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Capturing People in VR Cinematography

Close-up VR imagery from camera-originated material is awesome but tricky, says multimedia and VR pioneer Michael Naimark. The question is, how do you actually DO it? Taking Google's collaboration with Go Pro on the Jump VR 16-camera rig as a starting point, Michael and his team began to map out the specifics of managing point of view inside a 360 degree panorama. It requires a combination of complexity (stitching this many POVs together) and simplicity (panoramic sound helps a lot!) that we're just now beginning to explore. Ready for a wild ride into the future of capturing people in the world of VR cinematography? Start here.

Advanced Keying in Blackmagic Design Fusion * Blackmagic Design Fusion * Simon Ubsdell

Advanced Keying in Blackmagic Design Fusion

Following his well-received exploration of the power of customized keying inside Blackmagic Design Fusion, Simon Ubsdell goes even further into his look at the liberation from the inevitable limitations of other people's keyers by building your own inside Fusion. Along the way, you'll learn about Channel Booleans and many other insights that you'll be able to use in all of your Fusion projects.
How To Become A (Wanted) Film Editor * Art of the Edit * Sven Pape

How To Become A (Wanted) Film Editor

What does it take to master the art of film editing? Sven Pape, host of This Guy Edits, shares 7 recommendations that may just turn you into a storyteller in demand. Or more specifically, he says, these are his thoughts on how to become what you love, whether directing, screenwriting, shooting, acting: anything that you have a passion for.
Gravity's Mark Sanger: Cut & Talk with Oscar-Winning Editor * Art of the Edit * Mark Sanger and Christian Jhonson

Gravity's Mark Sanger: Cut & Talk with Oscar-Winning Editor

Academy Award-winning editor Mark Sanger stopped his usual activities to talk about working with director Alfonso Cuarón and his amazing work on Gravity, what to cut out of the film, and what to cut out of life with his guiding principle: make yourself invaluable, but never at the expense of others.

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Breaking the Drone Code

An understanding of the Drone Code may help clarify the lines the FAA and UAS/UAV/drone owners have drawn in the sand for each other, says Douglas Spotted Eagle, CEO of Drones Plus, Inc. The Drone Code may seem to shift at the whims of legislation, lobbyists, manufacturer organizations, government agencies, and UAS users. It doesn't. Here is Part 1 of your path to distinguishing shifting sands vs. the solid underlying large rocks anchored to the earth. Read on...

How to Spawn A Clone in Adobe After Effects

Want to learn how to create a cool clone spawn effect in Adobe After Effects? Follow along with After Effects whiz Tobias from Surfaced Studio in this exciting new visual effects tutorial that combines green screen using Keylight, CC Vector Blur, the Liquify Effect, CC Particle World, and much more, delivered in Tobias' inimitable style! Read on...

A Beautiful Planet, with Canon & Cinematographer James Neihouse, ASC

Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast recently got to speak with James Neihouse, ASC, to discuss his experience making the IMAX film A BEAUTIFUL PLANET. The film, a collaboration between Canon and NASA, was shot from space (oh yeah), entirely on Canon EOS C500 and the Canon EOS 1D-C. It's an amazing story about how James decided that Canon cameras were the way to go, and the absolutely astounding lengths that the crew went in order to capture these extraordinary images. Read on...

And while you're visiting the Creative COW Blogs, Mathieu Marano of My Canadian Studio offers a close-up look at the new Canon C300 Mark II. New features abound, including 4K, and what DP Alexis Landriault declares is the best autofocus on the market. Read on...

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G-Tech G-Rack 12: Fast, Easy, Expandable, A Winner

Already having a great reputation for standalone RAID arrays, G-Tech makes a bold move into shared storage with the G-Tech G-RACK 12. With 120 TB, expandable to 480 TB, blazing speeds, a built-in server (no separate computer or metadata servers needed!) and incredibly easy set-up and management software, longtime broadcast and facility engineer Bob Zelin says that the G-RACK 12 is a winner. Bob doesn't say that often, so you're going to want to check out all the details -- and because it's Bob, there are a lot of details! Read on....

Creating A Flame on Your Finger with After Effects * Adobe After Effects * Tobias Gleissenberger

Creating A Flame on Your Finger with After Effects

It is easy to do some motion tracking and attach a basic stock footage element of fire onto your hands, but there is a little bit of work involved if you actually want to make it look good. In this intermediate tutorial by After Effects expert Tobias, you'll see how to use a fire stock footage element to set your thumb on fire! There are lots of useful tricks for null objects, expressions, and more in this tutorial that will help you create all sorts of other cool visual effects -- or set even more things on fire!

