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Multicamera Production
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Convergent Design Blog

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Spotmeter: A Great Tool for Odyssey & Apollo Users

Spotmeter: A Great Tool for Odyssey & Apollo Users

One of the many advanced tools built into every Odyssey / Apollo is the Spot Meter. The Spot Meter is a very advanced, yet very easy to use tool for checking levels within video images using the Odyssey or Apollo OLED panel. Spot Meter can be set to display IRE values, 8 Bit or 10 bit values, as desired.

These tools give the operator the ability to precisely verify colors in a given image, check shadow and highlight areas, and even match cameras for multi-camera shoots. This is a very precise tool that allows you to meter down to one specific pixel, or average an area of 64 or 256 pixels. Most importantly, you can quickly check any area of the image, without leaving the Odyssey or Apollo. There is no longer a need to walk into the scene to take a reading.

You can easily set up to 8 points of reference and ensure each subject's face is lit appropriately. Any spot, in any video image can be checked, as it only takes a finger to move a spot to anywhere in the scene.

You can select your choice of spot size, 1 pixel, 8x8 pixels or 16x16 pixels, and you can select modes where 1, 2 or 8 spots may be checked simultaneously on any area of the screen, allowing you to check the values. Spots can be turned off instantly and retain their position when turned back on

The “Compare Two” mode is especially helpful. In this mode, you have two spots to use, and a chart with details for each spot, as well as two Color Swatches. These allow you to instantly check to see if the two spots are evenly lit, and if the colors are precisely the same, which is very important for commercial production.

One of the greatest advantages of the spot meter is the ability to check luminance across an entire image, which enables checking a chroma-key image very easy. Another very important use for Spot Meter is for camera matching. With Odyssey or Apollo, you can check up to four cameras while in Multi-Stream Monitoring mode, or in Multi-Stream Recording mode using the Apollo or Apollo Option. The Odyssey allows you to view two camera sources simultaneously in many recording modes. Spot meter is a great tool and a hidden gem within every Odyssey / Apollo Product.

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11 Questions with Director Philip Grossman, First Person to Crash a Drone in Chernobyl [via VideoMaker]

11 Questions with Director Philip Grossman, First Person to Crash a Drone in Chernobyl [via VideoMaker]

Filmmaker Philip Grossman has been dazzling us with haunting and revealing images and video from the Chernobyl disaster site, recently adding aerial videography to his repertoire. Videomaker was fortunate enough to sit down (at least virtually) with Philip to learn a bit more about this intriguing multi-year project and what drives him to capture this stunning imagery.

Russ Fairley: Philip, choosing to shoot in Chernobyl and Pripyat is an odd choice, as it has historically been a place people think to avoid. What drew you to the disaster site in the first place?

Philip Grossman: I grew up near Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and lived through that event when I was 9 years old. I believe this started my fascination with Nuclear Energy. Fast forward 32 years or so and I was working at Intercontinental Hotel group as the Director of Global Enterprise Solutions Architecture for about 7 years and just decided to take a break from “corporate America.”  My then girlfriend (Update 6/1/15: now wife :-). We got married in a 300 year old abandoned church in the Chernobyl exclusion zone), Elizabeth Hanson, told me to focus on my fine art photography for a year. At that point, I had a few small gallery shows and met with the curator of the High Museum in Atlanta who said they all liked my work but there wasn’t a cohesive body. So I put on my Engineer hat (I am a graduate of the university of Colorado, Boulder with degrees in Architectural Engineering and Illumination Engineering) and tried to figure out why someone like Annie Leibovitz is more famous than Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, both great photographers and it really boiled to down to content. It's (in their case) who they photographed.

I set out to figure out what I could photograph that would be different, that few people had photographed or could photograph.  And I kept coming back to Chernobyl (my family is from the Ukraine originally), so I decided that is where I would go photograph. I took my first trip in November 2011, thinking it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and went mainly to photograph, but took a small Panasonic TM700 handicam for personal video. Three months after returning to the States, my partner Arek from Poland, who helped arrange my first visit, asked if I wanted to go back and of course I said yes, but only if we spend more then 4 days in the zone. I have now made 4 trips and spent 32 days in the zone with a 5th trip leaving on May 24 for another 12 days. I have also moved from shooting 90% stills/10% video to 98% video/2% stills. I now have a collection of 3,000 photos (I have shot well over 15,000) and about 30 hours of video with 50% being 4K. I was also the first person to fly a drone in the the Chernobyl Region almost 4 years ago.

RF: It seems that your photography and videography has not been limited to traditional means, and you've embraced technology whole-heartedly. How do you think the advancements over the last few years have influenced your artwork, and in particular, how have the changed and morphed the Chernobyl project?

PG: My father is a surgeon and my mother is an artist and I am the middle child, so I have always been pulled both by technology and art. I love how the various technologies allow me to be creative in telling a story whether it be with photos or video. The technology has allowed me to be more flexible in telling the story of Chernobyl. I switched to shooting 4K two years ago with a Sony FS700 and a Convergent Designs Odyssey 7Q. The addition of 4K has added so much detail and texture to the story telling and allowed me great flexibility when posting in HD to do pushes/pulls etc and still maintain the HD detail.

