Panasonic AG-AF100 – I can’t wait!

When HDSLR Filmmaking started catching on with great cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 7D, word spread that it was going to completely redefine how movies are made. With sensors 4x the size of the RED One, these cameras are able to give an image with low light capabilities and shallow depth of field like no other.

The big downside for me, though, was that HDSLRs were only able to record 12 minutes of video continuously before it’d start to overheat. Not good for documentary filmmaking. There was also no XLR audio input. The single mini input jack meant that we’d have to purchase either a converter box or a portable field recorder to enable quality 2-channel audio recording.

That’s why when Panasonic announced their upcoming release of the AG-AF100, my heart skipped a beat. Finally, a good cross between a HDSLR and a professional video camera. Let’s take a look at the specs here:

  • 4/3-inch image sensor
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount – lets you mount film camera and prime lenses
  • High Definition Viewfinder (no need to buy an additional Z-finder!)
  • Dual SD Card slots, so you can swap while recording
  • Anti-aliasing filter to remove moire
  • Uncompressed professional audio (2 XLR inputs!)
  • Built-in ND Filters
  • Full waveform monitor
  • Color-peaking focus assist
  • Auto-focus + Auto-iris if you use a lens that enables it

Love at first sight. Word has it that it’s slated for a year-end release and is going to retail for just under $5,000. Oh, Panasonic, you’ve done it again. Moving from the HVX-200 to the AG-AF100 should be a piece of cake! I’m so excited! Check out Barry Green’s detailed hands-on video introduction of it below.


Social Media goes Airborne!

Whenever I fly out of the country, my mum would always insist, “SMS me as soon as you touch down, ah!”, in reply to my text telling her that I was about to board the plane. Then I’d picture her waiting with baited breath for my next text I entered the flying no phone zone (and no communication zone if you don’t wanna shell out $20 for airplane internet!).

Enter MySkyStatus, Lufthansa’s brilliant venture into social media. All I need to do is visit the website, enter my flight details, and the site will send out automatic status updates on when your plane takes off, is in mid-flight, and when it lands through your twitter and facebook accounts. You don’t even have to be flying Lufthansa! Flying any major airline in the US qualifies your friends and family for peace of mind.

What’s in it for Lufthansa, you ask? Well, remember how at the bottom of emails from friends you see the line “sent using my iPhone”? What about “get free Hotmail”? With these in-flight status updates, will come a tag “powered by Lufthansa”. What great brand exposure.

They’ve certainly found the perfect blend of delving into social media and meeting their target market’s needs. Seen similar brilliant concepts? Share your story! How can you do the same for your brand?

Thanks to SmartBrief for the heads up. Read their full article here.

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Transcription software of my dreams.

Oh my word! After having spent hours upon hours transcribing the massive number of interviews that we’ve had coming in at KTQ (4 docs currently in production!), the discovery of MacSpeech’s new release is music to my ears.


MacSpeech Scribe will turn your digital audio file into text! I’ve known about speech-to-text softwares out there, but even those would need us to listen to our interview clips and repeat each sentence for it to be transcribed. And because I’m poor, I’ve been using InqScribe, which allows you to play your clip in the same window as where you type your text. Doing it manually typically takes me an hour to transcribe 15 minutes of interview. I’m pretty sure that MacSpeech Scribe will enable my work to get done at least 4 times as fast!

Good things do cost money though. MacSpeech Scribe is available for purchase at $150 and requires that your Mac be running Snow Leopard. Certainly a worthwhile investment for all documentary production companies, in my opinion! :)

Added on Mar 31: Mmm, upon further research, it looks like the early adopters of the software have been complaining about the poor post-purchase customer support. Looks like MacSpeech still has some bugs to clean out. Probably a wise idea to wait till they release an update!

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Too many f-stops?

Picture by DeusXFlorida

Not every f-stop on your lens churns out equally sharp and well-defined images. At least, that’s what I learned from John Sevigny’s article. Highlights below:

“A photograph shot at 1.7 relies on nearly all the glass in the lens, and any surface or engineering imperfections are going to be revealed with a wide-opened aperture. For the same reasons, I can probably forget about the idea of shooting at 2.8 if I’m looking for maximum sharpness and resolution.”

“On the other end, f16, the smallest aperture, is useless at 35mm or for DSLRs. Diffraction, a kind of distortion that happens when light passes through small holes, destroys images at f16. You might rule out using f11 for the same reason.”

“Don’t know the best aperture of your 35mm camera? Fall back on the old rule my father taught me back in the 1970s: the optimum aperture for sharpness and detail is about two stops away from wide opened. That is, on a lens with a maximum aperture of 2.8, you’ll probably get the best results at 5.6.”

Timely and useful advice. Matt and I were just involved in a discussion about this over the weekend while we were shooting State of the Apartment on the Canon 5D Mark II. Now we know better. :)

Read the full article here.

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