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.


Location Lighting Tips: Faking the Sun

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 3, 2016

As a director of photography I often find myself in circumstances that are not always in my control, and yet with issues that I am required to solve. You have to think on your feet while the crew, client, and director are looking to you for a solution. Here is one example.


Location Interview Lighting Tips: HMI Lights & Looking into the Lens

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 19, 2015

I recently shot a series of location interviews that will be used as the narrative backbone for a client's short documentary project. They scheduled a few days of shooting on-location, and we had to capture roughly 10 interviews in about 6 different setups.

There were a number of challenges posed by our filming locations, and I wanted to talk through how I built a grip and lighting package that could handle those challenges as well as our budget and time constraints. I also want to discuss how we used a slightly larger HMI than normal (for interviews) to help solve some of these issues, as well as the EyeDirect setup we used to deliver interviews straight into lens. Read on...


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 uses...

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...
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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...
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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,...
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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...
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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...
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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.
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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.
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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.
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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!
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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...
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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.
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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...
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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...
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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 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
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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...
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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...
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Stunning DSLR Timelapse of Shuttle Launch

Canon 5D MKII's + 6 wks + 100 hrs footage = 4 minutes of pure awesome
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 23, 2010
Awesome timelapse of the weeks of NASA preparation before a shuttle launch, culminating with the launch sequence. Watch below.

Why the FCP sky is not falling

And you can keep your pretty Mac workstation
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 19, 2010
Today AppleInsider posted an article that claimed knowledge of a restructuring of Apple Pro Apps suite away from the needs of professionals and more in line with consumer-level users. Specifically...

1st Video - NLE for your iPhone

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 11, 2010
Hand Held Hollywood has a report from NAB 2010 on the Vericorder 1st Video app for the iPhone 3GS. It's a full-featured non-linear editor for the device with a featureset that you simply must see to believe. Watch the...

Google Chrome vs Things That Go Bang

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 9, 2010
Google has been on a roll recently with their rube goldberg-esque viral ad concepts, and the latest is no exception. With the latest release of the Chrome browser, they wanted to show off it's speed. And they did so by using high-speed cameras to pit Chrome against a potatogun, soundwaves, and a massive tesla coil. It's inspiring, both...

ShutterSnitch app links iPad & iPhone to your DSLR

Wirelessly review your photos on the fly
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 7, 2010
ShutterSnitch is an exciting new app for the iPhone and iPad that offers an FTP server that can interface with standard Eye-Fi cards or Canon & Nikon DSLR wireless transmitters. Link the two, and you can transfer images over wifi on the fly as you...

Filmmaker Conversations - Shane Hurlbut and Bandito Bros

40-minutes of Shane Hurlbut and Bandito Bros on DSLR Filmmaking
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 7, 2010
Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut and his collaborators at Bandito Brothers in LA have been shaking up the industry as they embrace the DSLR filmmaking revolution. We sat down with Shane, Bandito's Jacob...

FreshDV's NAB 2010 Video Coverage

All our NAB 2010 video coverage in one convenient playlist. Enjoy!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 6, 2010
We're still recovering a bit from NAB was an amazing expo with all sorts of interesting announcements. The FreshDV crew filmed, edited and posted 35 video segments from the show. You can

The Stages of a Photographer

It's funny because it's true
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2010
Over at Clusterflock there's a funny graphic that charts the main stages in a photographer's development. Ah, photographer...

FreshDV NAB 2010 - ARRI Alexa

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 13, 2010
Undoubtedly one of the biggest announcements at NAB 2010 is ARRI's Alexa digital cinema camera. Alexa is an 800 ASA native digital system that captures to solid state SxS media in ProRes 422 HQ, at a surprising price point (that will have a massive effect on rental affordability). We wanted to bring you the word on this new development, so...

FreshDV NAB 2010 - Welcome to NAB 2010

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 13, 2010
The FreshDV crew is here in Vegas, bringing you the info you need. Feel free to hit us up on twitter @FreshDV to let us know what you'd like to hear!
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Canon 5DMKII 24p firmware is released with audio bug (UPDATE: Fixed)

2.0.3 firmware bugs patched in new 2.0.4 update
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 18, 2010
UPDATE: The Canon 5D MKII DSLR 2.0.3 firmware update was originally released with an audio bug, then pulled by Canon, and now they've released the 2.0.4 firmware update which is supposed to fix those bugs. I've updated a pair of 5Deuces with...

PMA and WPPI Video Coverage Wrapup

News and info from the tradeshow floor at PMA and WPPI
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 14, 2010
FreshDV was on-site at PMA in Anaheim, CA and also WPPI in Las Vegas, NV to get some video coverage from the tradeshow floors. This small series of video coverage is a mix of photo and video topics, and should be of interest especially to those who are embracing the HD/stills convergence offered by the new breed of video-equipped DSLRs....

Video Tools from PMA and WPPI

Video tools at a photography tradeshow? Blasphemy.
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 14, 2010
While visiting the recent PMA and WPPI photography expo's, FreshDV got some video coverage from the tradeshow floor. We've posted everything over at ProPhoto Coalition, and also pared out a few segments...

Daily Inspiration - Coldplay's Strawberry Swing

Stunning stop-motion music video reinvents the genre
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 5, 2010
Strawberry Swing is a visually stunning stop-motion video starring Coldplay's Chris Martin in the lead role as a flying superhero fighting giant squirrels, sea monsters, and ultimately, getting the girl. It was created in collaboration with the group Shynola, and utilizes an overhead stop-motion animation style that has come into vogue...

Cineform Neo 3D Tutorial

Muxing 2D CineForm clips for 3D
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 4, 2010
For a few years now, Cineform has been quietly developing some incredible tools for 3D post-production. We caught up with them last year at NAB 2009 and talked for a solid half hour about their tools and 3D production in general,

FreshDV Film School - The Art of Pulling Focus

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 2, 2010
Image focus is one if the most critical aspects of film and video production. It can also be one of the hardest to get right. Keeping your images in focus become particularly difficult when shooting with your lens aperture wide open, during fast-moving action, and when shooting video film-style with a 35mm lens adapter or DSLR video...

Daily Inspiration - Nuit Blanche

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 7, 2010
What do you get when you mix a unique story concept with unearthly special effects and a stirring soundtrack? You get this stunning dose of filmmaking inspiration...Nuit Blanche

Canon is a Battleship, Red is a Destroyer

Canon set to release the camcorder upgrade you need, not the one you want
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 6, 2010
There's been a lot of speculation on the new camcorder that Canon is revealing today at the SF SuperMeet. Some (myself included) have been hoping wistfully for a proper camcorder body and controls wrapped around a DSLR sensor, perhaps APS-C sized, with an interchangeable lens mount for common Canon L-series lenses. In simple terms, the...

iPad SchmiPad

A timely roundup of withering criticism and slobbering praise for Apple's latest iCreation
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 30, 2010
It's not even been a week since Apple introduced the iPad, and there have already been literally volumes penned about this new device. These opinions are generally polarized, there seems to be either love or hate, with rarely someone falling in between the two. I'll spare you my long-winded personal opinions, this post is simply a...