[Full Aricle on VideoMaker]>

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Roll to Record : Multi-Camera Interviews with High-Profile Guests Using Apollo

Roll to Record : Multi-Camera Interviews with High-Profile Guests Using Apollo

Clients expect the highest level of production quality for multi-camera interviews with high-profile guests. It’s important to have the right experience, equipment, and camera configurations to streamline the entire multi-camera production, from set-up and recording to delivery. Many projects also have budget or time constraints that can add additional post-production challenges.

At a recent shoot, Stephen Greaves and I (Dan Martland) put our skills to work and are proud to show the results.

The commission was to shoot and technically produce several multi-camera, sit-down interviews for “The Heat”, a live 30-minute show  (on this occasion, an “as-live show”) airing on CGTN (formerly CCTV).

One key to achieving the highest level of production quality comes down to the videographers’ equipment. We both own Sony PMW-F5s and mostly operate with Canon Cn7 lenses. For this production, we gave the interview shots as much depth as possible. Knowing the setting for the interviews in advance helped us decide what lenses to use. Ultimately, we shot this production with fast prime and zoom lenses. Shooting wide open with fast primes achieved that shallow depth of field look.

[Full Article on LinkedIn] [Dan Martland on LinkedIn]
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Artistic Music Film Series 'Past Hope Now' // Shot on Odyssey7Q+

Artistic Music Film Series 'Past Hope Now' // Shot on Odyssey7Q+

When I first watched "Past" part one in a three part art film series, I got goosebumps. Actor and movement-specialist Anthony Nikolchev and co-choreographer Gema Galiana directed and performed in these beautiful and moving short films. The films are very evocative, and made me see a clear connection and bridge between conceptual photography and video.

I want to start sharing more art films on Fstoppers because as photographers there's so much we can learn about light and emotion from video that can easily translate into stronger images for your portfolio. Plus, I love when photographers "discover" video, so I hope in sharing this it makes you curious to switch that mode dial to video. Come to the dark side. Upload your short films to your profiles and share them with us!

"Past Hope Now" is described by Nikolchev as a "music film" which was inspired by the music of John Isaac Watters. The team also flew in Polish cinematographer Jakub Klawikowski, who usually shoots more action and adventure Red Bull videos. The films were shot on the Sony FS700 with an external recorder Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+, and coupled with many different Zeiss lenses. Sliders, a handheld rig, and tripods were used through out the filming, but what really helps set these music films a part was the use of the DJI Ronin.

[Full Article on]
[Kuba Klawikowski on Facebook]

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New Low Price on Odyssey7Q+ -AND- Free Titan HD Extract Upgrade

New Low Price on Odyssey7Q+ -AND- Free Titan HD Extract Upgrade

The Lowest Price Ever on the Industry's Best Professional Monitor/Recorder -AND- Free Titan HD Extract Upgrade for Odyssey & Apollo Owners

Today we are pleased to announce a price reduction on our popular Odyssey7Q+ monitor/recorder. Effective today, the retail price for Odyssey7Q+ has been reduced from $1795 (USD) to $1495. We believe that this change will align our pricing with current industry trends, and represents a high level of value and performance for customers.

Convergent Design continues to raise the bar among professional recorder/monitor products. The Odyssey7Q+ features a rugged cast magnesium case, gorgeous OLED display, best-in-class monitoring tools, 3D LUT support, and ProRes Proxy to ProRes 4444 recording, clearly setting it apart from the crowd. Comprehensive RAW support and the Apollo multi-channel recording options elevate the Odyssey7Q+ to the premiere class.

Free Titan HD Extract Upgrade
Titan HD Extract, formerly priced at $795, is now available as a free upgrade to all Odyssey7Q/7Q+ and Apollo owners. Titan HD Extract empowers users to effectively create multi-camera productions from a single 4K camera. Titan records three streams from a single 4K source: one HD downscale of the entire 4K raster and two HD extracts based on user-defined movable windows (within the 4K image). Multi-camera production has never been more simple and cost-effective.

The Most Comprehensive RAW Support Available
Unquestionably, the Odyssey7Q+ with the Odyssey RAW Bundle upgrade offers the most comprehensive RAW support available on the market, including full support for ARRIRAW, Canon RAW, Sony FS series RAW, POV RAW and Panasonic VariCam LT (and soon AU-EVA1) RAW. The dual SSD architecture, found exclusively on the Odyssey7Q+, enables RAW recording and playback of 2Kp240 and 4Kp60. RAW to ProRes recording is also supported for a variety of different cameras.

Multi-Camera Production Powerhouse
The Odyssey Apollo Option (paid upgrade) enables quad-channel HD / dual-channel 4Kp30 recording and playback. Essentially, four recorders in one. The Odyssey Apollo Option dramatically reduces the amount of gear required for multi-camera production. Most importantly, the Apollo Option saves hours of time in post-production by recording all streams to a common CODEC, with the same timecode and consistent file naming and starting frame. Apollo's exclusive AV Align feature can correct audio/video sync issues commonly found in multi-camera productions that use a mixture of different cameras.

