Matthew Jeppsen

DP Notes | Matthew Jeppsen rss

Matt Jeppsen is a freelance cinematographer with over a decade of experience in commercials, music videos, and documentary films. mattjeppsen.com

Defining Visual Language for a Travel Documentary

Cinematography case study on The Flying Dutchmen
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 1, 2015
Last August I had the opportunity to DP a 3-week documentary feature film called The Flying Dutchmen. In this article I want to talk about our visual language choices, and how those choices drove the gear and tools used to accomplish the look of the film. You may also be interested in a podcast discussion on how we used...

Top 20 Awards That Accurately Depict Filmmaking

Oscar Awards That Filmmakers Deserve
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 22, 2015
Today marks the 87th Academy Awards, where filmmakers are honored by peers for their finished work. Which got my colleague Kendal Miller thinking...last night he tweeted "What are your ideas for Oscar categories that more accurately depict the actual filmmaking process?" Here are the top twenty picks from the 

Flex Light Review and Photometrics

A comparison test with Westcott's flexible LED panel
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 17, 2015
Recently I had the pleasure of working on a project with Jem Schofield. Jem has a gear obsession that borders on a medical condition, and I was delighted to see that he brought along a set of Westcott Flex lights. Working with the Flex light, I was surprised at their relatively powerful output and...

Hands-on with the Panasonic Varicam S35

Two cinematographers take a quick look at the new 4K Varicam
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 9, 2015
A few years ago, Panasonic showed early prototypes of what would become the 4K Varicam, their S35 digital cinema camera. That model is starting to trickle out into the wild, and DP Noel Evans has shared his findings after using the camera on a project. Watch below. 

Gratical HD EVF Review

Real-world shooting with Zacuto's powerful new viewfinder
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 7, 2015
The following is my detailed review of a pre-production Zacuto Gratical HD EVF unit. The production version of Gratical HD began shipping this month to pre-order customers. TL;DR The Gratical HD EVF has really...

How to Setup a C-Stand

C Stand Basics with DP Shane Hurlbut
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 6, 2015
One of the most basic but important things you must know on set is how to configure and use a c-stand. This c stand tutorial from cinematographer Shane Hurlbut will show you the basics of these essential grip & light stands, from safety to ettiquete....

Simple DIY bounce boards

How to make a set of reflective foam boards for under $20
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 20, 2015
It seems like every grip truck has a few beadboard / foam bounce boards in the package, they are lightweight and very useful in a variety of lighting scenarios. I recently needed a few of these in various sizes for small local jobs, and decided to build my own. For about $20 in materials, I was able to build a set ranging in size...

Odyssey 7Q and 7Q+ get expanded 4K ProRes recording options

4K DCI ProRes recording from RAW sources
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 19, 2015
  The Convergent Design Odyssey series of monitors and recorders has been a work in development since they first shipped in the fall of 2013. Since then, they have been rolling out regular firmware updates to fully enable the capabilities of the monitor/recorder. Now...

Cinematography of Inglourious Basterds

Analyzing the work of Robert Richardson
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 12, 2015
A week or so ago I posted a cinematography breakdown of Roger Deakins work in Prisoners. This week I'm sharing another one of Matt Scott's breakdowns, this one from the Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds. In this...

Zacuto Gratical HD pre-orders get a $700 price drop

New pricing for pre-orders, now $900 off retail
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 6, 2015
Zacuto and their resellers have dropped the price on pre-orders for the Gratical HD EVF. Pre-orders for this new electronic viewfinder were previously listed at $3600, and as of today listed at $2900. This price drop is retroactively available to...

Filming smooth driving footage on a tight budget

Low-budget gimbal & gyro filming solutions for moving vehicle shots
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 2, 2015
Last August I had the opportunity to DP a documentary feature film directed by my good friend Kendal Miller. The story followed two friends as they traveled across the US to the Oregon coast on a motorcycle and sidecar. Much of the film was to be shot handheld, and...

The Cinematography of Prisoners

Analyzing Deakins masterful frames
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 1, 2015
Prisoners was a tense, dramatic movie. I remember being almost exhausted after watching the film for the first time. But as I mulled it over in the following days, I was struck by how subtly powerful the cinematography was. Never did it call attention to itself, but almost every frame was polished and cleanly executed. Roger...