Steven Soderbergh featurette on shooting Che with RED

A director's singular vision and quest for filmmaking without limits
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 26, 2010
The upcoming Criterion release of Steven Soderbergh's "Che" has a brilliant little featurette in the disc that talks about the Red One camera, and how digital cinema affected the production of this film. If you aren't familiar with the story, Soderbergh basically took the Red One camera's digital promise on faith, and was the first to...

FreshDV Reviews the Genus Mattebox

Using the Genus mattebox with HD and DSLR rigs
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 26, 2010
In the fall of 2007, FreshDV released a detailed review series of 4 popular matte box solutions for 35mm adapter and HD camcorder applications. We tested units from Chrosziel, Cinetech and Petroff. Today...

FreshDV Reviews the Cinevate Durus Follow Focus

Hands on with the highly-anticipated Durus follow focus system
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 19, 2010
In the fall of 2007, FreshDV released an extensive review series of 5 popular follow focus units. We've continued to update this video review series in the following months and years. To date we've...

Ethics Statement

A word about journalistic integrity
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 1, 2010
Hi, my name is Matt Jeppsen. I am a working Director of Photography, and from time to time I write about techniques and tools that interest me. I'd like to clarify a few things in regards to the content I create and share. I never sell editorial posts....

Everything is Amazing (and Nobody is Happy)

VDSLRs, Measurebating, and some Perspective
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 23, 2009
Over at CanonFilmmakers, I ran across a good post that tries to inject a little perspective in all the technical discussions on VDSLRs, Red, and really filmmaking tools in general. The author links a (hilarious) Louis CK video clip in which Louis does a...

Canon 7D DSLR Operation 101

Basic how-to tutorial to quickly get you up and shooting on the 7D
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 15, 2009
Everyone's favorite video DSLR advocate, Tyler Ginter, has produced another video tutorial similar to his last (that one concentrated on the 5D MKII). This new tutorial focuses on the basics of how to set up and how to shoot video on the Canon 7D. In this tutorial, Tyler takes all the pain and suffering out of the menu and settings...
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Lifehacker's Top Photography Hacks of 2009

DIY spirit: A year in review
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 14, 2009
Lifehacker has posted their Top Photography Hacks of 2009, a collection of DIY tutorials and tips mainly for amateurs, but with some wisdom and creative ideas there for professionals too. From bokeh hearts to a fiber-optic...

Filmmaker posts $500 short on Youtube, nets film deal worth millions

This is not your Father's robot film
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 12, 2009
Move over, Robert Rodriguez. It's the stuff of independent filmmaker legend...a virtually unknown director posts a short film clip on Youtube, shot in his own spare time on a shoestring budget...and is discovered by a major studio, who offers...

Super slo-mo shows how a DSLR shutter and mirror work

5000fps video down the barrel of a Nikon D3 shooting continuous 11fps
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 8, 2009
Ever wonder what exactly happens when you press that shutter release button on your DSLR camera? The following video shows the sequence of events in excruciating detail. It's video shot at 5000 frames-per-second, looking at the internals of a Nikon D3 camera shooting 11fps continuous. As an added bonus, they show the lens stopping...

How many Verizon FIOS users are in violation of new AUP?

Let's keep those comments on-topic, mmkay...
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 8, 2009
This is a bit off the normal video topics, but deserves some attention as we have the whole comment thing here for each article. Being a bit off-topic, it's actually rather ironic, considering what follows...I'll explain. It seems that Verizon has changed the

Strange mix of high & low tech in The Mill's "Apples"

iPhone + custom tracking rig + CGI = subway apples
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 6, 2009
Since the iPhone 3GS came out with video recording features, a small subset of people have been pushing the limits of what is the accepted norm and using the device in actual production work. When the 3GS came out, Alex Lindsay put out

DSLR Video and Aliasing Artifacts

V-DSLRs, OLPF, and hoity-toity French words
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 5, 2009
If you are shooting video with one of the hot new DSLRs, you are probably aware of the aliasing issues found in some of your footage. If not yet, you will at some point. Just keep shooting, it will show up. Fine detail aliasing has always been an issue for any camera system, but it's particularly prevalent in DSLRs as they lack an...

40 Inspirational Bokeh Photographs

Out-of-focus never looked so good
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 4, 2009
Looking for a little simple inspiration? These 40 beautiful examples of bokeh-heavy photography should do the trick. In these shots, it's the out of focus area that draws the eye....

Release the Hidden Graphics Processing Power in your Macbook Pro

Why you might not be getting max performance from your MBP, and how to fix it!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 3, 2009
Since sometime in late 2008, Apple's 17" and select 15" Macbook Pro models have included not one but two graphics processors, the nVidia 9400M and 9600M GT. It is my understanding that by default the laptop uses the integrated lower-wattage 9400M, which includes 256MB RAM and helps extend battery life. It will run the main laptop...
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11 Excellent FCP Tips & Tricks

Settings & Best Practices that can limit your weeping & gnashing of teeth
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 30, 2009
Editor/Colorist Oliver Peters has posted a really nice collection of Final Cut Pro tips that are bound to save you time and effort. His suggestions are not "how to use", but more about Preferences,...

Black Friday Deal - 50% Off on David duChemin eBooks

Titles at just $2.50
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 28, 2009
David duChemin is offering 50% off his Craft & Vision photography ebooks until December 7...use discount code BLKFRIDY to make these $5 titles just $2.50. Titles include: Drawing The Eye - Creating Stronger Images Through...

Photography Books for Cinematographers

Simple principles to improve the images you make
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 28, 2009
David duChemin is offering 50% off his Craft & Vision photography ebooks...use discount code BLKFRIDY to make these $5 titles just $2.50. He has made the promo code valid until December 7. So get them while they are hot!

Avatar - The Making of a VFX Scene

Wondering what the Avatar fuss is all about? This should help.
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 27, 2009
So unless you've been under a rock for the past 3-6 months, you are probably aware of Avatar, James Cameron's latest film. It's been hyped as a visual effects masterpiece, but why exactly? If you aren't familiar with the unique VFX processes they used to create this film, the following video should help. Watch...