Convergent Design continues to raise the bar for power and performance. Today, however, the bar to owning industry’s best monitor/ recorder, the Odyssey7Q+, has been significantly lowered to $1495.

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Convergent Design Announces Support for Panasonic VariCam LT 240fps 2K RAW, and DNxHD for Odyssey and Apollo

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 23, 2017) Today Panasonic announced a free firmware update that adds a 2K RAW up to 240fps to the VariCam LT. All available RAW outputs will be supported by Convergent Design in the Raw Bundle for Odyssey7Q+ and Odyssey7Q via a free firmware update in June 2017.

“We are excited to announce our continued support for the Panasonic VariCam LT. The 2K 240fps update fits nicely into the Odyssey Raw Bundle high frame rate support, and adds versatility to the VariCam LT. The Odyssey and VariCam LT are an ideal pairing and we look forward to our joint firmware release,” said Mike Schell, President of Convergent Design.

Convergent Design will also release free firmware in May supporting Avid DNxHD 4:2:2 for the Odyssey7Q+ and Odyssey7Q in single-channel recording, and for Apollo and Apollo Option multi-camera HD. This upcoming release will support bit rates of 220Mb and 145Mb up to 60p from HD video sources. Broadcast applications, especially in Apollo multi-camera operation, will enjoy a native Avid workflow.

Look for more information about the firmware updates from Convergent Design at our website and on social media in the coming months.

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Introducing the Element Series from Convergent Design

Introducing the Element Series from Convergent Design

(April 11, 2017, Colorado Springs, CO) - Convergent Design, a recognized world leader in on-camera recorders, today announces the Element series of multi-camera video recorders and switchers. These simple to use, cost-effective products, emphasize fast video productions by eliminating many time-consuming steps while providing unprecedented access to your video footage, even while you are still shooting.

All devices in the Element series are built on technology not available previously to eliminate many of the time-stealing tasks common to multi-camera productions. By enabling features such as network media access, simple keying and tactile control surfaces these compact, powerful devices are the next evolution in smarter production workflows.

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HDR Delivery: Recording on the Odyssey and Apollo

People often ask since the Odyssey / Apollo is not a HDR Display, can I still produce a HDR Deliverable? (HDR = High Dynamic Range.)

The answer is absolutely, keeping in mind that the Odyssey / Apollo can be set to either a Rec. 709 color space or a DCI P3 color space. You can monitor colors correctly on the Display when set to these color space, as the monitor is properly color calibrated for these color spaces.

You will see consistent and accurate results on the monitor, as well as in the entire post workflow, working with either Rec. 709 standard for “HD Broadcast” Video, or Log sources with a LUT Applied. (Log-> Rec709 LUT applied). Many LUTs which are already built into the Odyssey and Apollo, as preset LUTs for all of the major camera manufacturers (Sony, Canon, ARRI, Panasonic, etc.)

If your camera has the capability of outputting Log, or Raw you are already capturing the full dynamic range of the camera's sensor within the Odyssey / Apollo. This allows you the ability to deliver in HDR to your clients.

Keep in mind that there are many HDR workflows. The key is capturing a Log or Raw source, within the Odyssey / Apollo and then apply one of the many workflows to your footage. And, of course, ideally verifying on a calibrated HDR display before delivering to a client, to ensure that the HDR material is to your liking.

When choosing a HDR monitor, it is important to note that displaying HDR properly, is much more than just having a High Brightness Monitor. One needs a monitor that is capable of a High Dynamic Range, not just High Brightness!

One cannot just increase the brightness of the monitor, to accommodate displaying the bright highlights, as this also increases the brightness of the shadow details and the mid-range details.

Doing so will distort the shadow and mid-range details, which would then cause you to make inappropriate adjustments to your image.

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AbelCine // At the Bench: Using Convergent Design’s Titan HD Extract

You may remember our previous blog post about the release of the Titan HD Extract option for Convergent Design’s Apollo and Odyssey monitor/recorders. Titan allows multiple HD-resolution windows to be captured as distinctly framed shots from a single camera shooting in UHD 4K (3840×2160). 1920×1080 windows are supported at up to 30p; 1280×720 for 50p and 60p. The full 4K image is subsampled to 1920×1080 resolution along with two user-set frames that can be selected on the touch screen. A fourth 1920×1080 stream can be captured as either a quad split or a live switch of the three “shots.” With this setup, Titan delivers ISOs and a switch cut to the same drive. In the video above, I will show you how to set up a project and extract each video stream on the post side.

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Dual HD Record with the Raw Bundle

Odyssey7Q and Odyssey7Q+ with the Raw Bundle Option has the ability to record video from two HD cameras or other HD video streams simultaneously, using only one Odyssey.  If you have our Raw Bundle, and a recent firmware version, you already have our Dual HD Recording Feature.

Dual Recording simplifies two camera interviews, and other two camera shoots, eliminating the amount of gear that is needed. This feature also allows the user to record one channel of video while also recording a proper video feed from a computer, via HDMI or HD-SDI.

Other great features of Daul Recording include:

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