As a few ProVideo Coalition writers have already mentioned, 2014 saw a continuation of a number of developments that have dominated the industry for the last few years. The democratization of the industry continues to be a hot topic, and it has and will continue to change the way current and future professionals approach their careers. Although it wasn’t a new technology, the way in which drones have been embraced by different corners of the industry was also something that really came into focus in 2014. The year proved that 4K isn’t going anywhere and also saw updates and announcements from companies like Adobe which many are getting used to now that most people realize the subscription model is here to stay.
2014 also saw changes for PVC itself, as well as the introduction of a number of new contributors to the site. From those contributors we’ve gotten details about everything from an exploration around how After Effects and C4D work together, to hardware reviews, to tips about shooting international documentaries, to the ways in which time code has and hasn’t changed over the years.
2015 will see just as many different and unique perspectives as these authors explore and talk through how these trends and technologies continue to develop. The year will also mark some big changes for PVC, as we’re set to roll out a new version of the site that will help you find new and archived content in a much more effective way. But before we can get to all of that, we want to wrap up the year with a run-down of what each author had to show us in 2014. If you want to make sure you see all of these articles when they go live, please sign up to receive our weekly newsletter.
Let’s take a look at the highlights from PVC in 2014…
The year saw the launch of a new type of article for the site with our roundtable format, where we throw out a particular topic or subject to our writers and see what they have to say about it. The first was a discussion about the logistics and realities of 4K, which we followed up with an exploration of how NAB 2014 fit into everyone’s schedules. Later in the year, we took a look at the consolidation of media & entertainment and wrapped up the series with a look at what our writers will remember about 2014.
Additionally, we started “Ask an Expert,” which allows you to email a question that our writers will talk through and/or explore in a future column. October’s edition dealt with marketing yourself and applying a LUT, while the November edition dug into upgrade issues and retiming animations within titles, among other topics. If you have a question that you’d like to see answered in a future column, please email us at [email protected].
Scott Simmons kicked off the year with a Q & A with Avid about Sphere, ISIS and Interplay, which was illuminating for him and for readers since like many he wasn’t sure what made all of these products different, and used the opportunity to set things straight. He continued the Q & A format with some questions about the hard drive docking stations everyone uses, and asked whether an editor needed to spend thousands of dollars on a color grading control surface when he looked at the Tangent Element from an Editor’s POV. He also dug into editing video with the EditShare Field2.
At NAB, Scott was all over the place, as he dug into details about the CION, discussed how DaVinci Resolve got more edit friendly and explored the FCPWORKS Suite, but also had time to write-up some in-depth thoughts about what he saw. Later on he discussed the Adobe Creative Cloud outage and what it meant, and gave us some great review and approval options, which is an incredible resource for any video professional. For all the pragmatists out there, he published an incredibly useful FCPX Menu / Keyboard shortcut cheat-sheet, and also told us how to wring the life out of our old Mac Pro Towers. His Tale of Two Thunderbolt Drives pitted the AKiTio Neutrino Thunder Duo and the Other World Computing ThunderBay IV, and also published some info about a bunch of random hard drive speed tests he performed.
His Useful Tools for Editors articles are always popular, and there were a number of editions in 2014. The Winter’s End Edition allowed him to take a look at a new batch of utilities that had just popped up, while the Editor’s Retreat Edition saw a nice list of useful tools for editors and filmmakers alike. Later in the year Scott rolled out an edition with the Been a Long Time Edition, which caused small software developers to rejoice and wrapped up the series with the Denoise Edition.
At the end of the year one of his jobs had him working with FCP7, which got him to recount 5 features he misses from FCP7, as well as what it was like to install and use FCP7 on a new Macbook Pro with Yosemite. He wrapped up 2014 with his annual Christmas Gift Ideas for the Editor and provided a PSA for any current Avid Media Composer owners.
Jeff Foster has really made a name for himself as the go-to resource for various aspects of drone technology. His Best of 2014 Aerial Videography Gear Guide is an incredible resource for anyone who wants to know about what’s available now, and he also took the time to lay out the FAA and UAVs/drones rules to filter out the facts from fiction and paranoia.
His “Sneak Preview” at NAB detailed a heavy lift drone that is set to revolutionize aerial filmmaking and gave us an overview of the groundbreaking work he did at the show. He also put together a hands-on review of the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ and gave us a first look at the DJI S1000 Octocopter with EOS 5D MKIII. His 2-Day Online Streaming Video Workshop on CreativeLive was an amazing success, while his product review of the 3D Robotics RTF Y6 Multicopter was an incredible look at the device. Those amazing reviews continued with a look at the SteadiDrone QU4D 2014 Quadcopter and cemented his status as an industry resource for product creators and users.