Increase your Canon 7D or 5D dynamic range

Modifying Picture Styles to increase DSLR Video Latitude
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 31, 2009
Stockholm-based Canon 7D shooter Luka has posted a wonderful tutorial on Vimeo on maximizing the dynamic range of your DSLR video. As he states in the video, the tutorial is not aimed at making pretty pictures directly from the is intended to give you more information to...
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Five Simple Steps to Growing Your Photography Business

Scott Bourne offers practical ideas you can implement Right Now
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 31, 2009
Photographer and blogger Scott Bourne has posted a nice list of five things you can do right now to grow your photography business. It's good advice, check out the article here.

Apple's new iFrame codec implementation

Some perspective on this puzzling new format
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 25, 2009
So recently Apple released specs on a new video format they are calling iFrame. What is it, and how will it affect you, the video professional? As all consumer codecs seem to trickle into the professional space in one way or another, I expect the same to happen with this format. So here's...

Stunning Trailer for Battle for Hearts and Minds

An incredible story, captured brilliantly by Danfung Dennis with the Canon 5D MKII
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 24, 2009
Back in May I posted some footage from Danfung Dennis, a photojournalist and videographer embedded in Afghanistan. He was one of the first to use the Canon 5D MKII in military action, and was filming a documentary on the

Ikonoskop footage from Nick Paton ACS

The first user footage shot with the A-cam dII
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 24, 2009
Ikonoskop recently got their 2.1 prototype into the hands of Aussie Nick Paton ACS. Apparently Nick was one of the first to get on the reservation list, and he's been kind enough to share some of the...

What is the role of a Camera Operator?

Gerard Sava on what it means to Camera Operate
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 22, 2009
In this fantastic short video clip, professional cam op Gerard Sava talks about what it takes to efficiently and successfully perform the role of a camera operator on a production set. Watch below.

MacMediaTech podcast premiere episode

An hour of filmmaking discussion with yours truly as a guest
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 21, 2009
MacMediaTech podcast premiered the other day, and I'm one of the guests in the premiere episode. I like the format of this podcast, and...

Sneak peek at new Adobe Photoshop features

Photoshop's new Content Aware Fill tool will blow your mind
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 21, 2009
Over at the Adobe Photoshop Facebook Fan page, they've posted a nice preview clip of beautiful new advancements in the fill tool, using a tech tool called PatchMatch. What it is, is an algorithm that...

The First Must-See short shot with the Canon 7D

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 11, 2009
Jason Magbanua is one of a very select group of wedding videographers that understands how to craft a story of substance and manage to meld it with cinematic visuals. It seems as though the majority of that industry manages to do one or the other, rarely a compelling combination of both. Magbanua was one of the early pioneers of the...

Red Epic shoots Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive 2009

Teaser image and video from the 2009 convergence shoot
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 11, 2009
The photographer that previously used a Red One camera to shoot Megan Fox earlier this year for Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive 2008 has upped the ante for 2009. The crew at Red

Research software automatically de-shakes video

University of Wisconsin researchers and Adobe team up to smooth out amateur video footage
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 15, 2009
Here's a sweet little bit of research in the works...Adobe and some folks at the University of Wisconsin have come up with a software solution to automatically remove shakes and wobbles in amateur video footage. Their solution automatically 3D tracks the footage, then selectively distorts the frame to compensate for wobbles and shake....

Netflix vs Redbox rivalry shaping up

Extensive Selection vs Instant Gratification
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 8, 2009
Have you seen those red kiosks at Walmart and McDonalds locations across the US? If not, you probably will soon enough. With about 15,000 existing locations in operation, Redbox is currently rolling their $1 DVD rental kiosks out at a rate of one per hour. Cinematech's Scott Kirsner has

Stunning Posing Examples for Couples Photography

Photographer Laurence Kim offers beautiful (and free) advice
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 7, 2009
As a learning photographer, orchestrating subject poses is consistently one of the most difficult things for me to do. I have extensive experience with documentary-style videography, so directing posing is not a natural thing for me. It is particularly difficult when you have a subject or couple that doesn't move organically with each...

Music Video shot on iPhone 3GS

It's official: indie filmmakers now have zero excuses
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 6, 2009
The other day I wrote a short post about a new product from the prolific gearheads at Zacuto...they had just announced their latest product, a support rig for the iPhone 3GS and it's new 30fps video mode. I wondered at the time if people would...
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Blackmagic Design offers SDK for Linux Developers

Tools for coders
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 3, 2009
Blackmagic Design has announced an SDK for software creators who want to work with DeckLink Intensity and Multibridge products on the open-source Linux platform. Combining the low-cost of the Linux OS with Blackmagic's extensive line of hardware ingest and playback...

FreshDV Video Coverage of Cine Gear 2009

Extensive interviews and coverage from the Paramount backlot in LA
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 19, 2009
A few weeks ago the FreshDV crew captured interviews and coverage from the Cine Gear Expo held on the Paramount backlot in Studio City. Keep an eye on this video playlist as we update it over the next few days with our coverage from the show. If you enjoy our videos, leave a comment and tell a friend about FreshDV. And thanks to our...
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JJ Abrams is a fan of the 5D MKII

Awesome behind the scenes shoutout to the MarkII and Redrock Micro
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 19, 2009
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Cinematographer Gordon Willis talks The Godfather

The Godfather Cinematographer talks about lighting decisions
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 18, 2009
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NAB 2009 Wrapup Discussion

4 cameras, 3 steadicams, 2 geeks, and 1 overdue wrapup video
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 15, 2009
So we wrapped our video coverage of NAB 2009 back in April, but there was one remaining segment we haven't posted yet. On the last day of the Expo, we took a walk around the Central Hall as four cameras (three on Steadicam rigs) circled...
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Two Creative Stop Motion Videos

Inspirational Brain Food for Creatives
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 2, 2009
The following two stop-motion videos are quite visually engaging and well-executed. They've been shot on a floor from overhead, the perspective and attention to detail is a striking effect. Be sure to watch the credits of "Sorry I'm Late" for a behind-the-scenes peek at how it was accomplished. Inspiring...

iPhone DSLR Remote Control App

Video and Nikon support coming Real Soon Now
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 22, 2009
Over at ProPhotoCoalition I've got a post up about a hot new app coming for the iPhone/iTouch that enables you to remotely control Canon DSLR cameras over wifi. It has some limitations, not the least of which is the...

DSLR Remote App for iPhone

Fully remote control Canon cameras with this app for the iPhone and iPod Touch
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 22, 2009
There's a new program coming to the App Store for iPod Touch and iPhone users. This program by Mike Wong enables complex remote control and triggering of Canon DSLR cameras (the developer is working on a Nikon version as well). The app runs on your mobile device, and communicates over wifi with a laptop connected to the camera by USB....

