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DCS UPDATE

As we slog through the long hot summer of 2022 we have managed to come up with another DCS eNewsletter to share.  It includes the sad news that our friend and long time DCS member Tony Dow has passed away after a battle with cancer.  James Mathers offers a personal remembrance of "Beaver's Other Brother."

On a brighter note, we have many members nominated for Emmy Awards, including Cinematographers, and ARRI for Engineering, Science & Technology Achievement.  Sony has announced a major software update for the FX3 aimed at Cinematographers, Blackmagic Design has introduced two new DeckLink adapters, and UK based Cinematographer Richard William Preisner, in collaboration with ROSCO, shares his Diffusion Comparison Tool designed to make comparing different diffusion materials quick and easy.  In his essay this month James Mathers reviews Adobe's new Premiere Pro Best Practices and Workflow Guide for Long Form and Episodic Post Production.

Industry News

So Long Tony Dow…A Remembrance From Beaver's Other Brother, James Mathers

SoLongTonyTitle2I often have the sad task of reporting the passing of longtime and prominent Digital Cinema Society members, both of which apply to Tony Dow who we lost this week after a long battle with cancer.  However, this one is more personal as Tony was a part of my life since literally before I can remember.  Tony starred along with my older brother Jerry Mathers, Hugh Beaumont, and Barbara Billingsley in the TV series "Leave It To Beaver" that went on the air in 1957 when I was only two years old.  The first major vacation I can remember taking was a personal appearance tour of Hawaii where the families were invited to tag along. Tony was always kind to this pesky little brother, much like his character on the series.  Since folks sometimes referred to me as "Beaver's Brother," I started referring to Tony as Beaver's Other Brother, he was definitely family.

Although Tony is best known as Wally Cleaver, he went on to work as an actor with parts on shows such as “My Three Sons,” “Dr. Kildare,” and “Lassie” before taking on a recurring role on “Mr. Novak”, and into adulthood on projects such as “Knight Rider,” “Square Pegs” and “Murder, She Wrote.”  He later reprised the role of an adult Wally on a cable sitcom sequel, “The New Leave It To Beaver,” for several years in the early 1980′s on which he also had the chance to direct. This led to a distinguished career behind the lens as a TV Director on shows such as "Harry And The Hendersons," "Coach," "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," and "Babylon 5″, which also led to work as a VFX Supervisor.  As if all that wasn't enough, Tony also became a noted Sculptor, whose work was once displayed at the Louvre.

It was my great pleasure to work on a few behind-the-lens projects with Tony over the years, including gathering the surviving cast to co-produce a "Leave It To Beaver" documentary in 2002.  Here's a fun little trailer for the project which was eventually rolled into bonus material when the complete series was released on DVD:  https://vimeo.com/239375786/609da3ecbe

Tony is survived by his wife Lauren, son Christopher, and among his extended family, his nephew, DCS member Andrew Shulkind, the SVP Capture & Innovation at MSG Sphere Studios.  In addition to his many career accomplishments, Tony Dow was a genuinely nice human being, who will be greatly missed, not only by his family, but also his many friends and countless fans; I humbly count myself as all three.

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The Television Academy honors ARRI with an Engineering Emmy Award

2022 arri engineering emmyThe Television Academy has announced that ARRI is among the recipients of the 74th Engineering, Science & Technology Emmy® Awards. ARRI is being awarded the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award for its more than a century of designing and manufacturing camera and lighting systems as well as its development of systemic technological solutions and service networks for a worldwide complex of film, broadcast, and media industries.