Areca 8050 Thunderbolt RAID Review

How I built a 24TB RAID6 for under $2800
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 20, 2014
About six months ago, I had a 20 Terabyte problem. I had a shelf of external hard drives of all shapes, sizes, and interfaces, and weak, infrequent backup system. It was time to consolidate my media and fix this issue. After much research, I invested in a Areca Thunderbolt RAID and a reliable backup solution. Here are my adventures in building...

Ten Commandments of Making

Sage advice from maker Adam Savage
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 16, 2014
At the 2014 Maker Faire, mythbuster and creative Adam Savage spent some time talking about what it takes to be a Maker. He kicked off his talk by defining what he calls his Ten Commandments of Making. Maker Faire tends to have a craftsperson appeal, but what struck me was how well Adam's ten principles translated to the film...

Stocking Stuffers for Shooters and Cinematographers

Production gifts that are useful
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 9, 2014
With Christmas fast approaching, here are ten stocking stuffer gift ideas for the filmmaker. These are all tools I own, love, or use on a daily basis.  1. Bongo Ties $6 at Amazon With a thousand...

Daily Inspiration - NOMOS Glashuette


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 4, 2014
Sometimes you have to whisper to get someone's attention. I was struck by the clean simplicity of this short film about the process of making a NOMOS Glashütte Swiss timepiece. There are no flashy camera moves, no stirring...

Working in the field with the Editshare Field 2

A multi-month case study of the Field 2 mobile system
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 3, 2014
Last fall I produced a large video project for a large youth summer camp based in the Ozarks. This organization offers an intense multi-week program for kids of all ages. My Arkansas video production company was hired to shoot and edit a number of video assets to be used in the...

KinoGrip Wooden Camera Grips

Pimp Your Rig with something Comfortable and Custom
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 28, 2014
Wood handgrips have come back in to vogue lately. There's something lovely about a warm wooden grip when operating a handheld camera. It feels amazing, and it looks damn fine. There are several folks making wood grips these days, a lot of designs are similar to the look of the classic Aaton wooden grip. One company that has sprung up...

PVC Experts & Answers Webinars: Inside the Mind and Gear Bag of DP Matthew Jeppsen

Watch the archived version of the live event
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 10, 2013
DP Matthew Jeppsen talks through the kind of problems and solutions he runs into as a DP on a daily basis whil traveling domestically and internationally. Matt covers a wide range of topics but focuses primarily on docu-style shooting, with a lot of discussion about travel/destination shooting. He also talks about the tools and techniques...

How to Calculate Light Output Through Diffusion

You can't. You must test. Here are some test results.
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 13, 2013
Recently I was looking for a formula that would allow me to calculate how much light output I would get from a given size HMI once I punched it through a 12x12 diffusion frame. Calculating light output for an un-modified light source is pretty straightforward; tools like the iOS app Pocket LD offer a catalog of heads, and tell you what their...

Cinevate Kickstarting a GoPro Stabilizer

Morpheus is a multi-use stabilizer for small cameras
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 13, 2013
Cinevate launched something very interesting today, a stabilizer system for small cameras. Morpheus is a stabilizer, tripod, and mini-dolly that they've been developing for years.  After multiple revisions and redesigns, they've come up with a lightweight system that accomodates a variety of small...

Daily Inspiration - Small Feet "Rivers"

Flames and slow-motion heli work. Simple, beautiful.
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 13, 2013
Sometimes it's the simple ideas that are most beautiful. This music video seems almost too simplistic; it's just a man on fire, an RC octocopter, and a FS700 shooting slowmo. And yet it is executed beautifully. Watch below...  

Alexa, Epic, and F65 get the Single Candle test

Digital Cinema low-light comparisons at 800 and 3200 ISO (and the F55 too)
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 19, 2013
CML just posted a few low-light comparison images from the Sony F65, RED Epic, and ARRI Alexa cameras. There is also one from from the F55, shooting the only ISO option that was available at the time of the test. All cameras were shooting log, and they have included...

The Sound of "Gravity"

Mixing sound on Alfonso Cuaron's latest film
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 10, 2013
Here's an exceptional behind-the-scenes featurette that talks about the sound and foley work in Gravity. One interesting note...the Foley artists used transducer contact mics to create many of the sounds in the film…that is, they recorded vibration from contact, not airborne audio, which is similar to how astronauts would...