Psychedelic CS4 Commercial

Proof that the Marketing Dept at Adobe has been taking controlled substances
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 22, 2009
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NASA's Hubble Servicing Mission: A Story in Pictures

Arresting photography from the current shuttle mission
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 20, 2009
The Boston Globe has an excellent story-in-pictures of the current space shuttle mission to service the Hubble space telescope. The images are inspiring.
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Canon 5D MKII Cut / Color / Compress Tutorial

How to cut in FCP, grade your sequence in Color, and Compress it for the web
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 19, 2009
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5D used in Afghan Hearts and Minds video

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 18, 2009
Want to know what video applications the Canon 5D MK2 DSLR is suited for? Watch this video by Danfung Dennis, a photographer who recently started shooting video in the field. Not only is it perfectly edited and produced, it shows the incredible strengths of this DSLR with video. You'll find the video and technical details...
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The most ridiculously cool Steadicam shot you'll see this week

Segway Steadicam transition to stage during a live concert
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 16, 2009
Saw this link being tweeted amongst those who use that newfangled Twitter thingy. It was a behind-the-scenes video clip of a Eurovision performance rehearsal in which a Steadicam operator rode a Segway at top speed towards the stage, leapt off the Segway onto the stage and proceeded...
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NAB 2009 Video - Crowd Control

Quickly create massive crowds for your motion graphics projects
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 30, 2009
At the Red Giant Software booth, Aharon Rabinowitz showed us a unique product called Crowd Control, it allows you to use a pre-built library of actor composites to generate realistic crowds for editing projects.
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NAB 2009 Video - Red Giant Particular 2 and ToonIt 2

Demonstration of the latest versions of ToonIt and Particular
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 30, 2009
Red Giant Software showed their new Particular 2 and ToonIt 2 After Effects software at NAB 2009, here's a demonstration of the featureset offered by both plugin packages.
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NAB 2009 Video - Cineform 3D Workflow

An extensive interview with Cineform on stereoscopic post-production
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 30, 2009
Cineform 3D Part 1Cineform 3D Part 2 At NAB 2009, Cineform was demonstrating their...
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NAB 2009 Video - Marshall Monitors

OLED monitors and new updates to Marshall's monitor line
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 30, 2009
Marshall has made a name for themselves in the LCD field monitor world, and at NAB 2009 they were showing off new models with advanced features like a false-color exposure mode that Red One shooters will recognize. They also were...
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NAB 2009 Video - Beachtek DXA-5D and Blackmagic Design

Beachtek's DXA-5D for DSLRs, update from Blackmagic
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 30, 2009
At B&H's booth, Beachtek showed their audio adapter unit for the Canon 5D MarkII, a box that offers two XLR inputs, level controls with VU meters, headphone monitoring, and a AGC-Disable switch that can defeat the 5D's audio auto gain...
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NAB 2009 Video - Sony PDW-F800

Sony's update to the F700 adds a host of pro features
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 29, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Adobe Flash and Story

Flash for settops and concept software for production
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - The Foundry and CMOS Rolling Shutter

Tools to fix CMOS Rolling Shutter artifacts in post
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Element Technica

Element Technica's accessories for RED shooters
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Redrock Micro DSLR Rigs

Redrock Micro's new rigs for DSLR video
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - CoreMelt

CoreMelt Complete V2 and ImageFlow for Video
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Zylight LED Lighting Solutions

Unique LED lighting solutions from Zylight
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Viewfactor Studios

VF Studios Remote Follow Focus is now shipping
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 28, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Letus

B4 and 1/2 lens mounts for Letus Extreme, Ultimate, and Elite users
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 27, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Focus Enhancements

Media archiving software and FS5 updates
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 27, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Redrock Micro

Redrock introduces a slew of new products at NAB '09
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 25, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - ASL Rip Kit and UniQ PL Lenses

ASL Gear and a new affordable PL lens set for Red and other cine cameras
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 25, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - AJA Ki Pro and Io Express

AJA's new tools for video capture, ingest, and monitoring
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 25, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Cinevate

Cinevate introduces 7 exciting new products
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 23, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Canon DSLRs and Panasonic 3D

Canon Video DSLRs and Panasonic's 3D Concept Camera
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 23, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Nexto DI and Rosco Litepads

Dump flash media quickly in the field and light efficiently
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 23, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Zacuto

Zacuto shows off a wad of new products
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 22, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Cinemek G35

Cinemek's long-awaited G35 lens adapter
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 22, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - 16x9

A slew of cool products from 16x9 Inc
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 22, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Zeiss Compact Primes

A look at the new PL lens set from Zeiss
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 22, 2009
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NAB 2009 - Litepanels

Video coverage from the Litepanels booth at NAB '09
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 21, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - JVC HM700 and HM100 and 4K

JVC HM Series camcorders and 4K concepts
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 21, 2009
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NAB 2009 Video - Panasonic HPX300

Jan Crittenden on the Panasonic HPX300 and CMOS firmware fixes
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 21, 2009

Import FCP Projects into Adobe Premiere CS4

How to import and edit Final Cut Pro XML projects
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 8, 2009
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It's that time of year again - FCPUG Supermeet 2009

Don't miss out on the event of the year for FCP editors!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 4, 2009
One of the best things about attending NAB each year are the people you get to meet. The conversations and experiences shared make the trip to Vegas all the more worth it. And certainly one of the best places to mingle with like-minded folks is the FCPUG Supermeet. There...

Photography is Not a Crime

Know your First Amendment Rights
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 3, 2009
Bostonist is running an article about a photographer who was taking stock photos at a public park, and was harassed and questioned by local police. They informed the photographer that he had to delete the pictures he'd taken. The photographer...

Beautiful Compositing Reel from Coraline

VFX work on the acclaimed stop-motion film
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 3, 2009
Compositor and VFX artist Adam Sager has posted his personal reel from the work he did for the 3D stop-motion film "Coraline." It's a beautiful collection of clips that show the before and after comparisons. Anyone with an interest in compositing and the VFX arts should...

Practical Distribution Options for Indie Filmmakers

Realistic tips and strategies to market and distribute your work
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 31, 2009
Many discussions about independent film distribution options seem to center around just getting your films and content seen, the search for eyeballs online. This strategy is all well and good when you are building an online presence and particularly for those just getting started. But for some months now, we at FreshDV have been...
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MSM on Hollywood's Obsolete Business Model

Journalists calling attention to a floundering business model
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 31, 2009
HDFilmTools shed a little light recently on mainstream media coverage of the major upheaval in Hollywood's traditional business model. With the credit crunch, the rise of piracy, and...
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Why Do LA People Suck? John August Responds

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 30, 2009
Over at John August's blog, he's posted some feedback from a reader that asks the question "Why do LA people suck?" and rants a bit about backstabbing and shallow friendships. John does an excellent job of breaking down the themes in the e-mail, nicely explains the...
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Photographers taking up video thanks to new DSLRs?