ARRI SkypanelEmmyThe Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award marks the fourth separate occasion that the Television Academy has recognized ARRI. Most recently, ARRI was presented with an Engineering Emmy for its SkyPanel family of LED softlights in 2021 and for the ARRI ALEXA camera system in 2017.  The Engineering Emmys will be presented to ARRI and other recipients at an awards ceremony on September 28, 2022, in Los Angeles.
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Sony Announces FX3 Camera Software Update Adding Major Features for Cinematographers

SonyFX3 SoftwareUpdateSony has announced a major camera software update for the FX3 adding features for Cinematographers including Log Shooting Modes, LUT Importing, and Timecode Sync.  Version 2.0 for the FX3 software introduces professional cinema line features into the camera consistent with the Cinema Line Camera workflow.  The new Log shooting modes with LUT monitoring create a smoother post-production workflow by enabling Cine El, Cine El Quick, and Flexible ISO modes for recording with the S-Log3 gamma curve. Flexible ISO is designed as a quick and easy mode to allow users to change the ISO to make exposure adjustments. Cine EI and Cine EI Quick are modes that use the camera’s base ISO of 800/12800. Both Cine EI and Cine EI Quick modes produce footage that can be adjusted in post-production to balance highlights and shadows while taking advantage of the wide latitude of S-Log3. ​ All three modes allow video shooting while monitoring with an appropriate LUT to preview the final image. 

Additionally, this update includes preset LUTs, like Sony’s s709 and maintains popular picture profiles such as S-Cinetone. For additional creative freedom, users can import their own LUTs. These imported LUTs can be used to not only preview a final image but can also be included into the footage when registered as a picture profile. ​ ​

This latest software also features additional updates for advanced usability, including:

  • New list-style main menu screen which provides quick access to frequently used items ​
  • Instant Function (Fn) menu display by swiping up on the screen
  • New standby movie screen provides an unobstructed view of the subject
  • Timecode sync and input with a dedicated adaptor cable
  • AF (autofocus) assist function to smoothly switch between auto and manual focus

FX3 now includes added functionality to assist with the creative workflow, such as post-production editing using embedded LUT and EI (exposure) metadata. In addition, two types of shot marks have been added, allowing users to mark specific takes or scenes.  This metadata is available using the latest version of Sony’s Catalyst Prepare or Catalyst Browse applications. A new "Catalyst Prepare Plugin" for Adobe Premiere Pro is scheduled to be released in August.
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DCS Congratulates Members Nominated for 2022 Primetime Emmy Awards

EmmyThe Digital Cinema Society is proud to congratulate its many members nominated for Primetime Emmys.  The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will honor the best in U.S. primetime television as chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  Done+Dusted and Hudlin Entertainment will once again produce this year’s Emmy Awards, set to air Sept. 12th on NBC and Peacock at 5 p.m. PT.

DCS Member Nominations:

• M. David Mullen, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (One Hour) for the "How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?" episode of the Amazon Studios series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

 Mark Doering-Powell, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (Half Hour) for the "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" episode of the ABC series grown-ish.

 Gary Baum, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For For A Multi-Camera Series, for Pilot episode of the Hulu series How I Met Your Father.

• Donald A. Morgan, ASC for Outstanding Cinematography For a Multi-Camera Series, for "The Wedding of Dan and Louise" episode of the ABC series The Connors.

DCS Members on Camera Teams Nominated:

• David J. Frederick on the Survivor team for Outstanding Cinematography For A Reality Program Body of Work

• Bert Atkinson and Daryl Studebaker on the Camera teams nominated for multiple shows including American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, and The Masked Singer

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Blackmagic Announces DeckLink Mini Monitor HD & DeckLinkMini Recorder HD to Support up to 1080p60 & Rec. 2020

BMD NewDecklinkBlackmagic Design has announced DeckLink Mini Monitor HD and DeckLink Mini Recorder HD, new models of PCIe capture and playback solutions featuring 3G‑SDI and HDMI connections. These updated models support video formats up to 1080p60 and 2Kp60 DCI, and are designed to work with advanced color spaces such as Rec. 2020. The new DeckLink Mini HD models are low profile 1 lane Gen 2 PCI Express cards that fit easily into either desktop or rack mount server style computers with the included full height and low profile PCIe shields.  They can capture from decks, cameras and live video sources, and output to monitors, projectors, media servers and more as a solution for playing back directly to TVs, video projectors and even live production switchers up to 1080p60.  Both models are available worldwide for US$129 each.