Somehow, Jeff still found the time to write about more “traditional” products that he’s focused on in the past, with a review of the Lowel GL-1 Power LED Flood/Spot Light, an in-depth look at the Steadicam Curve for GoPro Hero3/3+ as well as a review of the DSLRPros 3-Axis Handheld Stabilizers and a product that provides you with the best way to use your iPad Mini in production.
Jeff’s ability to speak intelligently about a wide range of products is unmatched and it only takes a quick look at any of his articles to realize how much knowledge and experience he’s able to pack into everything he has to say.
Adam Wilt gave us a typically thoughtful review of the SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT 1,33x 50 anamorphic adapter which makes your camera a mean, clean, widescreen machine. He also laid out 122 Slides on the Sony PXW-FS7 which were introduced by product manager Juan Martinez and reviewed Luxi For All Incident-Metering Photosphere for iOS and Android. Toward the end of the year he told us about the Veydras Micro 4/3 Cinema Primes and also gave us a first look at the Veydra Mini Primes for Micro Four Thirds when he tested four new cine lenses for GH4s, BMPCCs, and other MFT cameras. All of these articles further strengthen his reputation as one of the top authors in the industry.
Chris & Trish Meyer published a variety of content this year, and audio was a topic at the forefront of their minds early in the year. They laid out a solution to grabbing a really good sound bite you’d like to pull out and use in isolation, provided some details about how their audio chain had been compromised and detailed an After Effects 12.2 audio bug with a simple workaround.
The tips and tricks they talked through this year were just as essential as they always are though. Their free video for a quick and easy white balance adjustment using blending modes in After Effects or Premiere Pro along with a video about using After Effects to create animated text templates for Premiere Pro CC were essential updates, and they ran through the specifics of what they were looking forward to at NAB with their After Effects CC NAB Preview. They continued rolling out free video tips by showing us how to create our own background loops with our cameras and told us how we can get a significant speed boost using a variety of hardware solutions. They also helped us prepare for Cinema 4D Lite v2.0 and rounded out the year with a quick tour of mocha AE CC 2014. Chris & Trish are industry veterans who are able to offer us an incredible perspective that is always appreciated by their colleagues and our readers.
Rich Young is one of the PVC contributors who simply writes far too often to provide an accurate summary of the great content he’s produced over the course of a year. His Premiere Pro News Notes and looks at the specifics of Adobe updates when they roll out really help people get a handle on what is or will be happening with the software, and are already great references to check out when they’re published and to look back on to see if there’s anything you missed.
Of course, all of that is in addition to the specific tips and insights he offers about everything from tracking gestures and screen replacement in After Effects to 3D printing in Photoshop CC or being able to shatter glass in After Effects. Rich is able to provide concise and relevant information in his articles, all of which should be must-reads for anyone who wants to find out how they can impact their work.
Matthew Jeppsen and Kendal Miller are the creatives behind FreshDV, and their contributions to PVC this year were great examples of the insight and expertise they bring to the site. Matthew’s KinoGrip Wooden Camera Grips gave readers an in-depth look at a product they can undoubtedly find use for, and later on detailed how he built a 24TB RAID6 for under $2800 in his Areca 8050 Thunderbolt RAID Review. He also took part in a multi-month case study of the Field 2 mobile system which ties into Scott’s look at editing video with the EditShare Field2.
Kendal also had some great insights for us, as he told us about using Google Earth and Helios for location scouting and laid out a few websites for mood boards, shorts, and creative inspiration. Useful in ways you didn’t even envision, Matthew & Kendal’s insights are always informative.
I could write an entire article that was comprised of nothing but Mark Spencer’s MacBreak Studio updates, but his in-depth articles were things that absolutely shouldn’t be missed. Earlier in the year he got specific about what was new in Final Cut Pro 10.1.2 and just this month told us what it was like editing the Bioneers 25th Anniversary Conference with Final Cut Pro X on a Mac Pro.
Of course, he was consistent as ever with those MacBreak Studio updates, and just a few of the highlights include details on being able to replace/relink in Final Cut Pro X, getting started with motion, putting together the ultimate Final Cut Pro X System and batch encoding in Final Cut Pro X. He also rolled out installments of his Under 5 series, one of which dealt with MXF support in Final Cut Pro 10.1.4 as well as his Motion Magic series, where he documents things like wrapping text around an object.
