.

I decided to “downgrade” to a 3000US$ Blackmagic production camera, forMartin Beek https://livecrew.nl https://livecrew.nl/martinbeek having a camera around the place and have something to play with during the fall and winter. Bought myself a great Sigma 18-35 1.8 zoom and a cage with handles plus three 500GB SSDs. Still had enough money left to buy some extra audio gear, Vmount batteries and pay a few months of mortgage for the house! ;-)

I thought i’d bought Martin’s next plaything and considered it to be a downgrade just to please my desire to own a camera.
I was almost shocked to learn that the 3000$ silly looking package produced way sharper and detailed images that my Red scarlet ever did! It has roughly the same dynamic range and s/n ratio, but seems to reveal much more micro-detail instead of bags of noise when blowing images up to 200%. VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE!

https://livecrew.nl/martinbeek Martin Beek https://livecrew.nl I shoot 24p exclusively in 4K on any camera – i rent highspeed cameras when i need them. So the Blackmagic production camera is a gift from heaven to indie filmmakers. For the price of renting a Red (don’t you ever think of buying one!) you can buy two or three BMPCs !!!  And, just to make this clear, i am not paid of sponsored by BM to tell you this! ;-)

I’ll definitely shoot my next feature on multiple BMPCs, i swear!

Cons?

  • It needs bags of light (so buy a speedbooster or <=1.8 lens)
  • 400 ASA natively: use a ND filter and don’t switch to 200ASA (limiting DR)
  • 800 ASA is too noisy, just stick with the 400 ASA and crank the exposure up in post; it’ll look great!
  • No white balance. Just a range of Kelvins to choose from. Shoot a color card or WB card and adjust in post.
  • Internal battery wears down just below one hour. Buy one medium sized Vmount battery and you’re good for hours.
  • The BM CINEMADNG Raw codec is HUGE and will slurp your precious SSD gigabytes before you know it.
    BM HAS to device a way to adjust the compression level of the codec or come-up with something new, because this data-rate is outrageous. Recording just 12 minutes on a 500GB ssd is something i can NOT live with. Imagine shooting a feature film with this… My storage and backup costs would go through the roof! The Red Scarlet recorded 34 minutes of full 4K with low compression (1:6) on a 64GB ssd !

DSC_0133Pros?

  • Lightweight form factor, though very well build metal design – feels solid
  • Record prores and raw (Cinema DNG)
  • Super 35mm large sensor, great filmic shallow DOF with the right lenses
  • Comes with a fully licensed version of DaVinci Resolve (including dongle)!
  • Very nice skin color representation and silky smooth light transitions (just a personal / subjective opinion)
  • Low (audible) noise
  • full Canon EF lens communication and LANC (BeBop lanc controller will even control focus)
  • 4K SDI out
  • 12-35 volt input, so hookup any juice that doesn’t kill you ;-)
  • Easy operation, easy menu’s

DSC_0130

My next project… Taking a scene shot with my Scarlet, and repeating it with the same lens on the same location and under the same lighting conditions and show you the difference!

Cheers!
Martin.

21
Apr
14

Update on file encryption and data security

CYPHR free file encryption softwareI have updated my article on how to fight piracy and data-theft.

The CYPHR software for PC and Mac is now freeware!! The makers of the software have released the program as freeware as a gift to the infosec community - an event also filmmakers can profit from!

Provost CYPHR is still the cheapest (free) and most advanced (“NSA-proof”) file encryption software on the market.
We @ Marvels use it to encrypt and store our project backups and the DCPs, DPX/Tiff sequences, dailies and all other stuff we sent out to other companies.

Grab your free copy and license from provost-intel.org/CYPHR

21
Apr
14

Martin says: ditch that Dropbox!