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DP Richard William Preisner Introduces the Diffusion Comparison Tool to Quickly Compare Various Diffusion Materials

DiffusionComparisonGuideUK based Cinematographer Richard William Preisner, in collaboration with Rosco, has created what he terms the Diffusion Comparison Tool designed to make comparing different diffusion materials quick and easy.  He has photographically catalogued many different types of Rosco diffusion and textiles in a simple and straight forward way to allow lighting professionals, filmmakers and creatives to access the comparisons easily in prep or on the set.  Freely available on his website with shortcuts for iOS and Android devices, it features 20+ different diffusion and bounce materials that can be compared to help decide which diffusion material is right for your creative project.  Preisner describes the tool in this short trailer:  https://vimeo.com/728120620/b66215c9f2

Or go directly to his website to start using this handy tool:  https://www.rwpreisner.com/diffusion

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One DP's Perspective

JM Headshot2014Med
by James Mathers
Cinematographer and Founder of the Digital Cinema Society

DCS Review: Adobe Premiere Pro Best Practices and Workflow Guide for Long Form and Episodic Post Production

PP BestPracticesTitleCardFinal600I hate to admit it, but I rarely, if ever, stop to read an instruction manual, and I’m guessing that I share this aversion with many of my fellow filmmakers.  If we took the time to digest the details of every technology update for every digital tool we interface with, we would never have time to actually take advantage of them.  Whether it be a mobile device, a smart toaster, or even a car, I only want to know how to perform the task that is currently in front of me to get from point A to point B.  Show me the accelerator, the steering wheel, and the brakes, then off I go.  However, technology is constantly evolving and getting more complex, so this approach can sometimes bite you in the ass, and nowhere is that more true than in the area of nonlinear digital editing.

Although my main pursuit over the years has been cinematography, I’ve found it necessary that I also do some editing.  Whether to do my own projects or even cut a demo reel, I had to know how to operate an edit system.  Final Cut Pro seemed the most intuitive for those of us just trying to do the basics and that served me well for a number of years until Apple decided to do a major overhaul of the platform and announced that they would stop supporting Final Cut 7 in 2011.

In answer to the outcry from traditional Final Cut lovers, the Digital Cinema Society organized an event held at Keycode Media dubbed “Migrating From Final Cut 7” to help folks like me decide where to turn.  Offered for comparison were presentations from Avid, Adobe, and Apple, who gave a demo of Final Cut X.  Although Avid’s Media Composer was powerful and impressive, it was more than I needed or wanted to learn, and Apple’s Final Cut X was a whole different animal than the Final Cut Pro 7 I had come to love.  However, Adobe Premiere, as Goldilocks would say, was “just right”.  The user interface seemed very intuitive and quite similar to Final Cut 7, so I wouldn’t feel like I was starting from scratch learning a whole new platform….I’ve been cutting on it ever since.

JM EDITING 2022Even though I could not be classified as a professional Editor, the projects I have been cutting have become ever more complex as the years have gone by.  Our DCS events are always covered with at least 2 cameras and usually more, often in RAW or LOG formats, and I have been collaborating with other team members for editing, graphics, and post sound.  I’m also gearing up to do my own feature length project which will need to pass today’s strict distribution and deliverable standards.  So, it’s about time I started doing things properly, and why I found the Best Practices and Workflow Guide for Long Form and Episodic Post Production such an invaluable resource when my friends at Adobe shared a pre-release draft with me.

It seems like I’m not the only one whose projects have been getting more complicated, and Premiere Pro has been rising to the challenge.  Large scale features, once the exclusive domain of Avid, have started to employ Premiere Pro.  The platform was chosen by director David Fincher and his post team for Gone Girl, which was shortly followed by hits like Tim Miller’s Deadpool and The Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar!.  Hundreds of feature motion pictures, streaming series, and documentaries soon adopted the platform including Only the Brave, Dolemite Is My Name, Mindhunter, Terminator: Dark Fate, Mank, and Everything Everywhere All at Once.

