This is the time of year when everyone looks at the calendar and wonders what the heck happened. Casual conversations about “the fastest year ever” are as typical as they are true, and while many of us use the last week or two of the year to try and unplug, there are many others who are already busy making NAB plans.
The end of the year is an opportunity to look back the year that was, and 2015 was an important one for PVC. The big news for us this year was around our relaunch which happened to great fanfare in early March. The changes we made were designed to improve the look and feel of the site while also presenting viewers with relevant material from our archive. We believe we’ve been able to achieve that goal with things like our Topics Page and Trending widgets, but we’re always looking to hear from our audience around other improvements that can and should be made to the site.
In terms of what 2015 looked like for the industry as a whole, drones have been a mainstay on the show floor of NAB for awhile now but they took their presence to another level this year with the new Aerial Robotics and Drone Pavilion. HDR has previously been championed by various corners of the industry but it finally looked like everyone got the message around why this technology matters with the prominent position it took at IBC. Getting filmmakers to “think outside the frame” is the goal of many virtual reality (VR) proponents, and the push around that technology and education came on strong this year. Right now the technology is in its’ infancy in terms of being able to be utilized in a powerful way by media & entertainment professionals, but is that one of the big changes 2016 will have in store for us?
Scott Simmons brought back his popular 28 Days of Quicktips in 2015 to great acclaim. Each and every day in February he published an editing tip that was a handy and helpful tip for all of the major NLE’s. There were also plenty of non-NLE specific tips though. Be sure to check all of them out.
There’s always a ton of news coming out of NAB, and Scott wrote up his thoughts on the news from Apple, Avid and Adobe. He also completed his annual NAB wrap-up to showcase some high-level insights along with a look at some of the swag from South Hall.
As he often does, Scott asked some critical questions this year which included topics like do editors prefer more shorter clips or less longer clips as well as whether or not an editor is defined by the NLE that they use. He also laid out the four things that he believes will take Premiere Pro to the next level and moderated a discussion among filmmakers who represented Final Cut, Premiere Pro and Media Composer. With a focus on education when it comes to these tools, the debate provided valuable insights into how professionals can use these tools effectively, rather than an argument about which one is the “best”.
28 Days of Quicktips wasn’t the only series that Scott worked on this year, as we saw editions of the Useful Tools for Editors series published in March, late June and as recently as November. He also performed a long term test with the Dell Precision M3800, as he had always wondered what it would be like to live with a PC in the edit suite. That series dealt with both hardware and software ramifications and logistics.
Whether he’s documenting what it takes to turn a sitting desk into a standing one or providing editors with Christmas gift ideas which they can use for themselves or others, Scott’s articles are always a must read. But sure to check out his archive to see everything he published this year.
This sort of wrap-up doesn’t do justice to the amount of content Jose Antunes published on PVC this year, so if you want to get a better sense of the hundreds (!) of articles he published in 2015 alone, head over to his channel.
Just focusing on his most popular pieces, the BEST and FREE video editing software proved to be his most popular piece of content published in 2015 for anyone focused on post-production topics, while our production audience was curious to know more about the best micro four thirds cameras for video. His guide to picture profiles in DSLR video also struck a chord with professionals who understand that doing things the simple way is not always the best approach.
4K considerations are taken into account for professionals of all sizes, which is one of the reasons people were curious about the smallest micro four thirds 4K camera for drones, as well as the 10 Canon EOS 5D Mark II cameras that were used while filming Mad Max: Fury Road. The push to figure out and understand how to incorporate and use new tools is a constant concern for professionals as well, which is why exploring how to transform your DSLR into a live streaming device and a look at the one-man crew gimbal proved to be so popular. Jose is always taking a look at new and updated tools and technology to figure out what can and will work for professionals in production and post.
But seriously, that’s just a very brief look at all the content he’s published. Take a look through his archives to find plenty more from this year alone.
