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The right camera for shooting Bahama Blue in 4K IS...

Friday, March 21, 2014 - 09:44

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Last week, Kate Webb interviewed Bahama Blue DOP Sean F. White about the three cameras he was considering to shoot wildlife series Bahama Blue in 4K. This week he revealed his choice, and the winner is... The Red Epic-X!

Size, cost, lens compatibility and frame rate were all important factors in Sean's decision on the camera he will to take with him to the Bahamas when filming begins next month.

But ultimately, the Red's speed and flexibility was too tantalizing too resist.

"At the end of the day, it's something that's going to serve all our needs and more," says Sean.

"That's the camera that I knew will need a lot of accessories and data storage, but is going to give us flexibility; in our frame rates, in our resolution, and in our compression rate, so that we can manage the size of the data. That's a very overlooked feature."

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The Red can easily be configured to fit inside underwater DOP Peter Zuccarini's state-of-the-art underwater housing, and is a proven wildlife camera capable of shooting up to 280 frames per second.

Looks like this little Red is in for an exciting ride! From expeditions through mangrove creeks to dives in deep-water trenches, it will have to withstand exposure to some of the Bahamas' fiercest elements and biggest predators.

Here's hoping the sharks don't like the taste of it.

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Shooting a nature doc in 4K: Which camera is best?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 13:19

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Image of diver in Canary Islands shot on Canon EOS-1D C. Credit: Peter Zuccarini

Parallax researcher Kate Webb interviewed Bahama Blue DOP Sean F. White about the cameras he is considering to shoot this groundbreaking wildlife series in 4K.

Buying a camera is always a big decision, but picking one compact enough to haul through swamps and jungles to shoot wildlife in ultra-high definition presents a dizzying array of considerations for cinematographer Sean White.
 
"I think the hardest part is comparing the different features of these cameras and scrutinizing them with a fine-toothed comb, and then really going back and trying to visualize whether it's the right tool for the job," he said.

Sean will primarily be using his camera to shoot creatures on the topside, such as flamingos, parrots and iguanas, but he also plans to swap gear while crisscrossing the tropical archipelago with acclaimed underwater cinematographer Peter Zuccarini, who already uses a Canon EOS-1D C.

Sean is currently weighing the pros and cons of three cameras: The Canon EOS-1D C, Canon EOS C500, and Red Epic-X.

Here's what Sean had to say about each one:

Canon EOS-1D C

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Pros: The 1D C is an option because it is a DSLR that also does video, so it's super compact. With something like that you can just move and work faster. It does 4K video at 24 frames per second (FPS), and has the ability to record the HD signal on an external device, so for a HD production it makes a lot of sense. It's also small enough that you can throw it in underwater housing and tote it around. It's very versatile, and a lot less expensive than some of our other options.

Cons: I would only have 4K resolution at 24 FPS — it doesn't have any higher frame rates than that — and it would have to be set it up with a top-quality external recorder.

Canon EOS C500

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Pros: The C500 has an excellent reputation for low light, is 4K capable, and compatible with the lenses we already own.  It has the audio features built in, and people like the look of this camera. It's also at a good price point.

Cons: As a 4K camera it wouldn't give us the option of high frame rates and we would need to kit it out it to get maximum potential out of it.

Red Epic-X

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Pros: The Red is sort of the gold standard, in the sense that it can do everything. It does the high resolution, multiple resolutions and multiple frame rates.   These are major considerations for us and you can set it up for still lenses.  The Red Epic-X also shoots in a raw format so you have more control of the image in post-production. And it's small and compact enough that we could kit it out and customize it to fit our needs.

Cons: It's expensive, and would require additional data storage if we do RAW recording. That means more steps in post-production to process images. Kitting out would require additional audio, ND filter control, batteries, and a viewfinder.

Which camera do you think Sean should choose? Leave a comment on our Facebook page with your thoughts, and check back here next week to find out his final decision!

 

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Hiring: Digital Media Manager

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 18:41

Our viewers demand more than television programming - we're stepping up. We've built a strong online presence that allows our audience to participate in the world behind the shows we create and we want to build even more. We're excited to start evolving our digital media strategy and launching some new campaigns. That's where you'd come in.

Do you love conceptualizing, building and managing custom content for various audiences? Do you have the writing and editorial expertise to produce premium original content for cross channel publications? Have you mastered the art of the online conversation? Are you an online fan yourself? We'd love to have you join our team.

We are looking for someone who understands the nature of online fandom and is an active participant in that world. You need to have the ability to adapt voice and messaging to our different audiences (while also encouraging and managing contributors to do the same) and be an advocate for our fans. You will think strategically, execute with organization and enthusiasm and engage through meaningful content that builds community.

How do we know you can do the job? Tell us about your proven track record designing and implementing successful social media and online marketing campaigns. Outline your experience with day-to-day creation and launching of digital content for multiple platforms. Share your own experiences as a fan online, including both examples of what worked and what did not (and perhaps what could have been done to make the latter better).

If we bring you onboard you'll be doing some stuff that's really important to us: co-creating, implementing and evaluating a company wide digital media strategy and procedures, researching and developing content for websites, blogs and social media platforms, understanding and creating platform-appropriate content that aligns with each target audience's interests and needs, responding to and communicating with the various online communities in a consistent, on-brand voice, optimizing content for search engines, defining and conducting analytics programs to improve strategies (just to mention a few).

