Pinhole camera test

Posted by on Jan 15, 2011 in Music, My Work, Photography | 0 comments

Pinhole camera test

This is the first camera test for my next music video. It might look blurry to normal people – but for me it was a big success. Pinhole through black gaffer tape, R1MX 360 degree shutter, 6400 ISO. Many more coming.

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My Chemical Romance in NYC

Posted by on Dec 2, 2010 in Music, My Work, Photography | 0 comments

My Chemical Romance in NYC

Just got back from NYC where I lit and shot the My Chemical Romance set at the P.C. Richard & Son Theatre in TriBeCa — been a while since I did one of these. MCR tore the walls down in full pop/punk fashion. Great show. You can see the videos on...

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Nice Guy Billy Currington

Posted by on Nov 4, 2010 in Music, My Work | 0 comments

Nice Guy Billy Currington

This is probably the last show before the new stage – I’m looking forward to it. I want MORE TOYS!

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To Grain or Not to Grain

Posted by on Oct 29, 2010 in Blog, Music, My Work, Technology | 0 comments

To Grain or Not to Grain

That is the question. I’m considering adding grain to the music video I’m working on for Rich Ferguson. My first step was the standard After Effects Add Grain filter. I chose 5279 as a starting place, because that was a well-known stock – fast and pretty. Well, I don’t know what the people at Adobe were smoking, but this preset looks nothing like film grain. Compare the clean image of a comp from the video with the next image which is the preset. Look at the random colored grain. Ok, fine. But then take a look at a still frame from our soon-to-be-Ex Governor in Predator (ok, not shot on Vision 500, but you get the point). Firstly, there is very little color variation in the grain structure. I tried to find some custom settings to match this look and it seems pretty close. Happy. However, anybody who has looked at color film grain very, very closely will know that there are these rare and crazy, outlier grains that are fully saturated in the r, g, or b ink. There is no way to dial that kind of random color noise into this filter. Bad on them. Now there is another interesting problem about making this digital, noiseless stuff look like film: what I’ll call random pattern resolution. Wha-at? An image on film is captured by molecules made opaque by silver, right? Where they land on the film surface is random – organic if you will. In the case of a CMOS chip (like the Red or Alexa or 5D) it is a grid – a regularly patterned grid. So there is no variation in the placement of the pixels in the image. In the case of film, the placement of these ‘pixels’ changes every frame. This gives film one advantage and creates one side effect (that I can think of). The advantage is that the perceived resolution of film is much higher than the real resolution of film (meaning tested in a still frame), because the human mega-mind averages together many frames of random pixel placement together to form a composite frame. The side effect is that there will be no straight lines on a film frame – because the silver halides are randomly placed on the film. Playing at 24 frames per second a line will be perceived as straight, but it isn’t. With that said, take a look at the custom image of the video. The settings approximate the natural film grain, but the lens flare created a perfectly straight line. It seems to me that Adobe ought to add a sou├žon of distortion to the image. And, of course, if they were serious about the whole affair, they would add that distortion randomly to each layer of the film grain: r, g and b – and then re-average them together to create the properly dynamic image. Now, if you are following the logic, that’s going to mean up-sampling the image (because let’s face it, nature operates on greater grid-detail than 1920×1080 or whatever – AKA infinite) to get some sassy sub-pixel interpolation, and then down-sampling it again. Look for the iphone app soon – meantime, I suppose I could up-res and separate the rgb channels, add a different noise turbulent displacement filter to each layer, recombine and down-res. But I won’t because I would never finish the video. My fellow digital cinema geek and frequent Reduser contributor Dan Hudgins called foul and pointed out that even film grain is an anachronism – noise is the new grain. And noise IS single pixel width so the...

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Billy Currington

Posted by on Oct 20, 2010 in Blog, Music, My Work, Photography | 0 comments

Billy Currington

From a recent iheartradio shoot – link coming...

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Another Rich Ferguson Test

Posted by on Oct 19, 2010 in Blog, Music, My Work | 0 comments

Another Rich Ferguson Test

This music video for “The Human Condition” feels like my Everest sometimes, but it is coming together. Newsroom courtesy Graham Wilson at Silicon Daydream.

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