Stu Maschwitz says "No."
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 30, 2009
Over at ProLost, Stu Maschwitz has written a great post on the topic of photographers suddenly taking up video due to the new video-enabled DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon. His answer? No, they won't....

Pimp Your Video DSLR with a monocle from Nikon

The Nikon Media Port UP300x puts your eye on the monitor
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 29, 2009
Via this machine-translated blog entry is an interesting look at a product from Nikon, the
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Inspiring Music Video from M83

Inspiring visuals created using Trapcode's Form plugin
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 24, 2009
A beautiful fan-created video for M83's "We Own the Sky" music video contest. Particle animation done using Trapcode Form. Watch below.
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Analysis of laptop display performance for photographers

Taking a look at color accuracy and wide angle viewing
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 24, 2009
Rob Galbraith has a great article that looks at color accuracy and performance of popular laptop displays. They break down a handful of popular Mac and PC laptops in two main categories of performance, accurate color rendition and angle of view....
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Metadata Showdown - Photo Mechanic vs Lightroom

Metadata cage match! Two enter, one emerges victorious!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 24, 2009
Military photographer Tyler Ginter has written a fantastic article comparing Lightroom with Photo Mechanic, specifically in the metadata dept. Why all the fuss about metadata? Tyler's military documentation group and AP...
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Free Deshaker plugin for Virtualdub fixes shakes, CMOS wobble

Sadly for Mac users, Virtualdub is Windows only
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 21, 2009
Virtualdub is the free swiss-army-knife utility for Windows users that offers tons of features and plugins. One of the latest plugins for the app is Deshaker, an image stabilization filter that also offers controls to deal with common CMOS rolling shutter artifacts. There's a

On Set with Red: A Weary AC's Rant

Complaint Department, Pick a Number
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 16, 2009
While Red was making new product announcements in November 2008, I was busy AC'ing a 10-day Red One shoot. Between takes the crew discussed the new camera and sensor options announced by Jim Jannard and Co. The ability to mix and match sensor sizes for maximum flexibility whets my appetite as a filmmaker. However, for myself and others...

Conveying Emotion in Cinematography with Color Themes

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 9, 2009
Outside Hollywood has an excellent post on Color Theory for Cinematographers. In the article, the author breaks down the film Blackhawk Down scene-by-scene, showing the consistent and effective color themes used throughout. In the film, Ridley Scott and DP Slawomir Idziak chose to buck the standard color theory...

Ted Talks - How Benjamin Button got his face

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  March 5, 2009
In this video from TED, Digital Domain effects guru Ed Ulbrich presents on the Oscar-winning technology they built for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Watch below...

Whip Your Bokeh Into Shape(s)

Turn round specular highlights into creative shapes
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 19, 2009
Here's a cool little tutorial that shows you how to make a lens cover that can control the shape of bokeh in your photographs. All this DIY tutorial takes is a little cardboard, tape, and time...Pictures and instructions

Zacuto Zwing-away Review

FreshDV's first look at a very unique mattebox accessory
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 11, 2009
In our coverage of CineGear 2008, FreshDV got a peek at an early mockup of Zacuto's Zwing-away adapter, a 15mm rods accessory that converts a standard mattebox into a swingaway. We've finally gotten a chance to look at the production model, and...

Lowel EDU - Free Lighting Tips and Tutorials

Free Lighting Training
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 10, 2009
On the off-chance that we haven't mentioned this resource before, you definitely need to check out Lowel EDU. It's a free collection of high-quality lighting tutorials, tips and tricks. With lighting diagrams and excellent step-by-step instructions, this is a wonderful resource that is not to be...

FreshDV Reviews the Zacuto follow focus unit

Testing the Z-Focus flippable unit from Zacuto
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 6, 2009
In the fall of 2007, FreshDV released an extensive review series of 5 popular follow focus units. We've continued to update this video review series in the following months. To date we've tested units...
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The Top Frames of 2008

Iconic shots from top cinematographers
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 5, 2009
Here's a fantastic resource for cinematographers and film buffs alike, In Contention blog has posted their Top 10 iconic shots of 2008.

FreshDV Reviews the ARRI MFF1 and FF4 follow focus units

Testing the venerable FF4 and the new MFF1 HD follow focus
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 3, 2009
In the fall of 2007, FreshDV released an extensive review series of 5 popular follow focus units. We've continued to update this video review series in the following months. To date we've tested units...
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Enterprising coder hacks video capture from Nikon D700 DSLR

Hacking your DSLR for fun and profit
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 1, 2009
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Redrock Micro Alters Indie Film Production Landscape

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 31, 2009
January 30, 2009 Dallas, TX - Redrock Micro, the leading provider of cinema accessories for digital filmmakers, today announced seven new products that promise to change the face of indie filmmaking production equipment. Among these is the highly anticipated update to the award-winning M2 cinema lens adapter. The seven products announced today...
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How to Avoid Common Freelancing Pitfalls

Quick tips for freelancers
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 31, 2009
Just a quick blog entry to note a good article over at Freelance Folder on why Freelancing is hard, and what you can do to alleviate your pain as much as possible. Check out the article here.
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New Sandisk SSD equivalent to 40K RPM hard drive

Screaming fast solid-state storage, better battery life
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 30, 2009
One of the announcements made at CES is a new line of Sandisk SSDs. These hard drive replacements are slated to be available in mid-2009, and are orders of magnitude faster than existing hard drive tech. Here's the...

Roger Deakins Lighting Diagrams

Film Lighting Diagrams and notes, courtesy of Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 29, 2009
Are you the type that tries to break down and analyze the lighting setups while watching a feature film? If so, here's a an incredible resource you'll probably appreciate. Cinematographer Roger Deakins has posted a selection of scene lighting diagrams...
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Editing is Mind Control for the Masses

Editing and directing style capable of eliciting a common viewer response
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 19, 2009
In a study released in mid-2008, neuroscientists noted that certain styles of motion pictures are capable of exerting "considerable control over brain activity." In the study that used fMRI imaging to study neocortex response, researchers found that the...
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5D MKII RC Heli Aerial Footage

Testing the Canon DSLR with a remote-controlled helicopter
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 19, 2009
Here's some shots from what appear to be the first remote-controlled aircraft test with Canon's hot new HD-equipped Digital SLR camera. The RC helicopter used is surprisingly vibration free, I did not expect that. Video embedded below.