The Great Gatsby VFX

Before and After examples
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 7, 2013
Here's a lovely before and after peek at the extensive VFX and compositing work in Great Gatsby. As a DP who prefers to shoot things practically, I'm frankly surprised at the need to make up some of these locations in post! I'd love to know the budgetary and scheduling limitations that pushed these filmmakers to do some of these...

Cine Gear 2013 Wrapup

Thoughts and Impressions from the Paramount backlot
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 4, 2013
I've always enjoyed the pace of Cine Gear more than NAB expo. Set on the Paramount LA backlot on street sets and amongst huge sound stages, it's smaller, more intimate, and a lot more cine-focused. It's one of the highlights of my year, and Cine Gear 2013 this last weekend was no...

Free VFX Tracking Markers

Snag these DIY templates
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 19, 2013
Need some VFX tracking markers? Here, get some.

Daily Inspiration - Paperman

This animated short is a master class in visual storytelling
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 31, 2013
There's an Oscar nominated short that's making the rounds this week. It's called Paperman, and is a six minute animated Disney short that preceded Wreck-it Ralph in theaters. In my opinion, it's a master class in visual language and shot coverage. The cinematography and pacing of this piece is flawless. Watch...

Daily Inspiration - Words as Images

Distilling the meaning of word into clean motion graphic elements
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 17, 2013
This is a really cool project...the challenge was to create an image out of a word, using only the letters in the word itself, and using only the graphic elements of the letters. The result is some very clean and clever motion graphic elements. Sound design also plays a big part. Watch below.  

Daily Inspiration - JP Auclair Street Segment BTS

Behind the Scenes of a creative skiing video
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 4, 2013
I love BTS videos. There is so much to be learned about how creatives put something together. Not just the technical minutae, but also the reasons for the choices they made...and the happy accidents that sprang up along the way. Here is a great little BTS video that covers how the JP Auclair Street...

Before & After VFX for Final Destination 5

A detailed BTS look at a VFX-heavy sequence in the film
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 21, 2012
Here's an awesome behind the scenes look at the bridge sequence in Final Destination 5. This scene is very heavy on visual effects, with a lot of work put into integrating practical sets, actors, and visual effects. Even with all the greenscreens they built at the practical locations, the sheer amount of rotoscoping work that had to...

BTS of a car chase stunt for Fast and Furious 6

How the Big Boys do stunts
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 14, 2012
Here's a cool stunt sequence for Fast and Furious 6, in this short BTS you get to see them drop a car and a load of prop debris right into the middle of a car chase. It looks like they're rolling 6 cameras including the two car-mounted russian arms and remote atv. Very cool peek at how the big guys do production. I'd say that one...

The Art of Creating Awe

Oscar-winning VFX guru Rob Legato on how to connect emotionally with your audience.
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 22, 2012
Rob Legato took the TED stage earlier this year to talk about a few things he learned working on Titanic, Hugo, and Apollo 13. What I find useful for filmmakers, is that he learned the audience didn't necessarily respond well to realistic or accurate visuals, but to how they remember the visuals. It's a subtle, but important distinction. "When...

Shining a little light on Adobe's CS6 Education pricing

Very reasonable pricing options for Students and Educators
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 21, 2012
Software piracy. Nobody likes to talk about it, but let's be frank; it's a thing. And when a company like Adobe comes out with an all-encompassing software package like Creative Suite 6, which can cost several thousand dollars (Creative Suite 6 Master Collection is about $2500, and Creative Suite 6 Production Premium is about $1800...

Pixar's Story Rules

Insightful tips for writing and story development
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 2, 2012
Recently, Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of tips for story development and screenwriting, and they are profound. Tip #8 is something that every filmmaker should know and...

John Cleese on Creativity


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 26, 2012
And now for something completely different. I grew up loving Monty Python, so I was delighted to find this presentation by Python John Cleese on the subject of creativity. In the video embedded below, he breaks down what he has found necessary for the creative process into five specific things: 1. Space, 2. Time, 3. Time, 4. Confidence,...

Alphatron EVF - Cine Gear LA 2012


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 10, 2012
We dropped in at the BandPro booth to chat with our friend Randy about the new Alphatron EVF solution they will soon be carrying. The Alphatron uses a display that you are probably familiar with, from a popular fruit-related smartphone. It's coupled with the backend from a TV Logic monitor that allows you to input HD-SDI or HDMI, and also...