Chris Zwar had a very prolific year on the site with content that was in-depth in a number of ways. He went Inside the After Effects camera to give us a technical overview for scripters and expressioneers, then showed us how to animate the hand of god and create hand drawn stop motion looks in After Effects.
His Desktop Video Revolution Series showcased how desktop technology impacted video production and has radically changed over the past 20 years, from the early days through 1997 all the way up to 2013. He also dug into that history when he went through how five different NLE products were created from five different philosophies. He continued to look at what it meant and still means to be a working professional when he talked through the desktop video identity crisis and provided us with an assortment of analogies to help understand the video production business
He didn’t totally stray from the content we’ve come to expect from him in 2014 though, as he published Part I and Part II about Z-depth compositing with Particular and told us how to generate a Z-depth pass from 3D layers in After Effects, without 3rd party plugins.
Helmut Kobler saw his first article published on ProVideo Coalition with his review of the Areca ARC-8050T2 8-drive RAID with Thunderbolt 2 and followed it up with a review of the Zacuto Z-Drive follow focus and tornado grip, which he found was a unique way to pull focus while keeping a shoulder-rig steady. He also told us about an LED light with good color precision, power and control and gave us an under the radar look at some cool new products others might have missed at Cine Gear 2014.
He continued his product reviews with a look at Litepanels Astra 1×1 LED light as we as his look at Red Giant’s Offload 1.0 and his ultimate field monitor, which is 17”, lightweight, dual angle, battery-powered and wireless. If you want to see and understand how something is going to work in the real world, check out what Helmut has to say.
Allan Tépper is another frequent PVC contributor whose posts are far too numerous to recount here. Just a few highlights from the year include his look at Sony’s new NX3 camcorder as compared with the Canon XA20, his first look at Panasonic’s Lumix GH4 4K camera with YAGH and his video frame rates translation guide.
Audio is a topic that Allan gets into quite a bit in his articles, and his review of the RØDE NT-USB studio-grade digital microphone as well as his look at the iRig Mic HD from IK Multimedia showcased that focus. He will also dig into non-traditional audio products and topics with his inexpensive balanced XLR lavalier microphone test and his look at RØDE’s PinMic.
Additionally, Allan likes to breakdown technologies and developments that professionals just might be getting into or are looking to explore, and that focus was evident in his 3 workarounds for iOS mediographers article as well as his Bossjock Studio article that documented how they created a “live” radio studio in your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and also asked whether the new iPhone 6+ is the new iPad for iOS mediographers. Regardless of the specific technology, Allan always has something interesting to say.
To start off the year, Brian Hallett told us about a point and shoot camera for shooters that can be easily stuffed in an already full camera bag, then broke down a music video that was shot with all three Blackmagic camera to see if we could tell which shot was shot with what while his Blackmagic Production Camera noise test told us how much we could clean up a noisy image and how to “sweeten” the audio in your NLE.
On the other side of things, he explored Rampant Design’s 4K Flares and working in a 4K environment, wrote about his DJI Ronin Field Test. He also provided a step-by-step video on how to enable internal 4K on the Sony F5 and got specific with what users could expect from the products he was checking out, as he gave us a Blackmagic Studio Camera Review as well as his Sony PXW-X180 Camera Review. Brian’s perspective as an award winning cameraman, editor, and producer is one that countless professionals can and do find relevant.
Dan Carr discussed a few different news items that were relevant to various professionals when he told us about Set Scouter, which aims to help you find the perfect location for shooting and when he told us about Movidiam, a new creative network for filmmakers and photographers. He also got specific with some product details, as he told us the 9 new features that make the EOS 7D Mark II Canon’s best DSLR for video and also wrote up a review of the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt.
One of the things that our viewers said they really wanted to see more of on PVC were articles from a business perspective, and Dan published a number of those toward the end of 2014. He told freelancers how they can get on top of their invoicing, estimates and expense tracking with Freskbooks, told us why we need a mailing list, showcased the many different ways you can automate your creative business and talked though everything a freelancer needs to know about setting up a simple but professional looking website. All of those are must-reads for any freelance professional.
Woody Woodhall started off the year with some tips for maintaining gainful employment, and it’s a list that every professional should pin up in a prominent place to quickly read through from time to time. He also gave some practical advice for pre-production audio for post-production sound while also telling us how to save time and money in audio post.