How to Create a DVD ISO Image from Files on a Mac

Using the free tools on your Mac to make ISO images
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 15, 2009
I had to create an .ISO file for a client recently, using the contents of a DVD (the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders). The resulting ISO disc image had to be compatible on Mac and Windows systems. This tutorial is a little offtopic, but since it took far too much Googling to find the right solution, I figured I'd share the process here...
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XDCAM EX1 DIY 1.11 Firmware Update

Hacking the EX1 for fun and profit
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 14, 2009
I've written recently about a few third-party media options for the Sony XDCAM EX1 and EX3, commonly known as KxS and MxR. One of the prerequisites...

New JVC Camcorder first with Native Quicktime Support

GY-HM100 is the solid-state camera many users have been asking for
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 10, 2009
At the FCP SuperMeet at Macworld, JVC launched a new handheld camcorder, the GY-HM100. This camera is a very compact design, measuring roughly 6" x 7" x 14" and weighing under 3.5 lbs. However, don't let it's size fool you. JVC has packed the camera with useful features that users have been clamoring for. Normally, I'm not taken aback...

Cinevate unveils Pegasus Slider system

Short dolly moves, sans dolly
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 9, 2009
Cinevate has officially launched their "slider" system, dubbed Pegasus. A camera slider allows you to make short, precise dolly moves without the hassle of setting up and operating a full dolly. In my experience, they are generally...
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Your Rights as a Videographer and Photographer

Know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 6, 2009
I just read the account of amateur photographer Duane Kerzic, who was arrested for taking photos at the Amtrak Pennsylvania Station in New York just before Christmas. Ironically, Duane was taking photographs for a
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Cool After Effects Tutorial - Rhythmic Motion Typography

Bring static text to life with this simple tutorial
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 5, 2009
As a video editor, I posses a very basic working knowledge of Adobe After Effects. I can zing around in Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack Pro, but my grasp of AE is still a work in progress. So when I happen across a tutorial that I'm able to quickly grasp, you know I have to share it. Here's one such tutorial video compliments of
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Wardrobe! Weatherman + Green Tie = Chromakey Fun

Offtopic, but amusing
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 31, 2008
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Macworld FCPUG SuperMeet announced

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 29, 2008
The agenda has now been set for the 8th Annual FCPUG "SuperMeet" to be held Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, CA. Doors open at 4:30pm and presentations begin at 7pm and continue until 10PM. This SuperMeet promises to be the single largest gathering of Final Cut Pro users and Gurus during...
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US Army Combat Camera - Tools and Tech on the ground in Iraq and Afganistan

A podcast discussion on the transition to HD and why they are considering DSLR convergence cameras
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 27, 2008
The US Army's Combat Camera division is responsible for documenting operations in Iraq and Afganistan with photos and video for internal, news, and historical use. In this hour-long podcast with 3rd Platoon Leader Tyler Ginter, we discuss the tools they are using in the field, the challenges of their unique workflow, and specifically why they...

Beautiful Music Video shot with the Nikon D90

Nikon's flawed little DSLR/HD hybrid kicks butt in this creative project
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 24, 2008
Canon's 1080p-capable 5D MarkII DSLR has been getting a lot of

Behind the Scenes on Fincher's "Benjamin Button"

A look at the creative process on this highly-acclaimed feature film
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 23, 2008
Via Flippant News here's a behind the scenes look at The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which, like Fincher's previous film Zodiac, was shot all-digitally on the Viper camera. Videos are embedded below. Apple also has a
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Imagineer Systems 80% Off Sale for the Holidays

An Economic Stimulus Package we can all get behind
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 16, 2008
Imagineer Systems is offering high-end, high-dollar software solutions at 80% off through the end of December. To give you an idea of what that discount means, you can pick up a node-locked license of Mocha for AE for just $99. I have it on good authority that this does not...

Bella Editing Keyboard Review

Bella's Professional Series EZKeyboard with Jog/Shuttle
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 12, 2008
Bella editing keyboards include printed NLE shortcuts in addition to the normal key symbols. Some models include a jog wheel and customizable user keys. I've been editing on a daily basis with my Bella Shuttle FCP keyboard for about 3.5 years now. Apparently that is long enough to...

Awesome Adobe Motion Graphics Research Project

Please put this in After Effects immediately
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 1, 2008
An Adobe engineer posted a demonstration of a sweet little research project recently. It's a simple, consumer-oriented method of accomplishing complex motion graphics tasks. Here's hoping we'll see it soon in their products! Video below...

CMOS sensors are tastier without Jello

The Canon 5D MKII doesn't appear to suffer from excess rolling shutter skew
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 30, 2008
We've already seen some excellent video footage from the new Canon 5D MarkII DSLR camera. However, I've not really seen the sort of test footage that reveals CMOS wobble (the jello effect) or rolling shutter skew. While this isn't a perfect test, I was encouraged to see a lot of motion in the following video shot on the streets of Beijing. It...

How to Edit Canon 5D Footage in FCP

Using freeware tools to prep Mark II HD footage for FCP
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 29, 2008
Canon's new 5D Mark II DSLR with 1080p video mojo has been showing up in the hands of new users for the past few days, and the footage is hitting Vimeo faster than you can say "What's a Scarlet?" One of the most pressing questions by Mac users is how to edit the compressed HD footage, which is captured as Quicktime H.264 files at 38.6...

Vincent Laforet posted another Canon 5D MK2 video

Canon's accidental viral marketing genius continues selling DSLRs
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 27, 2008
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Beautiful CG work in a Porsche Spec Spot

Evoking emotion with computer graphics
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 26, 2008

Red Renders Previous Koolaid Vouchers Obsolete

Constant change can be a bug, not a feature
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 25, 2008
The latest non-news on the Red Digital Cinema front is Jim Jannard's coy announcement of yet another announcement date for their latest announcement. This one will be December 3rd. Predictably, the tagline reads "Everything has changed..."

Dymo DiscPainter Review

Dymo's svelte disc printer
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 1, 2008
By Matt$250The DiscPainter by Dymo is a dedicated printer for CD and DVD disc media. Bundled with cross-platform design software, it's a solid solution for both Mac and PC users. I've been using a DiscPainter for a few months now, and here...
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Imagineer Offering up to 90% Discount to small shops One Day Only

No tricks, here's your treat!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 31, 2008
Imagineer Systems is offering an incredible one-day Halloween sale for small production shops and freelancers. Details below...(Courtesy Kevin Bourke, Bourke PR)Just got word from the Imagineer Systems team; they've launched a one-day only, crazy-scary sale for Halloween. Aimed at students,...
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Redrock Micro Launches Cinema Accessories for Video DSLRs

Redrock delivers the missing link for transforming new Canon, Nikon video DSLRs into production-ready cinema solutions
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 23, 2008
October 23, 2008 Dallas, TX - Redrock Micro, the leading provider of cinema accessories for digital filmmakers, today launched new cinema accessory bundles for video DSLR cameras from Nikon, Canon and others. These Redrock products deliver the necessary form factor, support, and features that transform video DSLRs into full-fledged,...
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Should Politicians and VIPs get special DMCA exemptions?