FOR-A FT-ONE camera - Cine Gear LA 2012

An update on the 4K slow motion camera from FOR.A
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 9, 2012
We dropped by to check out the 4K FT-One slow motion camera from FOR-A. One of the interesting notes I picked up from this interview is the fact that the FT-ONE camera has a global CMOS shutter, which means it would not be subject to CMOS skew, jello, and flash-frames. Watch below...

Ikan - Cine Gear LA 2012


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 8, 2012
At Cine Gear LA, Ikan gave us the rundown on the brand new MR7 monitor, with built-in SD card recording for dailies, proxies, and on-set playback. They showed it attached to a wireless setup that allows you to work untethered. We also got a look at the entire D-series line of monitors.

Industry Tape - Cine Gear LA 2012


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 8, 2012
How can you possibly improve on the perfection that is Gaffer's tape? We dropped by the Industry Tape booth at Cine Gear for a chat with Gus about how they are improving this essential on-set expendable.

Zacuto - Cine Gear LA 2012

A top handle for the FS100 and RED cameras, and the new 5D MKIII Zfinder Frame
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 8, 2012
At the Zacuto Cine Gear booth, we got a look at their top-handle solution for the FS100 and RED Scarlet/Epic cameras, as well as the new Zfinder frames for the 5D MKIII camera. Watch below...

CueMaster Boom Pole - Cine Gear LA 2012

A unique audio boom solution that carries the weight and allows you to effortlessly aim the mic while fully extended
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 8, 2012
While at Cine Gear, we came across this very interesting audio boom system from Rabbit AV called the CueMaster. It's a booming solution that carries the weight of the pole, extending your reach and giving you the ability to swivel and aim the mic at the end. Watch below...

Cinevate FS100 PL Mount & MoCo - Cine Gear LA 2012


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 8, 2012
Cinevate's Luke Grandmont gave us an update on the shipping version of the FS100 swappable lens mount system (with support for all the major popular lens types, including PL), as well as an update on their motion control system for the sliders, thanks to a new partnership with Dito Gear. Watch below...

Misc Interesting Things - Cine Gear LA 2012


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 7, 2012
This segment from Cine Gear '12 has a few very interesting short segments, including new Zeiss Anamorphic Concept Lenses from ARRI, a cool articulated flare flag by Dinkum Systems from Filmtools, the Midas Mount SnapFocus, and an update on...

Kessler - Cine Gear LA 2012


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 7, 2012
Kessler's Chris Beller shows us the new Pocket Jib Pro prototype and gives us an update on the Fusion motion control system pre-release program for early beta users. He also shows off their Kessler app for iOS, and gives us an early look at the forthcoming iOS version of the Fusion app.

Kino Flo Lighting - Cine Gear LA 2012

Updates on the LED Celeb, the 4-bank Tegra, and new dimmable Barfly
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 7, 2012
While at Cine Gear LA, we stopped by the Kino Flo booth to get updates on their new dimmable Barfly fixtures with integrated ballast, the stunning new Celeb 200 color-mixable LED light, and the compact Tegra 4-bank kit with dimmer control and new grids. Watch below!

Hive Plasma Lighting - Cine Gear LA 2012

Incredible new daylight fixtures from Hive
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 7, 2012
Hive Lighting introduces their line of plasma lighting, daylight balanced lighting solutions that draw significantly less power than standard fixtures. This is incredibly cool tech, watch below!

How to get good production dialogue

Use a boom mic and some common sense!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 16, 2012
Here's a short and sweet video with a tip on the best way to get good production dialogue audio from your talent. Watch below.(

FreshDV NAB 2012 Video Coverage Playlist


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 18, 2012
The FreshDV team is in Las Vegas all this week, covering the NAB 2012 tradeshow. We're bringing you, dear reader, video coverage and analysis from the expo floor. Watch our coverage in the playlist below. For more videos, you can follow us on Vimeo or check out

Daily Inspiration - Building Houses Music Video

Another beautiful video from director Jesse Rosten
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 3, 2012
Building Houses is the latest work from director Jesse Rosten, and it's beautiful. Recommend watching this at 1080p...Watch the

Libec Camera Support Equipment at NAB 2012


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 29, 2012
Libec Camera Support Equipment at NAB2012(Booth # C9519)28th March, 2012 - Libec, a brand of the HEIWA SEIKI KOGYO CO., LTD. based in Japan, is pleased to announce a wide range of new products at the upcoming NAB2012. Libec presents our new SWIFT JIB50 Telescopic Jib, REMO30 Remote Head, ZFC-5HD All-in-One Zoom and Focus...