He was at NAB in 2014 and took the time to talk with the folks at Avid about Pro Tools, explored how iZotope can solve just about any audio issue and discussed the next generation of audio with Dolby. Later in the year he stopped by AES 2014, where he found out about some exciting new products from Lectrosonics, talked through an all-in-one solution for anyone who wants to record, track and mix and got some exclusive info about the DR-60D from Tascam. Whether he was on camera or writing, Woody provided some amazing insights and content for PVC this year.
Kevin P. McAuliffe published numerous series on PVC in 2014, and the year started off with his continuation of his Getting Started with Avid Media Composer 7 series with a lesson around effects. He soon launched Get Started Fast with Avid for Final Cut Pro 7 Editors with a lesson around sequences and kicked off Avid Quick Tip Tuesdays with a tip about finding old audio effects. You Ask, I Answer started off with an answer about moving media from one drive to another and seeing it go offline. Somehow, also found the time to start a Media Composer 101 Series with a lesson that introduces folks to Avid Media Composer Subscription.
Kevin’s tutorials are obviously prolific, but he was also able to write out detailed articles that dug into everything from his NAB experience to what Autodesk Smoke 2015 has in store for users to an interview with the creative mind behind Red Giant Software’s flagship plug-in, Stu Maschwitz. Whether your preference is read or watch a video, Kevin has you covered.
Art Adams articles were as prolific as ever this year, as he gave us The Art Adams Zone System for HD as well as his Rules of Thumb When Choosing a Codec. Art also discussed in great detail a number of the topics in our roundtable articles and “Ask an Expert” columns, which makes them required reading for anyone who wants some amazing insights from a seasoned professional.
Bruce Johnson kicked off his submissions this year with some coverage at NAB, where he took a look at the Dreamcolor monitors from HP, checked out the medium and huge drives from Lacie, went on a booth tour with Matrox and explored the power behind aerials with Amimon. Not to be outdone, Bruce also rolled out completely original and exclusive interviews with presenters and speakers at the Premiere Pro World Conference. He was able to talk with Al Mooney, Kirk Johnson, Adam Epstein and Gary Adcock, just to name a few of the folks he grabbed, and still found the time to give us a quick history of Premiere Pro.
Video interviews weren’t the only focus for Bruce this year, as he also wrote up a review of ProDAD Respeedr and took a close look at proDAD Mercalli V4 SAL+, which should help a lot of people clean up their video. His insights in these articles as well as our roundtables showcase his invaluable perspective around the past and future of the industry in a way few others are able to compete with.
Jose Antunes was also a new contributor to PVC this year, and he was as frequent with his postings as any author we have. The links below are just a quick sample of what he published this year, and he has an amazing ability to find developments and technologies that often slip under the radar and deliver a quick and concise look at them.
His article that jumped into 4K, 5K and 8K logistics was one of his most popular, but he also gave some very sound advice for videographers when he asked how much they earn, and how much they should charge. He kept up with that sort of practical advice when he worked to help professionals assure that all of their audio is legal as well as how to train focus pulling with a DSLR
Jose took the time to go in-depth when necessary though, as you can see with his look at an essential kit for DSLR Videography along with his reviews for MyCloud EX4, a NAS for Dummies, and the My Passport Wireless from WD. Jose has been writing about topics and news items that haven’t previously been covered on PVC, and it’s content we’re happy to see resonating.
Steve Hullfish managed to interview some top talent in 2014 and created what should be required reading for editors at just about every level. With Oscar winner Mark Sanger, Steve talked through how pre-editing, sound design and working on Avid Media Composer all played a huge role in Gravity. He also interviewed 12 Years a Slave editor Joe Walker, and figured out how an editor could get a personal “thank you” during the Oscars, among many other relevant topics and questions.
He continued interviewing the biggest names in the industry when he sat down with The Big Bang Theory editor Peter Chakos and Assistant Todd Morris to discuss their workflow and then told us how to be an After Effects imposter for less than $20. Philosophical and practical, Steve covered a lot of areas for us this year.
In 2014, Mark Christiansen caught up with Scott Ross again to look at where things are headed in the wake of numerous shakeups and what could change trends throughout the industry as the last major VFX studio left Los Angeles. He also conducted an in-depth interview with Brendan Bolles about his Indiegogo campaign to fund MOX, an open source and universal video playback format. In light of the campaign becoming fully funded and hitting multiple stretch goals, it’s worth checking out what this project could mean everyone.