To say that 2015 saw Steve Hullfish publish some amazing content is as much of an understatement as I can make. In talking with some of the biggest names in the industry for his Art of the Cut series, Steve has been able to explore details that other journalists are barely able to touch on, mostly because they aren’t professional editors like he is. And that’s in addition to writing reviews about the Magic Bullet Suite, laying out his top 11 favorite new features of Resolve and asking what Baselight’s announcement means to individuals throughout the industry.
Interviews with people like Pietro Scalia and Cheryl Potter from The Martian, Eddie Hamilton from Mission Impossible and Fred Raskin from The Hateful Eight, are just a few of the pros he’s talked with to ask questions like: how does their relationship with A-list directors evolve? How do they handle long scenes? How is labor divided? Every single interview is a deep dive into the details and process associated with professional editing, and he’s talked with everyone from Frontline editor Steve Audette to Gone Girl editor Kirk Baxter. Not too long ago, countless publications were talking to Baxter about his work on Gone Girl, but Steve was somehow able to cover new ground and discuss details that went uncovered elsewhere, which is proof of how detailed and nuanced these conversations are.
I mentioned that Scott’s 28 Days of Quicktips was back this year, but Art Adams was able to participate in our inaugural edition of 28 Days of Cinematography Insights, where he talked through some questions that are at the top of mind for cinematographers of all types. Laying out detailed answers to questions like whether or not cinematographers should buy their own camera, what the most important light is on set, and what happens when you move away from the look established in prepro are just a few of the topic he talked through in detail. The series as a whole was also explored during a recent episode of the That PVC Show podcast.
Art also put together a number entries in his Secret Life of the Cinematographer series, where he looked at topics like whether or not the TLCI color rendering index actually works, why he sets zebras for 90% white instead of white clip while also offering a few LUT tricks for the Sony FS7/F5/F55. He explored more of those LUT insights in his trials, efforts and full-range LC709A LUT follow-up as well as talking through a few things most of us don’t know about color matching.
I was looking over Art’s archive to find relevant material to link to in his 28 Days series, and it was amazing to see how much of the content he’s written over the years is just as valuable today as it was when it was written. Definitely take a look through what’s available there if you have a chance.
David Torno is a busy visual effects professional whose life is often consumed with work projects, so we’re always thrilled when he finds the time to create a new series for us. His After Effects ExtendScript Training series continues to be a great industry resource, but he’s looking to top that one in scope and scale with his Free Function Friday series, which is a new series that dives further into the Adobe After Effects scripting language, ExtendScript.
Each Friday morning, David has been releasing a new video tutorial explaining a different custom function that he’s built and used in his own scripts over the years. So far he’s provided videos that showcase aeToOSFolder, itemLongestSide and moveToFolder, just to give you a sample of what he’s already published, with plenty more to come.
These two series are just a brief sample of the relevant tutorials David has published over the years, so check out his archive which feature his ExpressionShorts series, Face Replacement series and plenty more.
Brian Hallett kicked off 2015 with a couple in-depth camera reviews that gave viewers a real understanding of what production professionals can expect from these tools. After checking out the Blackmagic URSA, he wondered what there was to not love about a 4K capable, 16lb camera that featured a 10inch monitor, while he found the Sony FS7 to be a very easy to use camera with remarkable 4K video and easy to manage/color correct codecs.
He covered NAB 2015 in force, stopping by the Blackmagic booth to see the URSA mini up close, checking out Canon’s XC10, talking with Steve Wise about Zacuto’s new EVF and plenty more. He then continued to take an in-depth look at cameras people want to know about with his review of AJA’s CION as well as a look at the most popular Sony cameras for video.
He rounded out the year by talking through some experiences he had with run & gun shooting when using a Blackmagic URSA along with a Blackmagic video assist review. He may not have been on stage during the Great NLE Debate, but he did offer a critical perspective around DaVinci Resolve, which has impacted the conversation about NLE preference for many editors. How that NLE conversation further changes and evolves is going to be a big thing to watch in 2016.