How to Edit Red Footage with Adobe Premiere Pro


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 23, 2012
RED Digital Cinema and Adobe teamed up recently to do a live online seminar and tutorial on the RED R3D workflow with Adobe Premiere Pro. The recording of that event is available free at the link below. This hour-long tutorial covers the following topics:* Ted starts by introducing the Scarlet and the...

Importing Canon C300 and MKIII Footage into Avid MC6

Short tutorial on Media Composer 6.0's quick AMA ingest for these new camera systems
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 23, 2012
Here are two quick tutorials by editor Dylan Reeve that will show you the simplicity of importing Canon C300 and Canon 5D MKIII footage into Media Composer 6.0. Watch below.

Conan's Post-Production Crew previews Premiere CS6

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll pre-order Premiere CS6
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 16, 2012
The editors and motion graphics guys behind the scenes of the late-night show Conan have released an awesome Premiere CS6 preview video. It nicely sums up some of the reasons why Premiere is fast becoming the standard in post facilities that were previously FCP-based, and it offers a glimpse at what the latest CS6 version will offer....

Gear In 60 Seconds - Nauticam NA-60D

Getting watery trick shots with this DSLR housing
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 10, 2012
Here's another FreshDV Gear in 60 Seconds video, on the Nauticam NA-60D housing for Canon 60D DSLR stills & video. In this case, we used the housing to get some wild trick shots for a short narrative film. Watch me jump off a waterfall in the video...

4K > 1080P?


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 30, 2012
There's a nice, ranty article over at CNET entitled "Why 4K TVs are stupid" that talks about 4K TV's in the home, and the coming marketing push...

Daily Inspiration - Fleet Foxes Montezuma

Beautiful stop-motion and shadowplay on this music video
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 23, 2012
Great stop motion animation on this Fleet Foxes music video. I especially love how they've added depth by using the shadows as well. Simple concept, beautiful execution. Watch below...

Working Pros Discuss the Canon C300

Rodney Charters, Drew Gardner and Lan Bui discuss the Canon C300
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 17, 2012
What happens when you get three working professionals together late at night with the Canon C300 camera and liquor? They shoot camera tests. And that's exactly what happened when Rodney Charters, Drew Gardner and Lan Bui got together on New Years Eve. To test the C300's 20,000 ISO capability, they shot a quick low-light test using an...

Lytro is the new RAW?

Light Field Camera for Stills, Video and 3D Applications
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 12, 2012
If you aren't familiar with Lytro, they are an innovative company that is very close to releasing a Light-Field Camera. This affordable consumer stills camera has the unique ability to calculate the angle of light hitting the sensor, and store that data along with the image data. Later, in post, you...

Daily Inspiration - Operation White Widow

An animated short with a creative twist
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 9, 2012
Here's a short, inspirational piece I spotted on Vimeo, entitled "Operation White Widow." Hopefully this will stimulate your creativity. Watch below...

So You Want to Buy a RED Scarlet?

Do you really need that new camera? An intervention.
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 2, 2012
I got a question on Twitter recently regarding the pros and cons of purchasing a Red Scarlet camera. After responding, I decided to expand my replies into this blog post in hopes that someone else may find it useful. Some of this stuff seems elementary, and I apologize if that's the case for...

Free mocha webinar today

Imagineer mocha tracking for Editors webinar, today at 10am PDT
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 10, 2011
This is last-minute notice, but there is a free mocha webinar today at 10am PDT. It's a 90-minute webinar that will cover mocha tracking for editors. You can register free here.

29 Ways to Stay Creative

An inspirational pick-me-up for when you're stuck in a creative rut
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 31, 2011
Stuck in a funk, creatively speaking? Here's some ideas to break out of the old. Watch below...