Political campaign seeks to circumvent anti-circumvention measures
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 21, 2008
John McCain's campaign has experienced first hand how much the burden of fair-use proof lies on the shoulders of the general public in today's post-Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) world. Several of their viral videos that included remixes of music and video clips were pulled by Youtube automated software for copyright claims under the...
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Mr Pixel and Mrs Grain

Their analog/digital marriage on the rocks
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 21, 2008
In this three-part series of shorts, the film vs. digital argument is presented as a married couple in counseling sessions. Simply brilliant, and perfectly played! Enjoy.Session 1
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HD Expo Kicks Off

Popular Technology Event Returns to Burbank for Two-Day Event
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 20, 2008
October 16, 2008 (Burbank, CA) HD EXPO returns to its Burbank roots for the second year in a row with two full days of world-class panels, exhibitions and education on October 29-30, 2008. Over the course of the two day event, HD EXPO will present panels featuring the world's leading 3D experts, view 3D screenings, and listen and...
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Building Good Hardware (is Harder Than it Looks)

Product Hype and The Cibola Complex
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 20, 2008
Building good hardware is not a trivial undertaking. We've all seen it time and time again as new companies go through the throes of taking a great concept all the way through the many layers of design and development, to a final shipping product (unfortunately, not always in quantity). We saw this play out for Red Digital Cinema, with their...
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CRAM for Apple Compressor takes the guesswork out of encoding presets

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 19, 2008
RobotHand Software is proud to announce CRAM for Compressor. CRAM is an add-on for Apple's Compressor software.CRAM for Compressor includes a variety of presets for handling HD, RED, NTSC and PAL footage. Presets include High Quality DVDs from HD and RED footage, Playstation 3 movies, suberb quality H264 for the web, Apple...

Interview with Ikonoskop about the A-cam dII Digital Cinema Camera

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 13, 2008
After writing 1200 words on the subject immediately following it's launch at IBC, I interviewed Ikonoskop's Daniel Jonsater about the new A-cam dII. In our 30-minute audio podcast...
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Redrock Micro announces cinescreen upgrade for M2 lens adapter system

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 25, 2008
cinescreen II with cineLux™ dramatically improves light performance for award-winning M2 cinema lens adapterSeptember 25, 2008 Dallas, TX - Redrock Micro, the leading provider of cinema accessories for digital filmmakers, today introduced the cinescreen II upgrade...
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Redrock Micro cinescreen ground glass upgrade cuts light loss

Redrock updates the venerable M2 lens adapter with an improved imaging screen
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 25, 2008
Today Redrock Micro announced an improved ground glass imaging screen for their M2 35mm lens adapter system. The new ground glass element has been dubbed cinescreen II, and Redrock has said it offers "significant...
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Audio Peak vs Average Levels: How our ears perceive loudness

Dynamic Audio Feels Louder
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 23, 2008
Recently I posted a link to, a project that aims to restore the dynamics and range of sound in today's audio production. The problem is that consumers are being fed increasingly...

Can Ikonoskop's DII Digital Cinema Camera Coexist with Red?

5 Reasons why I believe Ikonoskop has found a niche with the A-Cam dII
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 20, 2008

Behind the Scenes at a superfad Phantom shoot

Production of Kung Fu HD high-speed spots
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 20, 2008
superfad is the creative production company behind some of the most compelling uses of high-speed video that I've seen to date. When Vision Research needed a demo of their Phantom camera for NAB 2007, they tapped superfad and DOP Stephen McGehee for a three-minute demo that showed off the camera's high-framerate possibilities.
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Boris Motion Key plugin restores my childlike belief in Magic

This sweet plugin is quite possibly a witch. Burn 'er!
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 18, 2008
I just watched a demo video for the Boris Continuum plugin called Motion Key. The instructor showed how unbelievably easy it was to use Motion Key to remove a moving foreground object, in this case a car traveling across a locked-off street scene. In a few clicks, the vehicle was gone. Bam! Magic. This looks like a seriously cool...
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Cooke Optics /i Technology goes live on the RED ONE Camera

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 17, 2008
Cooke Optics /i Technology goes live on the RED ONE CameraLeicester, UK - 16 September 2008. Cooke Optics Ltd., a premier manufacturer of precision lenses for the motion picture industry, has announced that its /i Technology will be available on all RED ONE cameras that ship from 12 September 2008.Jarred Land, Fire Chief...

Creative Titling Inspiration

Drawing creative inspiration from film title sequences
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 17, 2008
Titles are one of those areas in editing that at times can seem like an afterthought. With all the time and budget constraints in today's demanding editing schedules, titling often takes a back seat. But when creative editors have the time and budget to devote to it, a strong opening title sequence has the potential to be a story within...

Sony XDCAM EX and SxS making industry inroads

JVC Embraces Sony solid-state media
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 16, 2008
An interesting announcement that emerged from IBC this year is the news that JVC will be supporting Sony's XDCAM EX long-GOP MPEG format as well as SxS solid-state media cards....
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Sony Vegas is now 64-bit capable

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 12, 2008
Excerpt from this PR Newswire article via Randall Bennett."Sony Creative Software, a leading provider of professional...

What Indie Gear Makers Can Learn from Apple

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 11, 2008
Small indie companies arguably form much of the backbone of the production industry, and deliver some of the most innovative solutions to end users. They are by and large forward-thinking, in touch with users, and extremely nimble. They also have a unique set of challenges. In addition to producing a polished product...
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Imagineer contest winner takes home $10K worth of software

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 9, 2008
GUILDFORD, UK (September 9, 2008) Imagineer Systems (, creators of next-generation VFX tools, today announced the winner of its 2008 Video Tutorial Development Contest: Ben Heusner of Curious Turtle ( The Company also announced the 2nd Place Winner of its contest, Elad Menashe, a software...
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Turn Me Up! Audio Mixing and the Loudness war

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 9, 2008
Turn Me Up! is a site that aims to bring back the full range of sound and dynamics in popular music. You can learn more about the issue of excessive loudness and find out what you can do to help at The main aim of the organization is...