FLAME MODE: ON   ;-)

Ditch Dropbox - problems with dropboxA message to all the people i’ve invited to dropbox over the years: LEAVE DROPBOX NOW – they are unreliable, unpredictable and ungrateful! They have lousy encryption and privacy measures, they team up with the NSA and they have VERY DANGEROUS SMALL PRINT.

Over the years i have advised over one hundred people to start using Dropbox. Dropbox has rewarded me for forwarding new customers with free storage space.

Dropbox seemed a great tool to share footage, titles, short sequences, scripts and other portable stuff.

But…

A WARNING: FREE SPACE ON DROPBOX WILL EXPIRE!!!
Today dropbox wrote me a four sentence email, saying that all my earned free space has expired and reduced my dropbox by 96GB, going back to the basic dropbox size!!

Without warning and without me knowing that “reward storage” expires. Files are no longer synced and about 6,000 files have become frozen.

A one-liner from Dropbox was received as an answer, saying that i should’ve read the small print…

I think this is outrageous and i have QUIT DROPBOX as per today and i advise everyone to do so too.

I’ve switched to a paid Google Drive account (half the price of a paid Dropbox account).


Martin

21
Apr
14

DCP services

Marvels Digital Cinema Package Services DCPWe will start offering Digital Cinema Package services for the European market from june 2014 under the name of CineColor.

We will offer competitively priced packages ranging from a do-it-yourself cloud-based DCP service to an all-in-one package including rugged Ext/3 portable harddrive.
We’ll let you know if our DCP service website is up and running!

21
Apr
14

Our new feature ‘Littekens’ premiered!

Marvels Film is proud to present it’s first feature length movie: Littekens!

Littekens (“Scars”) is a Dutch thriller by director Martin Beek and has been produced by Marvels Film and Disturbing Pictures, the Netherlands.

Read more about this great movie @ IMDb:  imdb.com/title/tt2748180/     give us some “Likes” on IMDb (“rate”) it will help us tremendously during the upcoming filmfestival route!

Martin Beek and Patrick Huiberts. Directors of the new Dutch feature film Littekens

Directors Martin Beek and Patrick Huiberts on the premiere of Littekens. Cinema Industry – Veghel, the Netherlands

 

 

 

 

22
Aug
13

Behind the scenes of Oblivion: minimal green screen fx, maximum in-camera on-stage fx

Enjoy this Behind the Scenes of Oblivion; less green screen, more on-stage and in-camera effects – like the good old days of science fiction cinematography.
Respect! Shame it’s filmed w. Alexa ;-)

Video: https://www.friendweb.nl/video/view/77

oblivion-dead-city oblivion oblivion-concept-art-cruise-4 Oblivion-movie-3.resize-jpg Oblivion behind the scenes, martin beek, friendweb, tom cruise

09
Aug
13

PREVENT PIRACY: secure ways of archiving and distributing dailies, footage and DCP files + shocking facts

 

 

UPDATE april/2014: The CYPHR file encryption software is now freeware!  Get your free copy and license @ provost-intel.org/CYPHR  pirate bay piracy decryption footage dcp

Edit: quick link for those only interested in the CYPHR software: http://www.provost-intel.org/cyphr

Piracy and the theft of copyrighted (film-) materials is ever increasing and the perpetrators are getting more advanced and even more brutal by the day.

The times of people smuggling their video camera into a cinema to share their shaky images with friends has long gone by.
Pirated movies, bootleg DVDs/BluRays and even illegal movie theater-viewings(!) have become almost a commodity.

Let’s not forget that only a small fraction of all “pirates” do their work for the “common good” in order to raise their streetcred in the PirateBay-like communities.

THIS IS ABOUT MONEY AND NOTHING ELSE. Of course…

Bootleg DVDs and Blurays are sold, but also produced in large quantities by – sometimes – advanced production facilities. New cinema releases are shown on subscription sites.

This is for us, as film makers and copyright owners, a tough thing to deal with, but what i find most disturbing are the inventive ways of illegally acquiring the footage that seems to become more harsh and – indeed – brutal!
If you Google on the subject, you’ll find some cases of footage theft, but i know from trusted sources in my network that most cases are hold silent.