Shane Hurlbut Cinema Master Series Launch


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 16, 2011
HOLLYWOOD FILMMAKER DELIVERS NEW TECHNOLOGY Shane Hurlbut, ASC Offers DSLR Technology with the Classic Hollywood Film Camera's Form FactorHOLLYWOOD, Calif. - October, 17, 2011 World renowned cinematographer, Shane Hurlbut, ASC, (Terminator Salvation, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Drumline) has teamed up with camera...

Gear In 60: SmallHD Monitor Case

A fantastic hard case for the DP6 and accessories
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 8, 2011
Here's another video in our FreshDV Gear In 60 Seconds series that quickly shows how I store and travel with the SmallHD DP6 field monitor and it's associated accessories. Watch below.

Gear In 60: Travel Lighting & Grip Kit

A lightweight LED lighting & grip kit you can fly with
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 1, 2011
I travel a lot for simple sit-down interview shoots, and commonly need to fly with a lightweight lighting and support kit for DSLR or small HD cameras. Here are two videos from our new FreshDV Gear In 60 Seconds series that talk about the two Pelican gear...

Filming Inception's Corridor & Zero-Gravity Sequences


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 29, 2011
If you enjoyed Christopher Nolan's film "Inception," you're going to love this behind-the-scenes documentary short on how the corridor and zero-gravity room sequences were shot. It's an amazing peek behind the curtain at how they pulled off the shots live, with a minimum of stunt doubles and CG. Fascinating engineering and planning....

Kinetic Typography Motion Graphics Tutorial

How do to those cool flying words
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 8, 2011
Here's a nice long tutorial on how to do that cool animated word thing that is so popular (and useful) these days. It's all compliments of creative superstar Jesse Rosten. Watch below...

Switching from Final Cut to Premiere

My thoughts on the FCPX brouhaha
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 6, 2011
Since Final Cut X was released a few weeks ago, there have been a large number of Final Cut Pro post-production professionals looking into other NLE options. Final Cut Pro X is a very different animal, and lacks specific FCP7 features that certain users require or demand. It also changes up existing post-production workflows and is in...

Cine Gear 2011 Video Coverage


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 13, 2011
Cine Gear LA was held last week at the Paramount backlot in Hollywood, and the FreshDV crew was onsite to capture interviews and video coverage. Watch our coverage in the following video...

Digital Cinema Real-World Available Light Test


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 2, 2011
We geeks are pixel pushers, and we love charts and scientific testing of camera systems. It's an essential part of understanding where the system breaks, and it informs your creative freedom on-set. That said, it is sometimes refreshing to see a comparative test from a common real-world shooting situation - working with available light....

PMW-F3 Dynamic Range Test

Abel Cine tests Sony F3 Dynamic Range on the charts
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 1, 2011
Abel Cine has been doing a short series of tests on the new PMW-F3 camera from Sony, and the latest episode is a very thorough dynamic range test. In it, they chart the F3 at a solid 12-stops of dynamic range, and then...

NFL Behind the Scenes DSLR POV

Stillmotion collaborates with NFL on a POV series shot on DSLR
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 31, 2011
Stillmotion has posted a very cool behind-the-scenes video that shows their helmet-cam in use for NFL Films, used to tell the story of new players going through training. It's a great application of compact DSLRs as POV tech, and they did a nice job creating a custom helmet-cam unit that appears to work beautifully. If you want to see...

Editors: Quietly Making You Look Better Since 1903


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 26, 2011
Here's a short excerpt from the 2005 DVD 'The Work of Director Mark Romanek' that talks about the making of the Johnny Cash music video for "Hurt." Romanek discusses how he initially conceived and shot a very straightforward performance music video in the home of Cash. It wasn't until...

NEX FS-100 Overview and First footage

Complete camera walkthrough and accompanying music video
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 23, 2011
Den from F-Stop Academy was lucky enough to be one of the first shooters to get his hands on the new NEX FS-100 camera from Sony, the little brother to the PMW-F3 camera (they reportedly share the same sensor). He's posted an incredible 18-minute camera system walkthrough, behind the scenes footage, and a completed music video shot with...

Your Daily Motion Graphics Inspiration

Stunning dynamic text tribute to Conan O'Brien's farewell speech
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 22, 2011
We've all seen these fantastic "dynamic text" videos, that use animated text, generally cleanly laid out on a simple background, to convey information-dense concepts. For corporate video producers, it's a good way to deal with the common situation when a client essentially requests what I call Video Powerpoint...that is, when the client...