Chris and Trish Meyer started off the year by looking at the interaction of After Effects and C4D with a piece about easy flying logos with AE + C4D Lite. Soon after that it was time to focus on a preview for the updates to After Effects that were being announced at NAB which they talked though in detail when the updates were available. They also provided info around the tweaked previews, improved workspaces, and new effects in the most recent update to AE.
While they continued to publish longer pieces that showcased motion tracking, After Effects, and C4D Lite, a big focus for them this year was their After Effects Hidden Gems Weekly series. Many of these “gems” have been in AE for awhile, so uses won’t really need to worry about what version of the software they’re using. They’re relevant tips for both the accomplished beginner looking to take their skills to the next level, as well as advanced users who might have missed out on an important trick. A few of those gems include insight around your color working space, the Alpha Add mode and Sequence Layers, which can take a group of layers in the order you select them. Those are just a few examples of the gems they’ve previews on PVC, but you can take a look at them all over on their channel.
Allan Tepper is another PVC writer whose work in 2015 doesn’t seem to encompass much when forced into this sort of summary, but a quick glance at his channel shows him publishing almost 100 articles this year alone. Those pieces detail production, post and distribution topics while also exploring areas like mobile and streaming technology as they relate to media & entertainment professionals.
Just in terms of his biggest articles for the site this year, his comparison of Sony’s NX3 camcorder with the Canon XA20 as well as his five iOS-capable, dual-input balance>UBB audio interfaces comparison were especially popular, while his breakdown of 24-bit v 16-bit audio explains what you need to know about these formats. His versatility as a writer is further showcased with his look at connecting the best video monitors for editing while also digging into Premier Pro and Pro Tools topics. Additionally, he offered insights that few writers are willing to get into with a look at the difference between terms like camcorder and streamcorder along with asking whether or not 4K 4:2:0 8-bit can become 1080p 4:4:4 10-bit, and also asking whether that even matters.
A few personal favorites from this year include his look at how a person can go about picking the best camera for their live TV studio, his four-camera shootout as well as his review of the RØDE Reporter but again, there are just too many articles to accurately summarize here. Scroll through his archive to find articles and insights that are impossible to find elsewhere.
Matt Jeppsen started off 2015 especially strong with an amazing in-depth look at what it takes to film smooth driving footage on a tight film budget, which led to a podcast discussion with our own Scott Simmons and Brian Hallett. Those pieces were followed up with detailed articles that showcased a comparison test with Westcott’s flexible LED panel and a review of the Gratical HD EVF unit.
The detailed articles are always great, but simple and quick insights can be just as relevant, which he proved with quick posts around creating simple DIY bounce boards and a look at how to setup a c-stand. He’s been busy with a number of projects of late, but he was able to find the time to put together another longer piece that came from insights he gathered on a series of location interviews which centered on HMI lights & looking into the lens.
As he has for many years now, Adam Wilt stopped by the HPA tech retreat in February and put together incredibly detailed reports for each day. He published updated posts for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 along with some final thoughts about the event, some of which were around developments we’ve already seen in 2015. He also provided a pretty great preview of the SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT 2.0x 50 anamorphic adapter and a look at the SLR Magic ANAMORPHOT-CINE primes.
His biggest entry for the year was his piece on V-Log L for your GH4, where he broke down how and why this was something professionals needed to consider before they made a purchase. And for all the Cine Meter users out there, Cine Meter and Cine Meter II were updated for iOS 9 a few months back. He also shared some essential insights during the a recent That PVC Show podcast which was centered on cinematography insights and learnings.
Chris Zwar released the first part of his Motion Graphics for Business series early in the year, which looked at twenty years worth of films that have inspired motion graphics for the corporate market. Part 2 of the series focused on the videos that influenced this market, and Chris was able to show the innovation and evolution in this space and how that impacts professionals working at various levels in the industry.