Digital cinema (DCP = Digital Cinema Package) should have made things difficult for criminals to copy movies. That’s indeed true, but it has made them more inventive and look for other ways BEFORE the footage get’s to the cinema in it’s  DCP form. And that hasn’t made things better….

Here is a short and definitely incomplete list of practices i found, with some comments – prepare for some shocks…:

  • using a mobile phone or video camera to film a movie at the local cinema
    • This method is the least favorite among serious criminals – we want HD copies, not shaky images.
  • using a Telecine device
    • a small device,  with sprockets and a CCD sensor, that is clamped on the physical film strip, on the projector. Only applicable if the movie is projected from celluloid. The perpetrator needs to have access to the projection room – AND HERE COMES THE LEAK NUMBER ONE: the projectionist
  • illegal copying of footage and masters at the premises of post production houses, by post production personnel
    • this happens more and more often and is easy to do by the people that are trusted and have access. The people who involve in this are the ones you’d probably suspect the least and are well paid to do so..!
  • illegal copying of footage and masters at the premises of post production houses BY FORCE
    • believe it or not: breaking and entering, armed robbery and even extortion seem to belong to the possibilities in order to acquire footage and masters
    • there are known cases of footage transmitted digitally between producers and post production facilities AND HAVE BEEN INTERCEPTED
    • there are known cases of required ransom for footage illegally acquired
  • footage stolen on-set, at production houses and private premises
    • either physical or digital: backup devices and digital media are easy to copy or steal, specially by trusted people…
  • movie previews are stolen from film festival offices
    • AND HERE IS LEAK NUMBER TWO: film festival offices and personnel! Who runs these operations? Who has access to our materials? We seldom know…
    • Preview DVDs and Blurays are easily copied, or even intercepted before they even reach the festival’d office. THIS IS THE WEAKEST LINK!

OK, let’s be honest, i don’t expect hooded villains to raid my house soon, BUT i want to take all the precautions available to me and my budget.
At Marvels Film we have to a certain protocol for the handling, back-up and protection of footage – of course – but alarmed by the issues pictured above, we have taken some extra measures, which include:

  • Packing and encrypting all footage, dailies & masters that are to be backed up or sent to other facilities or people
    • we have made a modest investment in this great software tool: Provost CYPHR  available from www.provost-intel.org/cyphr
    • CYPHR let’s you add artwork, images, footage of all kinds, documents and even applications to a “.cy” file that can only be opened and browsed by the recipient if they have the correct password.
    • these Cyphr “.cy” files can be safely transmitted through unsafe media such as the internet (email / ftp) or on a harddisk or stick
    • anyone, who i fully trust, that needs our CYPHR file can call for the password
    • a great product for a great price and IT WORKS! Absolutely un-crackable and absolutely useless in the wrong hands. The user interface is very simple, but don’t let that first impression deceive you.
  • Handling of all backups on set or at our premises is always done accompanied by either Patrick, Roland or me myself and i – if we have a break, it’s done in visibility range of the backup laptop
  • DCPs and other finished products of our work are only sent to theaters and broadcasters (specially including film festivals) in an encrypted fashion, also using the Provost CYPHR software
  • Always DEMAND that all media is to be returned or destroyed. We have a contract with clear statements of liability that needs to be signed by the recipient. Do it! Have it signed! I know, for indie producers it can be embarrassing to request this – specially at impressive facilities – but never forget that you PAY these people and that they are in principle not to be trusted. That is the cruel truth…

I realize that even major production houses are having trouble with these issues and are ever looking for solutions to end piracy.
IMHO, trying to stop people at home to download movies from the Pirate Bay is not the way. Trying to prevent it from showing up at the Pirate Bay is also our responsibility.

Cheers!

Martin.




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