Zylight Z50 and Z90 First Impressions

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 9, 2008
I first read about Zylight LED lighting systems in the summer of 2007. At NAB 2008 FreshDV made a point to stop by their booth and get a demo of the lighting technology, and we were duly impressed. You can view that video at the end of this article. Shortly after returning from NAB, a friend of mine ordered one of the Zylight systems....

On Set with FreshDV: An AJA IoHD Case Study

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 9, 2008
In late February 2008, FreshDV conducted a series of HD camera tests in Chicago. Cameras tested included the Panasonic Varicam, Panasonic HPX-3000, Panasonic HVX-200, Sony F900, Sony XDCAM PDW-350, Sony XDCAM PMW-EX1, Red One, and an Arri film camera for a baseline comparison to 35mm. In addition to shooting test charts and noting...

Seven Rules for Film and Video Editors

Tried-and-true principles to guide you in the edit suite
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  September 8, 2008
Image Credit: Ryan BaxterEdward Dmytryk, film industry legend in the directorial and editorial fields, enumerates seven rules to follow in his text
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Playback Apple's ProRes 422 Codec on Windows

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 29, 2008
Apple has released a download for Windows users that enables users to view and play ProRes files. Apple ProRes QuickTime Decoder 1.0 for Windows can be downloaded here.
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Showdown at the RWVC Corral: Mac Encoder Shootout Redux

Revisiting Mac encoding options with comparative tests
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 28, 2008
After reading last week's Real World Video Compression article that compared four Mac compression tools, I suggested a more comparative test that took time to standardize...
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Encoder Shootout of 4 Mac Compression Tools

Crunching the numbers on tools that crunch pixels
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 23, 2008
Real World Video Compression has posted a Encoder Shootout between three common Mac software compression options, and one hardware assisted solution. The disparity in price between the tools tested is enormous...with VisualHub at under $25, and Episode Pro nearly...
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Redrock Panel on Independent Filmmaking

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 21, 2008
One of the excellent Super Sessions at NAB 2008 was a panel discussion that featured filmmakers Stu Maschwitz, Taylor Wigton, Dave Basulto, and Alex Lindsay. The panel was organized and sponsored by Redrock Micro, with Brian Valente helping moderate the discussion. Following the presentation and Q&A,...
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FreshDV Reviews the SGfollow focus

Putting the new unit from Shoot35 through it's paces
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  July 14, 2008
Last fall FreshDV posted the results from our 2007 Follow Focus Shootout, which compared 5 different popular models for 15mm rod configurations. We intend to continue updating that review series as new models and features hit the market, and to that end...
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FreshDV Review: Cinevate Ballare Dolly

A first look at Cinevate's camera dolly solution
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  May 2, 2008
We recently had the opportunity to check out Cinevate's Ballare dolly solution. The Ballare is almost entirely constructed of aluminum, and as such is quite...
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Free Non-Linear Editing Software

Tools that cut and convert video without breaking the bank
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  April 10, 2008
I was looking for some lightweight NLE/cutting software solutions recently. Obviously Windows users have Windows Movie Maker, and Mac users have iMovie. Neither are particularly lightweight, and both have a...
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XDCAM EX1 Hands-On - Final Cut Pro Workflow

The basics of using Sony's SxS camcorder
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 5, 2008
This article is part of a series of tests FreshDV conducted with the Sony XDCAM PMW-EX1. Thanks to Miami rental house and Sony dealer Midtown Video for providing a XDCAM EX camera. And thanks to DSC Labs for providing test chart patterns. You can read more about...

Red's Rolling Shutter and Flash Strobes

Limitations to know and avoid when shooting with the Red One
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 14, 2007
The Red Digital Cinema camera uses a CMOS sensor with a rolling shutter. One of the criticisms of the camera is the fact it is subject to rolling shutter artifacts in some...

FreshDV Reviews Matte Box Systems

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  November 6, 2007
About two years ago, FreshDV published a full review of several popular Matte Box units in the November 2007 print issue of DV Magazine. While we were working with the matte boxes we captured some hands-on video...

Video Tutorial: Understanding Depth of Field

Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 9, 2007
Depth-of-Field. In simple terms DOF can be defined as "the distance in front of and beyond the subject that appears to be in focus." Seems simple, right? But the myriad factors that contribute to a composition's Depth of Field are often misunderstood (and frequently overly-simplified), leaving many filmmakers and photographers...
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How To Setup and Configure the Brevis 35mm Adapter

Configuring a 35mm lens adapter with the HVX200
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 9, 2007
The advent of affordable 35mm Lens Adapter systems have brought a new level of creative control to digital filmmakers. With that comes a new level...
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FreshDV Follow Focus System Reviews

A detailed look at 10 popular follow focus units
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  October 2, 2007
FreshDV's full review of five popular follow focus units was first
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Nikon lens tests with the SGPro 35mm adapter and HVX200

Comparative lens testing for 35mm adapters
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  June 7, 2007
Matt Garrett and Bruce Allen recently conducted a series of Nikon lens tests with a...
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35mm Adapter Shootout - Redrock Micro M2, Cinevate Brevis 35 and SGPRO

An early comparison of 35mm lens adapter options
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  February 8, 2007
Accomplished shooter Phillip Bloom has shared a lengthy shootout review comparing three popular 35mm adapters; the Cinevate Brevis, SG PRO, and Redrock M2....
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Free Flash Video Converter for Mac Users

Free tools for flash video conversion
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  January 26, 2007
Another great post over at Jake Ludington's blog, how to use freely available ffmpegX to convert video files into Flash video for web use. He's even got instructions on how to embed the videos in a web page using...
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35mm Lens Adapter Shootout - Cinevate Brevis vs Redrock M2

Two popular 35mm lens adapters go mano-a-mano
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  December 14, 2006
35mm camcorder lens adapters are a strange breed. Part science, part art, they allow a shooter to utilize SLR still image and high-end 35mm cinema lenses on a video camera. DVXuser has an active DIY community that continually churns out home-built adapters, and a few of the more...
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Free After Effects Projects from Dean Velez

Freebies and templates to get you started
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 31, 2006
Dean Velez is offering free After Effects project files. Currently the list includes the following downloads:Water 7.0Fire 7.0NAB Class 7.0 - ParticlesNAB Class 7.0 - Colorizing FootageNAB Class 7.0 - Colorizing LogosNAB Class 7.0 -...
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Top 10 Final Cut Pro Tips and Tricks for Editors

A classic collection of quick tips and time savers
Written by Matthew Jeppsen  |  August 13, 2006
The following are my Top 10 Final Cut Pro Tips, with many thanks to the talented guru's over at the (now defunct) ProAppTips. These tips have either made my life as an editor easier, enhanced the creative workflow process, or are just really cool. Here they are, in no particular order.FCP BIG Keyframe EditorExpand your...