PMW-F3 vs AG-AF100 vs 5D MKII

Comparison of Gain & Sensitivity and now updated with a Latitude comparison
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 21, 2011
Here's a quick side-by-side candle-lit comparison of the Sony PMW-F3, Panasonic AG-AF100, and the venerable Canon 5D MKII DSLR. The test footage was shot by Dennis Ersöz. This video clip very neatly shows how the native sensitivity of each camera compares, and also how...

The subtle VFX work in Black Swan

Good VFX execution that doesn't draw undue attention
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 18, 2011
The filmmakers of Black Swan have been discussed for the choice to shoot much of the film on 16mm stock, as well as some coverage being shot on the Canon 5D and 7D DSLRs (see IMDB tech specs). But I've seen very little coverage of the visual effects in...

Shutter Speed vs FPS

Shutter Speed 101 for n00bs (and confused pros)
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 28, 2011
Here's a short video tutorial on the topic of Shutter Speed, which is at times confused with Frames Per Second. The tutorial is from a DSLR shooting series by the University of Waterloo, and it's a good primer on the topic. You can watch it below.

Confirmation on Sony F3 native sensitivity

800 ISO native and 6400 ISO equivalent at 18dB gain!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 28, 2011
A couple weeks ago FreshDV linked to a C47 video where Jem Schofield discussed seeing the PMW-F3 in use in a high-ISO test. At that time, Jem indicated he thought the native sensitivity rating of the camera was 800 ISO and that it offered a 6400 ISO equivalent with 18dB of...

Which ProRes quality level is Good Enough when editing DSLR footage?

My experience using ProRes LT for Canon DSLR production
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 22, 2011
So I wanted to share some personal findings after working heavily with DSLRs for about a year and a half now. I've been converting most of my DSLR footage to ProRes LT for post-production, and have found it to be a good size-to-quality happy medium. In most cases, my projects will end up on DVD, web, or some kind of Standard Definition...

Analyzing what you see in a film frame

Eye-tracking study provides data on where viewers look when watching a film
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 17, 2011
This new study by David Bordwell provides fascinating data on where viewers look when watching a film. Researchers used infrared pupil tracking to correlate attention to what was happening in the film, and their findings will surely be of...

Constructing a helmet cam

Stillmotion on how they built a helmet-cam for an NFL shoot
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 3, 2011
Stillmotion has a blog post up with info on how they pulled together a makeshift DSLR helmet camera for POV shots. They built it around a standard skateboard helmet and a Canon T2i, with the addition of one of those el-cheapo wireless video monitors (I snagged one a while back, and it works great for the money).

10 Screenwriting Tips from Joss Whedon

Ten Tips from geek filmmaker royalty
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 2, 2011
Yeah, that title got your attention didn't it! Over at Scriptwriting in the UK there's a nice post with ten detailed tips on screenwriting, by none other than geek-filmmaker darling

Extra Extra, Free Light Leak Clips!

Read all about it!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 1, 2011
Jesse Rosten is a studmuffin filmmaker, and he's giving away some light leaks that he created. These are excellent transitional elements, similar to the clips you'll find in Artbeats Film Clutter collections. You can also make your own light leaks by removing the lens from...

Panasonic AF100 Sensor Size Comparison

An answer for those who think the AF100 sensor is too small
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 16, 2011
One of the common questions that I've personally gotten in the past few weeks is in regards to the AF100's sensor size. There seems to be a common belief that this camera's 4/3s sensor is objectionably small in size. I personally think that this size issue has been overstated, that the 4/3s size is actually rather large...and that the...

The Heartbreaking Beauty of Pixar's Films

As we review another year past, here's a sentimental look back at 15 years of Pixar brilliance
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 1, 2011
In 1995 Pixar released their first feature film, Toy Story. Since then, this amazing group of creatives has led in visual innovation and unique stories. As we review the year 2010, it seems fitting to share this inspiring mashup of Pixar films from the past 15 years. Enjoy.

ARRI Alexa vs Canon 7D latitude & grading comparison

Pushing pixels around to see where these two cameras fall apart
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 29, 2010
It seems a little absurd to be comparing a $1500 camera to the ARRI Alexa, but such is the world that we currently live in...DSLR video has made major inroads in production, and there are many situations where it is well-suited. But as with any tool, part of deciding when to use it is knowing where it fails. To that end, here is a video...

