Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lots of projects and a new web site

In general...

So far, 2010, has been insanely busy.  We have been busy with 2 jobs.  Both shooting and posting a romantic comedy indie film and a local talk show.  Our business has always been through word of mouth.  We never need to advertise as we always seem to have plenty of work in the pipeline.  We are just about done with these two projects.  I had to roto a number of shots to remove things like an errant china ball and someone's face in the shot that should not have been there...

Nance has picture lock on the romantic comedy and I will finalize the sound for it tonight so that it can get into the mail tomorrow for a festival deadline.  Once these are done, we are meeting with some clients to discuss the possible production of a dramatic web series.  Considering the economy, it's surprising how busy we are...

New web site!

As I mentioned above, we don't advertise.  For a LONG time our web site has just had a static graphic logo on it and some contact info.  Nance has long wanted a nice update to the site so I took a weekend and re-did the site.  I used an old design that I had had up on the site long ago that I liked.  The problem with the old layout was that it was done all in tables and was a nightmare to update.

So, for the new version, I decided to do two major changes:

A pure CSS implementation.
An ASP.NET database driven site with content manager.

So, what does all that geek speak mean?  Well, it means that making changes to the site is MUCH easier as a result of using CSS to control the position and appearance of all of the elements on the pages.  And, should I decide to change a specific repeating element, it only has to change in one place and the ability to make precision changes to the pages is much simpler.

Another goal that I had was to make the site DB driven so that we do not have to change the web site to update it but rather use a web interface that lets us update the content in the database and then have the site gather it's content for display from there.

As of now, the web site is fully DB driven.  I am currently waiting for a free time window to finish the content manager pages so that Nance and I can make fast, error free updates to the site.  You can check it out at: http://www.b-scenefilms.com

In other news...

We recently augmented our venerable Sony Z1 camera with a new Sony EX3.  The Z1 has served us very well over the years but recently it started to introduce a digital glitch into some of the footage.  The issue is intermittent and we have no real way of predicting when it will occur.  We noticed the issue just prior to  taking on a gig and decided the time was right for an upgrade.

We are VERY happy with this camera.  About 11 stops of latitude as opposed to the Z1's 8 or so.  Big difference with the 1/2 chips.  Getting good focus can be a real challenge.  The other issue is that with a new camera, you need new accessories...

We still need to upgrade the Redrock M2 adapter for the EX3 as the newer M2E version is better suited to the camera.  The Redrock Follow focus works fine with the EX3 but I had to buy a D size gear ring to fit the larger lens.  I also had to remove the zoom ring stud on the EX3 since it would interfere with the FF unit.  Other than that, works fine.

And, since we still wanted to use the old tripod and head for the Z1, we had to buy a new tripod and fluid head for the EX3.  And, the EX3 does not support LANC so you have to get a zoom / record controler specific for the EX3 - Another $200...

Now, all of that being said I will say that we are VERY pleased with the EX3.  I think it will serve our needs for a long time to come.  The ability for the camera to output 4:2:2 HD from the HD-SDI connector provides a nice path to a better output medium as well.

So, other than that, we are bored :)

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