However, the transition by so many high-end filmmakers and pro editors didn’t happen without a lot of hand holding.  That effort was largely run by a longtime DCS member, Michael Kanfer.  Michael is an Academy Award winner for his previous work as a VFX Artist, (he was nominated for Apollo 13 and shared a win for Titanic.)   His current role has him as the de facto ambassador for Adobe to the high-end Post community.  With the official title Principal Strategic Development Manager for Adobe Film & Video, he has led a team that needed to make sure high-end projects using Premiere Pro went smoothly.

This was no small task given that most Pro Editors were as reluctant to jump into an unfamiliar editing platform as I was when Final Cut 7 was taken away.  Add to that the subscription model that Adobe has adopted; while it is great for keeping things up-to-date, it also creates challenges for users to keep up with the frequent software changes.  Like me, Pro Editors, along with their Assistants, are loathe to scrutinize the details of every new release.

Best practices coverCropNow that the number of high-end Premiere Pro users has stretched from the hundreds into the tens of thousands, the Adobe team needed to find a way to scale up their educational outreach.  To this end, they decided to create the Premiere Pro Best Practices Guide as a step-by-step template detailing various professional workflows.  I’m certainly glad to have it available now, and only wish I had it sooner.

The trouble with my earlier process, only gathering the details needed to get the system to work for the one specific task in front of me, was that it caused me to skip over a lot of basic guidelines to allow smooth operation as things grew more complex.  I would drive myself crazy trying to solve a problem that could have easily been avoided if I had just set things up properly from the get go.  That, in a nutshell, is the main benefit of this guide.  It gives a step-by-step process to put a project on solid footing from the start.

Michael Kanfer uses the analogy of entering a long hallway with many optional doors each leading down another long hallway.  If you don’t choose the correct door from the start, you’ll have a very hard time ever getting back on the right path.  Post industry icon Leon Silverman coined the phrase “snowflake workflow” because each one is unique and short-lived.  While this is true, there are certain perimeters for distinct types of workflows that share common setup requirements.

This guide is thus broken up by chapters including “Proxy Workflows”, “Working with Dailies”, “Multi-Camera Editing”, “Remote & Cloud Workflows”, “Turnovers”, and “Working with Productions”; (Productions being Premiere Pro’s terminology for a framework to organize multi-project workflows and collaboration using shared local storage.)   In the sections covering Traditional Offline/Online Workflow, the authors make the point that this is still a vital way of working because even as computer processing speeds have increased by orders of magnitude, the size and complexity of camera files has matched, if not exceeded, that increase.   This method allows for smooth playback and timeline performance no matter the format of the master files.

WorkflowGraphicsBestPacticesThe chapter on Proxy Workflows breaks this down further into traditional Dailies and Proxies that are created within Premiere Pro which offers additional flexibility by allowing the creation of proxies via Ingest Settings.  All the media that is imported automatically has proxies created in the background using Adobe Media Encoder.  Premiere Pro imports the source camera files, understanding them to be full resolution, then creates and manages its own low resolution proxy media.  The chapter entitled “Turnover” details the process of exporting project data and media, (color, sound mix, and VFX,) from Premiere Pro in a format that can be understood by other applications.  This is especially important in preparing for a DI at an outside facility.  The chapter on Multi-Camera Editing details how to marry files into a single clip, not just for the purpose of cutting between multiple cameras on the fly, but also as the best way to sync audio and video.

Collaborative workflows take up much of the guide because when working with others it is especially important to maintain certain protocols to keep everyone moving forward in concert.  There are different settings and workflows depending on how files are shared.  In one scenario, editing could be taking place in separate locations with copies of the same project file linking to identical copies of the same media.  Editors would then share project files, perhaps over the cloud, in order to stay up to date with each other.

Another method would involve simultaneously accessing the same files with local shared storage working on different parts of the content.  By breaking up clips, sequences, and other project items into smaller component projects, any editor can benefit from faster open and save times. They can avoid waiting for the entirety of a large project to load before being able to work on the one section needed.  The important thing is to avoid creating duplicate clips, which confuses the system, and to avoid one collaborator accidentally overwriting and destroying the work of another.  Following the proper protocols laid out in the Guide will help insure this does not happen.

