Ok, the countdown has begun. Thanksgiving is over, the turkey sandwiches have all been consumed and now we have to buckle down to the difficult task of holiday shopping. Never fear, as I am sure that you know EXACTLY what you are giving to your loved ones, so I’m not going to waste your time with suggestions for them. On the contrary, this is a list of things that YOU want to find under the tree, bush, cave or grotto (we’re all very PC here so everyone can be included).
First off I want to talk just a little about a new plug-in from Red Giant and Creative Cow’s own little calf’s, Aharon Rabinowitz and Dan Ebberts. Well, they really don’t fall into the category of “calf” but their work is so good that I just couldn’t use the word “Bull” in the same sentence. The plug-in that I speak of is “HOLOMATRIX” and it’s just as cool as can be if you’re looking to add some high tech scenes to your next project. Available at www.redgiantsoftware.com for a paltry 99 bucks, Holomatrix allows you to create a number of different looks with the press of a key. You can create that high tech hologram look as well as ghostly apparitions and even a ‘Bad TV’ look. Incorporating this plug in to projects that require something a little ‘different’ can really enhance logos, scenes, and any number of other places that you might think of to go a little “Trekkie” on. Solid interface and lots and lots of adjustable parameters will keep you playing with this one well into the New Year.
Another offering from Red Giant is their new Magic Bullet Suite 2009 with Colorista1.0, Magic Bullet Frames1.0, the new conversion plug-in Magic Bullet Instant HD 1.1 which enables you to bump SD footage to HD with no muss, no fuss and a host of other plug ins. Colorista is one of the most powerful correction and grading utilities that I’ve used. It’s friendly and fast and repeatable. Frames will let you get that 24P look that everyone lusts after without having to do the Macarena or sacrificing goats to the “film look gods”. Of course we have Magic Bullet Looks 1.2 itself; a tried and true tool that allows you to choose from over 100 presets that let you add mood to your footage without having to spend hours diddling with controls. Again, you have the ability to tweak settings to make something yours alone, but with the choices available, chances are you can find something that works out of the box. Magic Bullet Mojo 1.0 is another tool that is included that lets you cool off your background while warming your talent’s skin tones. This really makes the scene pop and with some of the adjustments, you can even desaturate the background while keeping talent in color for some really high end effects. All this and retaining focus too makes Mojo a dream to work with. Rounding out the package is Magic Bullet Steady 1.1 which as the name implies, allows you to steady up shaky footage without sacrificing quality. It also has a noise reduction facility that works beautifully to clean up images without losing detail. Price on the package is $799 Outright, $399 Cross Grade or $199.00 Upgrade. Get more details at their site.
Ok Software is nice, but it’s the Holiday’s and you want some hardware to go with that software. Well if you have a sugar mommy or sugar daddy who wants to make you happy, you could drop the hint that you need a new camera. Up and coming in the next few years will be DSLR Video. We discussed this a while back with the canon 5D MK II and its ability to shoot HD video that was astonishing in quality. Well once again, Canon has risen to the fore with the release of their 7D.
A crop sensor camera (1.6 factor) that shoots HD in several formats as well as shooting in 24 P which as we all know is the only format that will be accepted as “real movie making” by dilettantes everywhere. A function I might add that owner’s of the more expensive 5D MK II do NOT enjoy. (Can I hear “FIRMWARE UPDATE PLEASE”?) Anyway, for a very reasonable $1699.00 Body Only or $1899.00 for the kit with lens (Street price will be less); you can start shooting some really unbelievable footage. The 7D takes all Canon Lenses as well as a number of aftermarket lenses (Sigma, Tokina, etc) so if you already have Canon Glass, you don’t need to spend more. The 7D also gives you 8fps shooting in still mode and that my friends, is one heck of a framerate! Video controls have been enhanced and full manual shooting is available as well as automatic mode. You can find them everywhere.
Sennheiser EW100 ENG G3
If you are looking for the best in audio acquisition for your talent, look no further than Sennheiser. They’ve been in the business for over 60 years and have developed world class microphones and audio solutions. One of their biggest sellers is the new EW100ENG G3 kit that includes the following;
- EK 100 G3 diversity receiver
- SK 100 G3 bodypack transmitter
- ME 2 clip-on microphone (omnidirectional pick-up pattern)
- SKP 100 G3 plug-on transmitter
- CL 1 jack cable
- CL 100 XLR cable
- CA 2 camera adapter
- 6 AA batteries
- Operating instructions
This is for sale everywhere for around $799.00.
Finally, we have the nice little stocking stuffers for those who might hang a stocking up against the fireplace. If you just hide stuff under a blanket, these will work too.
The Flip Mino camera is getting a lot of play, and at a starting price of $149.00 (SD Version) is pretty much in anyone’s budget. If you want HD, the price jumps up a bit to 199.00 but still very affordable. Other models are available. This is a very popular camera with people who want better resolution and video quality than they can get form a cell phone but don’t want to carry a ‘real’ video camera around with them. It fits in a purse, a shirt pocket, or your jeans and it does take some pretty good video. It’s a gadget and we all know that gadget’s are their own reason for existing.
Looking for a crash cam or a camera that you can bolt to a skateboard, surfboard, helmet, rocketsled or some other crazy use? The HERO http://www.goprocamera.com/ seems to be the choice of BMX, FMX, MOTOCROSS, Drag Racers and other extreme sports enthusiasts. Starting at around $189.00 (SD HD slightly higher). These cameras are all the rage at the track. If you have to get quality footage in a sketchy situation, these are a lot easier to deal with in terms of financial loss, when things go gooey than a high end camera. They are surprisingly rugged and do deliver very high quality video. Another neat thing to find in your stocking. And not for nothing as we say in New York, they’re just plain fun to play with. And to give it some props, the GOPRO HERO camera is a REAL Camera that is capable of producing REAL video that you can use seamlessly in a project.
The very last thing that I’m going to recommend that you put on that list that you are going to cleverly position in such a way that NO ONE CAN MISS IT is one of the best gifts of all for all you hard working producers of all that great content. It’s education. Right here at CREATIVECOW.net, you can find the best education for those who are dedicated to improving their skills. With the massive amount of free content here at the cow, tutorials, reviews, opinion and commentary, you can spend your time talking to and interacting with the finest minds in the business. CreativeCow.net has a global reach that can put you in touch with every single facet of print, film, video and graphics that is available today. And even better, you can buy this knowledge from them as well. The Master Series contains a massive amount of expert instruction on a myriad of subjects from the top people in the craft. Check out the titles at the cow store and you won’t be disappointed.
Now listen, I got the ball rolling and we don’t have a lot of time left so put down your ideas and recommendations for a nice holiday gift in the reply space. And Have a Wonderful Holiday.