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Just admit it. You're afraid of the empty timeline. Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who can dive right into cutting a new project. Then there are the other 99% of us for whom there’s nothing worse than that moment after you’re prepping, and you have to face it: time to start cutting something. As an editor for high-profile shows including Empire and Burn Notice, Zack Arnold has been there. Here Zack, shares 10 proven tips from his own experience for not just beating editor's block, but completely avoiding it. Read on....


For the first time in its history, the American Cinema Editors student award nominations were swept by students from a single school: the University of North Carolina School for the Arts. In Part 1 of her look at this program's unprecedented feat, Advice From New Grads, Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Peña speaks to the students -- Aneesa Mahboob, Chris Dold, and Emily Rayl -- about the first part of their journey as filmmakers, the benefits of formal education, how they see the world from here, as well as their remarkable night at their first (and surely not last) Hollywood awards banquet.

In Part 2, How to Make Film School Work, Kylee speaks with UNCSA faculty members Julian Semilian, ACE, and Michael Miller, ACE about balancing technique and creativity, and what it takes to succeed not just in school, but in your career afterward.

Whether you're a student or a seasoned pro, prepare to be inspired, challenged, and reminded why we do this.​ Read on....

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'Art of Post' Art Show Features Creativity After Delivery

The creative folks in post-production often apply their artistic skills beyond their jobs. They sometimes even apply to it to art. This is every bit as true for technical and administrative people who don't have a specific outlet for their artistic impulses on the job. The folks at the bi-coastal visual effects and motion graphics company came up with a fantastic idea: let's put some of the work they've created in galleries. and call it "The Art of Post." Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Peña responded strongly. "When I saw the Art of Post event featuring art created by post production professionals in Los Angeles and New York, I knew it wasn't just a new idea, it was necessary." Learn more about the remarkable event, enjoy the work of some remarkable artists, and perhaps think more broadly about what it means to be creative. Read more...

Depth of Field: Gregg Toland, Citizen Kane and Beyond * TV & Movie Appreciation * Tim Wilson

Depth of Field: Gregg Toland, Citizen Kane and Beyond

Whenever somebody equates "shallow depth of field" and "cinematic look," it's important to remember that the opposite is also sometimes true. Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson celebrates the work of Gregg Toland, ASC, born this week in 1904 -- the first master of extreme depth of field in movies like Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath that forever changed what is possible for humans to do with cameras. This reprise of a classic article from the Creative COW Archives also offers a look at what Toland's approach to cinematic composition can mean for YOUR shooting.
New Trends and Technology at Cine Gear Expo 2016 * Cinematography * Susan Lewis

New Trends and Technology at Cine Gear Expo 2016

Cine Gear Expo 2016 exhibits open Friday June 3 and 4, at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California with major screenings, filmmaker panel discussions, groundbreaking techniques and new equipment premiers that are sure to influence the filmmaking industry. Catering to the world’s top motion picture, video and new media visual artists, Paramount’s prestigious back lot is the ideal setting for professionals to meet with colleagues and nearly 300 top equipment vendors to see live demos and get their hands on the latest gear. Take a look at how this year's hottest trends are shaping up.

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What Ever Happened to Metadata?

At the heart of workflow is the ability to actually find your media, graphics, and other assets. The question is, how?

In one of the most-viewed threads in the Creative COW Forums for quite some time, trailer producer, VFX artist, business owner and software developer Simon Ubsdell kicks off the conversation by observing, “For more than half a decade (at least), we have been talking about how metadata is changing the world around us, and yet in one important area, we seem not to be using it that much, if at all. And that's media organization.

“Today media organization stars Bins, Folders, Libraries, Events, Keyword Collections and more. We are still contentedly throwing our material into various containers and sub-containers, and sub-sub-containers - but what if there was a different way?”

This wide-ranging conversation covers editing and project management with resources including Apple FCPX, Adobe Premiere, Avid Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve, camera formats, media containers like MXF, third-party asset managers and more – including compelling speculation about what kinds of tools we would most like to see in the future.

No matter your post-production platform of choice, if you have anything to do with managing, organizing, or working with media, this is a conversation we think you’ll really enjoy. Take a look!

Metadata & The Future of Filmmaking * Art of the Edit * Dave Stump, ASC

Metadata & The Future of Filmmaking

Dave Stump, ASC has worked as a DP, effects cinematographer and VFX supervisor on dozens of films including Quantum of Solace, X-men The Bourne Identity, Star Trek: First Contact, Batman Forever and many more. He chairs the ASC subcommittees on Cameras, and Metadata, and in 2000, was part of a team that received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for hand-development of advanced camera data capture systems. Although this interview was first published in 2008, we've found that the ideas explored here are becoming more relevant by the day. Join Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson and COW Leader and camera expert Gary Adcock for this compelling look at the future of filmmaking.