Over the years Chris has published a number of tutorials on PVC, and with his look at automatic versioning in After Effects he clearly isn’t totally moving away from them, but articles that talk through easy and fast color correction and provide an inside story on real-life After Effects projects are proof of how he’s looking to expand. He’s also been getting into immersive video experiences as well as large-scale video projections, which has opened up new creative opportunities for professionals inside and out of media & entertainment. It will be fascinating to see how this technology continues to develop in 2016.
Helmut Kobler started off the year with a handful of reviews that took a close look at a number of products, as he gave us his thoughts on the Pegasus M4 SDD RAID, the Ikan PD1 Remote Follow Focus as well as the Wireless Follow Focus express kit from Cinegears.
Outside of the reviews, he put together his annual under the radar at Cinegear piece along with an article that explored what it was like to use Freshbooks to simplify his billing process for his clients’ benefit as well as his own. He also compared Zacuto’s Gratical HD to Alphatron’s EVF-035W-3G, and explained why he now owns a Gratical.
Helmut’s reviews offer the kind of insight professionals need in a quick and easy to understand fashion, which is one of the reasons they’re so popular. His reviews of Wooden Camera’s trio of products, Litepanels Astra and Movcam’s accessories for the Canon C300 MKII all showcase the kind of detail that gives readers what they need to make a decision around a gear purchase. Check out all of his reviews from 2015 and more on his channel.
As he does every year, Mark Spencer somehow found the time to produce multiple segments of his MacBreak Studio entries on a monthly basis which showcase an essential tip or technique that FCPX users can utilize. He’s also been able to create a complimentary Final Cut Pro X in under 5 minutes series which is designed to provide similar tips in under 5 minutes.
You’ll have to run through his archive to get a sense of all the tips and techniques he’s documented this year, but a few of the highlights include his look at self-adjusting title backgrounds in FCPX, the tutorial he put together to document how to build a motion graphics toolkit in FCPX and the explanation of how to do a 3D text tracking & fly-through in FCPX.
2015 has been a big year for Woody Woodhall, and his articles on PVC were just part of that. His audio splits, stems & elemental tracks piece laid out some audio insights that are rarely explored outside of textbooks while his learning to listen article provided some essential insight to teach us how un-filter sound in our lives. Both of which were in addition to the audio highlights that he documented from NAB.
Even bigger than his PVC output was the announcement about the first annual LA Post Fest, which is set to be a unique competition that will challenge participants’ filmmaking skills, artistic abilities and the way they view post-production. I published some exclusive insights around how the competition is set to run and Woody talked with Norman Hollyn to discuss editing for it. If you want to know more about the competition, check out the details.
Jeff Foster has been focused on how drone technology can and is impacting media and entertainment for awhile now, and his piece that centered on the FAA and sUAVs/drone rules is a great resource for anyone trying to figure out what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to flying a drone. Earlier this year he published Part 1 and Part 2 of his Aerial Videography with the DJI Inspire series along with a review of the DSLRPros Nighthawk Thermal P2 Kit.
In terms of his non-drone/UAV output, he put together a product review of the AKiTiO Thunder2 Quad Mini SSD 4X1TB, which he’s used for everything from logging 4K media files in the field to editing video in his hotel room. He also published a review of the SwiftCam M3S smartphone handheld stabilizer, which he said would be a useful tool for anyone using their smartphone to capture videos for fun, school or work. He’s another author with a plethora of evergreen content in his archive, so take a look through what’s available there.
As he does every year, Bruce Johnson was at NAB with his camera in hand, grabbing exclusive interviews with everyone from Newtek to Promise Technology to Blackmagic Design, plus plenty more. Later in the year he stopped by the National Drone Show and put together some video highlights along with exclusive interviews with Black Hawk helicopter pilot Christina Engh and info about the Deep Trekker DTG2.
When he wasn’t on the floor of a trade show, Bruce found the time to publish a review of the Fotodiox LED100WA-56 Video Light along with the Fotodiox Flapjack Edge-lit LED Lights as he continues to look for and tell us about lights that are going to be a fit for his work and budget.