If you have a Bachelors degree with a major in digital media or communications we'd really like to hear from you... we'll also give some extra attention to folks who also possess science and humanities degrees.

If you're excited about this position please write and tell us why. Give special attention to your practical experience and be sure to share one of your successful projects or campaigns that showcases your passion, talents and achievements as a digital media strategist. Please send this document and your resume as a single pdf document to jobs@parallaxfilm.com.

Please no phone calls. If you've secured an interview we'll be sure to give you a ring.

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Glasses-free 3D and the transition to 4K-3D at home

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 20:53

In this post, Ian Herring writes about why glasses-free 4K-3D TV could become the next holy grail of home entertainment

Plenty of pundits have pronounced 3D TV dead, but a new generation of technology could offer the reprieve that we in the business have all been waiting for.

The first high-quality glasses-free 3D tablets hit the market this year and are already flying off the shelves. The 10.1-inch Hampoo and eight-inch Gadmei are mercifully ushering in the end of the awkward active-glasses phase of 3D consumer electronics (CE).

That means it’s only a matter of time before a 55-inch glasses-free 3D TV becomes the next must-have in home entertainment — and that, in combination with the other next big thing, Ultra HD (4K), will be just too fantastic to resist.

It makes me excited about the future of 3D filmmaking.

Imagine sitting on your sofa watching an action-packed film or show, such as Parallax’s upcoming underwater series Bahama Blue or Guillermo del Toro’s summer blockbuster Pacific Rim, in glasses-free, 4K-3D.

In the theatre, because of the tint on my polarized lenses, I found some of Pacific Rim’s fantastic creatures looked dark – snapping me out of the immersive experience. This could be fixed with brighter projection in theatres, but also perhaps, someday, at home. With an autostereoscopic 4K-3D TV the picture would be ultra-bright and crisp — much more so than 1080p — just as it was intended.

Which has got me thinking that 4K may be the gateway for 3D to take hold. 4K is a more accessible idea for people to grasp – it’s not a huge leap for people to see that Ultra HD is a logical step from HD as it’s just a better image.

So for now we leave 3D off the table and when the autostereoscopic sets begin to roll out with 4K resolution, I think it will blow people's minds in the way HD did when it first came out in the mid-2000’s.

And if things go well, autostereoscopic 4K-3D TV is set to become a powerful, immersive and transformative visual medium, and that’s why Parallax is diving in full-force.

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Swimming with dolphins in 4k-3D may be like being there.

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From Banff to Bahamas (and Everything In Between)

Saturday, June 15, 2013 - 11:52

In this post, Maija Leivo writes about the excitement happening around Parallax Film Productions lately.

What a week! We’ve just boarded a flight to Toronto with a connection to Miami and then on to the Bahamas tomorrow. This follows on market calls to Realscreen West in Los Angeles and then to Banff Media Festival, with a two-day stop in Vancouver to attend the Leo Awards last Friday and Saturday night. Ian has been really racking up the Aeroplan miles.

The intensive two weeks were very extraverted. After many months of nurturing and developing in house, it was time to share the proceeds with broadcasters who just might let us take our pet projects to the world. For the Leo Awards, it was a reflection of how our project Battle Castle was received by the BC-based film community. In truth, we were honoured by the initial feedback that awarded our team seven nominations across numerous categories including direction, cinematography, screenwriting, sound and best documentary series. We were proud to emerge with four awards, two for the team from Post Modern Sound, one to Nicole Tomlinson for Screenwriting and the coveted Best Documentary Series, which acknowledged the depth of the myriad of talents that make our work possible. We’re so proud of our nominees Sean White and Brian Mann and were very happy that Liz Murray could be on hand to collect hardware with Ian and I on Saturday night.

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Battle Castle Team at the Leo Awards Friday June 7, 2013 Sean White nominated for Best Cinematography, Jakub Kuczynski (VFX), Nicole Tomlinson Leo Award winner for Screenwriting, Series Producer Maija Leivo, Ian Herring nominated for Best Direction and Best Doc Series and Brian Mann Best Editing Nominee.

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Leo Awards Saturday, June 8, 2013 Series Producer Maija Leivo, Executive Producer Ian Herring and Producer Liz Murray collect the Leo Award for Best Documentary Series.

The meetings in Los Angles and Banff were also really productive. A sad statement of the times was the Broadcaster who confided in Ian that he was the first Producer to acutally pitch a documentary. The field is deep in reality these days.

Which brings me back to our documentary slate. We’re going to stay our course and continue to pitch films on the ideas we love and which motivate us. We’re embarking this weekend on a major scout for a new wildlife series called Bahama Blue. It will be shot over the next year in the Bahamas and for the next two weeks, it’s going to be all about the sharks and dolphins, reefs and mangroves, seahorses and flamingoes, not to mention countless species of iguanas. We’re excited to be working with the noted underwater cinematographer Pete Zuccarini as our local guide and to have Sean White back as our Director of Photography. We’re hoping to share some photos from the scout, so be sure to like our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter. As for that development, we’re going to keep you posted.

We’re hoping to share some exciting developments later this summer, so keep your eyes on this space.

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