Creative Studio leads Pink Through the Looking Glass * Art of the Edit * COW News

Creative Studio leads Pink Through the Looking Glass

The Creative Studio's Director of CG Steve Parish led the VFX team, who first worked to bring together eighteen passes of a continuous seventy second shot as Pink moves across the chessboard in a fully CG generated environment. Meyers and Sarsfield had worked carefully to capture the motion controlled camera move, ensuring that there were no intersections between the characters, but the VFX team had a lot of clean up on the chessboard to create a clean plate before adding reflections and shadows to the floor in order to sell through the separate passes of Pink's game pieces interacting in the scene.

Adventures in File Transfer: Crawford's Transformed Workflow *  * COW News

Adventures in File Transfer: Crawford's Transformed Workflow

The boom in Georgia location production has led to new opportunities for Atlanta's Crawford Media Services to provide everything from dailies to finishing, all the way through archiving. The trick is that while, locations are local, the productions and client operating bases may be across the country, or even on other continents. As media bloomed to over 200TB daily, FTP was no longer an option. To the rescue rode Signiant Media Shuttle.

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Simon Ubsdell's FCPX Workflow Wizardry: One Smart Collection to Rule Them All

The first key to workflow wizardry is to exploit an application's strengths. In exploring the nuances of FCPX, famed workflow wizard Simon Ubsdell opens up some of the secrets around one of its most uniquely powerful, but sorely underused tools: Smart Collections. This isn't about replacing your existing project management (although it can). It's about leveraging some of the ridiculously awesome power of the Smart Collection to make your work flow far more easily than you might have imagined.

Another aspect of Simon's wizardry: this is something he quickly whipped together springing out of two very energetic conversations in Creative COW's FCPX or Not: The Debate forum. The first is based on Charlie Austin's presentation for FCPWORKS' FCP Exchange, called Making the Switch to X: A Comparative Study. As the conversation evolved, Simon more deeply explored the specific question, what might happen if you used one Library, one Event, one Smart Collection to organize everything? He continued to explore this on the new thread from whence this tutorial emerges, One Smart Collection to Rule Them All.

Take a look at this, then take a look at those, and prepare for your workflow to be transformed. Not unlike magic. See for yourself!

Turning After Effects CC Particle World Into a 3D Galaxy * Adobe After Effects * Graham Quince

Turning After Effects CC Particle World Into a 3D Galaxy

Want to create an epic space scene with only the tools built into Adobe After Effects? Starting with After Effects' native CC Particle World, Graham Quince shows how to create a spectacular 3D spiral galaxy using null objects, 3D layers, and expressions to define where CC Particle World adds particles in (After Effects) space.

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NAB NLEs 2016: The Revolution Is No Revolutions

While the emphasis on "revolutionary" product releases at the annual NAB Show makes for splashy demos, they can sometimes get in the way of what customers really want: improvements to the products that they already own, just making them work better. Lo and behold, that's what we got in 2016! Rock-solid releases long on increased performance, stability, and interoperability. Useful releases? THAT's revolutionary! Join Creative COW's Tim Wilson for a closer look at NLE software in particular, and the ways in which developers are delivering on the promise of truly meaningful releases. Read more....

In a special NAB 2016 presentation at the FCP Exchange Workshop sponsored by FCPWORKS, Creative COW leader Charlie Austin offers "Making the Switch to X: A Comparative Study" at his Creative COW Blog, in which he compares FCP X to other NLEs from an editor's perspective. In addition to describing the "intangible" time saving benefits of working in FCP X vs. others, he also presents some unique benefits of FCP X that are impossible or impractical in other NLEs. Even if you prefer editing in other NLEs, Charlie describes some very compelling reasons to add FCP X to your workflow.

In fact, the folks at FCPWORKS were kind enough to hook us up with nearly 6 hours of presentations from the FCP Exchange workshops! You can find them all at FCPWORKS' Creative COW Blog, covering topics including FCPX and Apple Motion tips, specific examples of broadcast workflows and new broadcast toolsets, VR/360, and much more. We wanted to draw your attention to one of these in particular, "The State of the Union 2016" by FCPWORKS' Workflow Architect Sam Mestman. You'll definitely want to take a look around to see what other kinds of great stuff is there.

While you're at the Creative COW Blogs, be sure to check out the rest of our NAB coverage, including new interviews with Adobe and Canon, and much more! Check it out!

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Bob Zelin's NAB 2016 Review: Everything You Own is Obsolete

Zelin Nation rejoices as the legendary Bob Zelin's legendary NAB wrap-up returns, featuring the unique insights of this industry-leading broadcast engineer into the stories that matter most. You won't find a better overview of shared storage, IO devices, converters, studio cameras, and Thunderbolt 3, because there aren't any. Check it out. Legendary.