Daily Inspiration - The most realistic CG you've ever seen

Simply stunning work
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 19, 2010
This commercial spot was done entirely with CG, and it's simply beautiful. I would never have guessed this was done without live action high-speed filming.

Daily Inspiration - Graphic Animation, Subaru Style

This film looks better shot with a 1-degree shutter angle. Find out why.
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 10, 2010
180-degree shutter angle is the rule of thumb when shooting film & video. It almost always makes your images look better...unless you are a pro and you understand just when to break the rules. The following amazing Subaru spot is a great example of how to use

Build a DIY highspeed photography trigger

Freeze slices of time, DIY style
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 8, 2010
If you've ever wanted to try shooting high-speed photography like balloons popping, drops of water, glasses shattering, you'll probably appreciate the following tutorial from Matt Richardson. In the video embedded below, he shows you how to build a simple audio sensor for...

Martini QuickShot Creator puts pre-viz directly into FCP

Simple pre-visualization software for the rest of us
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 29, 2010
Just watched the demo for Martini Quickshot Creator, and must say that this $199 software package looks AWESOME. Check out the demo here...you can quickly build pre-visualized scenes for a project from a library of characters and scenes. All from within Final Cut Pro. This software...

BMX at 1000fps from a Canon 7D

Creative use of Twixtor to eke 1000fps out of 60p
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 10, 2010
You gotta love indie filmmakers, and their desire to invest time to create motion picture magic with affordable, readily available tools. Occasionally a gem like this one will surface...this is a video shot at 60p on the Canon 7D, which was then selectively processed with

G-Technology G-SPEED Family Goes Enterprise-Class

G-Tech shipping G-SPEED RAID Storage Solutions with Enterprise-Class Hard Drives
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 8, 2010
AMSTERDAM, Sep 07, 2010 -- As the premium brand serving content creators and the professional audio/video (A/V) community, G-Technology(TM) by Hitachi today announced that its transitioning its entire G-SPEED RAID external storage family to high-grade, enterprise-class hard drives. With solutions ranging from the new four-bay G-SPEED(TM) Q with...

Rarevision 5DtoRGB vs MPEG Streamclip for transcoding

Another handy tool for DSLR footage transcoding
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 31, 2010
There's a new transcoding tool making the rounds on that newfangled Twitter thingy the kids are using these days, it's called Rarevision 5DtoRGB. It's a free app for Mac users that they claim offers a much higher quality conversion from H.264 DSLR raw footage to an editing codec (ProRes is a...

Imagineer Systems, Cinedeck, and IRIDAS at IBC


Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 17, 2010
Imagineer Systems, Stand #13.A36Imagineer Systems will be at IBC 2010 with some significant new developments to its family of VFX workflow solutions for digital media artists. In addition to new announcements regarding mocha, the Company's award winning planar tracking tool, they'll also be launching a major new initiative; the latest...

iPad KeyPad Pro wirelessly controls your pro apps

Create custom keymaps and control your apps with gestures
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 16, 2010
Here's an interesting $4.99 app for the iPad; it's called KeyPad Pro and it's basically a wireless client/server app that allows you to control your multimedia pro applications from the iPad. It can either be used to augment your keyboard, maybe programming just...

Autodesk Maya on iPhone and iPad?

Not really, but kinda
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 26, 2010
Intersting. Autodesk is releasing an iPhone and iPad app called Fluid FX that builds on their respected visual effects tech, and allows you to quickly and simply do some very interesting (and complex) things with these multi-touch interfaces. You can...

RED Epic vs ARRI Alexa Dynamic Range Charts

Two pre-production digital cinema cameras du jour face off
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 19, 2010
Jim Jannard has posted some test charts shot by RED, comparing ARRI Alexa with the Red Epic MX. Given that Epic is currently in development as a prototype, it's not a shocker that RED is the first to do any actual chart tests with Epic. The two tests were Dynamic Range and...

Sony NEX-VG10 interchangeable lens camcorder announced

Sony's first answer to video DSLRs
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 14, 2010
Some time back, we mentioned a Sony teaser about an upcoming HD camcorder model that would feature interchangeable lenses and be compatible with Sony's line of Alpha lenses. Since then, Sony has showed off a soon-to-ship point and shoot...