Perhaps the most critical chapters for me were entitled “Before Getting Started” and “Hardware & Settings.”  They covered the kinds of details I foolishly skipped paying attention to in the past.  I would then get stuck down the road, and have to interrupt the creative editorial process to search for a solution.  I would first try asking those more experienced than myself, like our main DCS Editor, Christopher Knell.  However, I couldn’t always reach him in the clutch, and didn’t want to be bothersome to him or other experts.

I would end up scouring the web, sometimes finding outdated information from user forums or well meaning YouTube creators which would further complicate the situation.  I have found it is far better to get no advice than to get wrong advice.  With this Premiere Pro Best Practices Guide, you can be assured you are getting accurate information directly from Adobe experts which will be updated with each new software release.

PremiereProbest practices coverThe only constant in our industry is change, and Premiere Pro, like every other technology platform will continue to evolve, and that’s a good thing.  Another good thing is that the Premiere Pro Best Practices Guide will be available as a living and continually updating web document and I cannot think of a better way to keep current.  It’s available free of charge and you can read it now, then re-read the appropriate sections the next time you are setting up a new project in Premiere Pro:

https://helpx.adobe.com/content/dam/help/en/premiere-pro/using/long-form-episodic-best-practices/jcr_content/root/content/flex/items/position/position-par/download_section/download-2/Premiere-Pro-Best-Practices-Guide.pdf

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Renewing Your Membership and Supporting DCS

We count on your dues and contributions to continue our mission and maintain our services to members. So, if your membership has expired, or you simply want to show your support of our effects, please take a few minutes to send a donation. Membership is available at the $50 annual level or $300.00 for a Lifetime Membership. You can follow the convenient PayPal links, (using any major credit card, and you don't need to be signed up for PayPal,) or you can send payment to our offices at P.O. Box 1973 Studio City, CA 91614, USA.

PayPal Annual Renewal Link – $50.00US:  https://paypal.me/digitalcinemasociety/50

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Checks should be sent to: The Digital Cinema Society, P.O. Box 1973, Studio City, CA 91614, USA. Check payments must be in US dollars. Please note that if you are a student, or otherwise cannot afford the dues, just send a note and we will be happy to extend your membership. ** Student and Complimentary memberships do not include a membership card.

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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

As always, we want to send out a big thanks to all "Friends of DCS," whose support makes it possible for us to continue the DCS mission of educating the entertainment industry about the advancements in digital and cine technology:

AbelCine – Adobe – AJA – Anton/Bauer – Aputure – ARRI – BB&S Lighting – Band Pro – Blackmagic Design - Brokeh – Canon – Cartoni – Cineo – Cinnafilm – Codex – Cooke Optics – CORE SWX – Dadco/SunRay – Dedolight California – Fiilex - FootageBank – Frame.io – Fujinon – Infinity Photo-Optical – K 5600 - Kino Flo – Lectrosonics – Leitz Cine Wetzlar – Lindsey Optics - LiteGear – Litepanels - Luminys - Matthews Studio Equipment – MACCAM – Manios Digital – Mole-Richardson – Nanlite – Nila – OConnor – OWC – Panasonic Lumix – Panavision – P+S Technik – Quasar Science – Riedel – Rosco – Rotolight – Sachtler – SIGMA – SmallHD – Sony – SUMOLIGHT – Teradek - The Studio-B&H – TRP Worldwide – Tokina – Vision Research – Wooden Camera – Zeiss

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DCS MEMBER BENEFITS and DISCOUNTS:

DCS members in good standing can also receive significant discounts on products and services from companies including: Core SWX - The Camera Division Design Lab - Raleigh Studios Screening Services - LensProToGo – Final Draft – Wooden Camera – SimpleDCP – Zacuto – IMDBpro – DECKHAND Camera Rental – Tek Media Electronic Repair – AbelCine – BB&S Lighting – Kit & Kaboodle Craft Service – Birns & Sawyer – NightSky Web Hosting – American Cinematheque – ProductionHub. And if your company would like to offer your fellow members meaningful discounts on products or services, let us know and we’ll consider adding your offer to the page. Visit the DCS Member Discount page for all the details: www.digitalcinemasociety.org/member-discounts

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