Kylee Pena at NAB

Kylee Peña's NAB 2016 Review: It's The Little Things

This was not an exciting year for the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas, says Creative COW Associate Editor Kylee Peña, but that doesn't mean it wasn't important. The "exciting" stuff isn't what affects post production workflow the most, at least not immediately. Kylee notes that we may not even know NAB 2016's most important announcements for a few more years. After all, it might have been a long time after the introduction of 4K or even HD at NABs past before those mattered to YOU. So as important as NAB is, that's why it's important not to lose sight of the things that matter the other 51 weeks of the year.

NAB Audio & Video Interviews Galore!

Last week we teased you with interviews from Adobe, AJA, and Pro Tools. This week, it's gen-yoo-ine STAMPEDE, with new interviews from Canon, Sony, HP, VR, 4K, 8K, and much more. These come courtesy of Sarahelizabeth Mason & Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast, and Mathieu Marano from My Canadian Studio. You can follow the links to those individually, or you can save a few steps and head straight to the Creative COW Blogs, where in addition to those, you'll also find Walter Biscardi's look at DaVinci Resolve as an NLE, FCPX musings from Charlie Austin, advanced Avid conform training from Scott Freeman, UAV/Drones with Douglas Spotted Eagle, cable cutting with Creative COW Co-Founder and CEO Ronald Lindeboom, and much more! But yeah, NAB interviews GALORE!

Captain America The First Avenger

The VFX Files: 13 VFX Houses Combine to Create Captain America: The First Avenger

To celebrate the release of Captain America: Civil War on Friday, we're going to take you back to our exclusive in-depth look at the making of Captain America: The First Avenger. Creative COW's Debra Kaufman spoke to all thirteen of the VFX houses involved in the making of this Marvel classic, describing the specific work that each of them did. It's one of the most insightful peeks at real-world epic moviemaking, and the perfect way to get ready for Friday's big opening!

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Creative COW Turns 15! A Celebration of Being Uncool

15 years is a long time on the internet! Travel back with us to the days before YouTube, social media, digital cinema, smartphones, iPods and all the rest, back to the founding of Creative COW by Ronald & Kathlyn Lindeboom in April 2001. Join us for an insider's look at the earliest days of the professional digital video revolution, all the way through the events that have shaped the world's largest community of media professionals, right here at Creative COW.

Creative COW co-founder Ronald Lindeboom retired in 2012, but he's been as busy as ever -- this time exploring ways to help you save money and greatly expand your home entertainment universe.

When Ronald and Kathlyn launched Creative COW in April 2001, it was a far different world than the one we live in today. Television itself is one of the greatest changes to come along. Devices like Roku count their channels in the thousands and they come from every corner and interest of the world, spanning subjects almost unimaginable. Most are free.

It would not surprise any of the COW's longest members to see Ronald exploring the world of cable cutting devices like ROKU, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and others. He worked in cable television in the 1970s, satellite TV in the late 1980s, into digital video in the 1990s, and of course in the online world as we turned the corner into the 21st century. In his new book, available beginning today at Amazon, you can join Ronald as he explores the greatest change to ever happen in the world of television. Click here to order yours.

Prince: Musician

Prince: Musician

There are almost too many stories to tell about Prince Rogers Nelson and his sudden passing at age 57. Stories of the dazzling star selling 100 million records, the explosive entertainer, the incendiary guitarist, the prolific composer, and more. Instead, we focus on a story too easily lost in all this: a man who was all about the music, 24 hours a day. Remarkable previously unseen footage of a playful Prince at an Osaka soundcheck in 1990 by Chainsaw Post GM Steve Purcell, who worked with Prince for 6 years, sheds entirely new light on an artist you only thought you knew.

Next week, we continue our post-show coverage in a big way, but for now, we want to tease you with a few early podcast peeks, courtesy of our friends Sarahelizabeth Mason & Jake Essoe at The Harold & Maudecast, and Mathieu Marano at My Canadian Studio. You can find both of these and more at the Creative COW Blogs, but here are some direct links:

  • Adobe's Patrick Palmer, Senior Product Manager, Professional Video and Audio at Adobe on new proxy workflows, new color and audio tools, 8K, and more
  • AJA President Nick Rashby, on some of the FIFTY FOUR new, shipping products they've introduced in the past year, including 24 at NAB. All shipping!
  • AJA's Bryce Button on HDbaseT and IP video
  • ProTools 12.5 introduces extensive new collaboration toolsets
  • KeyFlow Pro offers new affordable asset management for Mac video producers

And that's just to get you started! We're adding more every day to the Creative COW Blogs, our articles library, our social media feeds at Facebook and Twitter, and in your favorite Creative COW forums. We'll also have much more for you in next week's newsletter!

... and congratulations to our friends at Milk, who won their third BAFTA in three years for their VFX work in the Special, Visual & Graphic Effects category on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

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