David Torno gave us some free After Effects icons to help keep different versions of the software straight on your desktop and also published an AE menu command id listing. His free script to aid in creating a depth pass for smoke simulations is short and sweet, and many have found it essential. And this might be cheating since we’re supposed to be focused on content from 2014, but if you haven’t checked out his After Effects ExtendScript Training Complete Series, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Over on the PVC Exclusive Channel, we have submissions from a number of experts across the industry, and the links below are just a highlight of what’s available there. Suffice to say, it’s a lot of different people writing about topics that dig into virtually every aspect of the industry in one way or another.
Bobby Marko debuted on PVC this year with a four part series that provided helpful ways for cinematographers to get a grip on lighting. Part I dealt with foreground and background exposure, Part II explored the checker board pattern method, Part III gave us the single source method and Part IV detailed the different types of lighting tools.
Later on he told us how to achieve an efficient production by becoming proficient at pre-production and also told us about a mobile, digital viewfinder for your iPhone. He gave us a few things to remember when asking for free work and documented his 2 Days with the Defy G5. He wrapped up the year by telling us about the ways documentaries helped him improve his storytelling and a number of ways to help prepare for an international doc style project.
Don Starnes explained everything a professional needs to know about money: mainly, how to get it and what to do with it. He also gave us some secrets for filming interviews and told us how to get trained and working as an industry professional.
Dorian Heller was also new to PVC this year, and he started what will hopefully be a series of articles that explore the interaction between After Effects and Cinema 4D by digging into Cineware. He also gave some practical advice from a motion designer’s perspective that talked through logistics around networking, establishing skills and staying inspired.
Richard Wirth writes some of the most unique content available on PVC that serves as a look at the history of the industry. He started the year with his Requiem for NBC Burbank, and it’s one that’s gotten a lot of traction. He continued that with Part 2, where he talked through the technical and engineering advancements made at NBC.
Later in he laid out the problems encountered in the process of preserving our video past which were and are encountered when dealing with analog to digital video transfer, and dug into theatrical television. He took us down the bumpy road to electronic acquisition and detailed how and why SMPTE Time Code is virtually unchanged after almost 50 years. He wrapped up the year with a look at cameras in the sky and a history of how we view our world from above.
Arthur Vincie got us thinking about crew prep, which is often an overlooked element that can make or break a project. He later got us thinking about extras to explore a similar topic that many often don’t consider until it’s too late, then told us the 7 reasons to stop working on that script which focused on long-term success as opposed to short term satisfaction.
We had a few submissions from some folks who aren’t PVC regulars, but their contributions were just as welcome and informative. Jonathan Baty told us what we needed to know about flying with gear and filming non-actors. Chris Potter told us why ScreenLight is an ideal solution for video professionals, while Misha Tenenbaum introduced himself to PVC, and then told us what it meant to teach creative editing. He also laid out what it meant to master a craft and explained how and why some people are offering professional editing services for only $5.
For anyone interested in crowdfunding projects, Jerome Goerke gave us a few pieces about what it meant to conceptualize and create content on the tablet as well as using reward-based crowdfunding to build exposure. He wrapped up the series by looking at the results of these efforts.
My own submissions in 2014 started with a review of Arthur Vincie’s excellent book, Preparing for Takeoff – Preproduction for the Independent Filmmaker and continued exploring what it meant for working professionals to make their project a reality by using the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Pocket Cameras. I also documented the story behind a 21st century post house to explain the different ways they can and do work, and continued that theme with an interview that jumped into the logistics of how to stream a live event. I asked Patrick Inhofer the essential color correction question and dug into Kevin Smith’s Red State self-distribution gamble, and saw the man himself correct some of my musings.
I was all over NAB 2014, but the highlight might have been the revolutionary Andra Motion Focus System, and it was great to hear Matthew Jeppsen talk through what the technology could mean for on-set professionals. I also documented the sights and sounds of Cine Gear 2014 and did the same at IBC over in Amsterdam.
It was great to explore some 4K essentials with a few guys who really believe in the technology and to break down what it meant to utilize Adobe Anywhere on a project. Toward the end of year I went behind the workflow and post-production process of Gone Girl with the films’ assistant editor and post engineer and found out more about the changing face of film and TV distribution with a Hollywood producer. To wrap up the year, I talked with a filmmaker who’s discovered the creative and financial benefits of using and shooting stock footage
I honestly didn’t realize how much great content we rolled out in 2014 until I sat down to write this article, and that’s a testament to all of the writers listed above. 2014 was an amazing year for content on the site, and we’re looking forward to an even bigger 2015.
Stay tuned for details about what we have in store for the new version of the site and some exciting developments at NAB, and be sure to let us know what you’re looking to see from and on PVC in 2015 in the comments or via Facebook and/or Twitter