The end of 2014 saw Dan Carr kick off a series of articles that were focused on providing some practical advice and insight for freelancers, and that continued in 2015 with a close look at the backup strategy he’s been using along with a new cloud-based production tool that’s designed to simplify the call time process for cast and crew.
He was also able to provide an in-depth review of a Miller Air Carbon Fiber Tripod System as well as some insights around the G-Drive ev ATC to see how it stood up to the elements. You can check out more from Dan over on his site, Shuttermuse.
Kevin P. McAuliffe creates some of the best Media Composer tutorials out there, and his Media Composer 101 series is a perfect resource for anyone who wants to learn how to use the program or needs a refresher.
Aside from his tutorials, his look at codecs brought some clarity to a topic which is anything but simple, his review of Sapphire 9 answered the question of whether or not this version was worth the time and money while his review of Boris FX’s RED 5.5 shows editors how they can expand their toolset and skillset without leaving their NLE. Kevin is another PVC writer whose 2015 output is too massive to fully detail here, so check out his archive for plenty more.
Rich Young’s entries are often the only place you need to go to find out about some of the biggest updates to your favorite Adobe software at NAB or IBC while his frequent roundups of relevant updates and releases can be an ideal resource for anyone who doesn’t want to go hunting for information. He also puts together some great collections of news on tutorials, tips, and related tools assorted with Adobe Premiere Pro.
Additionally, Rich found out whether or not the Microsoft Surface Book was really twice as fast, showcased some Premiere Quicktips, told us about nebula construction in After Effects and in honor of the year’s biggest film, made sure that anyone who wants to create a Star Wars-style lightsaber & lightning effects knew where to turn.
Rounding things out, Eric Escobar wrote a piece that takes on the changing environment in production and post by telling us how to survive the post house implosion, but his biggest piece of the year was his look at whether or not the video editor position was a job on the edge of extinction. It’s a question that’s only going to become more relevant to ask in the coming years, and we’ve already heard from various professionals about what technology changes mean today and far into the future. It was also something Eric talked through at length during a That PVC Show podcast.
Bobby Marko put together a couple interviews with cinematographers Paul Koestner and Nancy Schreiber to showcase what it means for them to live and work in very different capacities on very different projects. He also gave us a first look at SmallHD’s new 702 7-Inch 1920×1080 monitor.
Our resident industry historian Richard Wirth has written everything from a requiem for NBC Burbank to the history of the unchanging SMPTE timecode, but his 2015 was highlighted with an article around the restoration of a piece of television history as well as a look at Ernie Kovacs and how he made comedy a uniquely TV experience. You can check out more from Richard and other PVC writers that dig into industry history over on that channel.
While we were only able to feature a single entry from Don Starnes and Mike Zimmer this year, they made the most of it by providing us with a DIY DCP and a tutorial to use any midi controller as a video controller in your editing software, respectively.
You can run through all of the articles I submitted this year, and there were actually quite a few. Opinions might vary, but I was especially proud to find out about the FS7 development process, future camera features and more with Sony Professional, discovering what the past, present and future looked like for Media 100, talking through what IBC 2015 was all about, what it was like to film Mad Max: Fury Road and what people at every level can and should do to find their first or latest job in production and post.
Lastly, we published a number of ebooks this year that should serve as a valuable resource, regardless of where you’re working in the field. We put together a series of downloadable keyboard shortcut documents for Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X, Sony Vegas Pro, Lightworks and DaVinci Resolve, listed out 7 things you need to know about choosing and using green screen materials and went to 4K and beyond with a number of industry professionals. Make sure you check out all of our ebook offerings.
Like most years, there was an embarrassment of riches in terms of content on PVC in 2015, and this article is just a small sample of the great pieces of content you’ll find in our archives. Keep checking this space for the latest around the tools you’re using and want to be using, and please get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter to let us know how we’re doing.