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Archive for November, 2008

First 1080p video from Canon's new 5D MkII – Amazing!

November 30, 2008 54 comments

My father and I got our 5D MkIIs on Friday and we could hardly wait for the batteries to charge. He took his to SF to test its vaunted low-light performance and posted this 60-second 1080p clip (along with other resolutions) on his SmugMug site: Click to watch it auto-sized for your monitor or check out the full 1080p resolution (caution – *high* bandwidth! UPDATE: Apologies if you tried to watch 1080p on Windows earlier. My bug made it look terrible. Try again, please?).

Here’s his story:

“I had seen Vincent Laforet’s amazing short film, but only in 720p. I knew what an amazing photographer he is and wondered how close an everyman like me could come to footage like that. Could the clips possibly hold up to viewing in 1080p?”

“So with only an hour’s practice shooting my dog licking peanut butter and the neighbor’s kids running in their yard, I left for the city to compare myself to a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer with his helicopter, pricey stabilizer, models, set lighting, and post-production experts. I had a few hours and a tripod. What we had in common was the 5D.”

“At first, shooting video on the 5D makes you feel stupid. You’re holding the camera out in front while you look at the LCD on the back and use completely different buttons. I was always wondering if it was in focus, especially at the wide apertures I thought you probably needed at night.”

“How dark was too dark? I’d point at things that seemed impossibly dark, like the fishing boats you saw lit with mostly a string of Christmas lights on the bow of one. But I couldn’t tell how noisy the clips were on the viewfinder, so I held my breath and set the camera at ISO 3200. Why? ‘Cus it was lower than ISO 6400…”

“I had just one sekret weapon, same as Vincent: a Canon 200mm f/2.0 lens, not exactly an everyman item. It made a difference and I used it for maybe half the shots, including the opening clip of the couple kissing at Grace Cathedral, the rotating jewelry in the shop window, the hotel entrances, and the TV reporter. The city skyline was shot with an f/4 lens and it’s noisy. I also used an 85mm f/1.2 for scenes like the cable car, and toys in shop windows.”

“Dog and kid shots look amazing too, but I have to be honest: I missed many shots of fast-moving kids that I would have gotten with my video camera. Maybe I just need figure out how to juggle zooming, focus, and having the controls scattered across the back of the camera, but it felt like I needed three hands and the skillz of a Cirque du Soleil juggler.”

“So which camera for filming my grandkids? Now there’s a question… This calls for some serious 5D time to answer. Even my wife approves of that message.”

BTW, if anyone else out there is shooting 1080p video with cameras like this and would like their SmugMug Pro accounts to allow 1080p video, let us know. That feature is currently in beta, but we’d love to get a few more people using it. šŸ™‚

Nominations open for The Crunchies 2008

November 25, 2008 4 comments
SmugMug wins Best Design at The Crunchies 2007

SmugMug wins Best Design at The Crunchies 2007 by Luca Filigheddu Photography

I loved the idea behind The Crunchies even before we won for Best Design last year so I’m glad to see their triumphant return. And I see that nominations are open for 2008!

It looks like we’re probably eligible for a number of categories, but even if you don’t think we’re worthy, please go nominate your favorite startups. It really means a lot to the teams that work on these companies. Nothing like a little validation for all of our hard work… šŸ™‚

I'm *not* speaking at Cloud Computing Expo 2008

November 17, 2008 11 comments

Just a quick update, I was invited to speak at Sys-Con’s Cloud Computing Expo 2008 West (how’s that for a mouthful?) and accepted, planning on talking about SkyNet, S3, and our future use of cloud computing. Alas, my Inbox is so crazy, I failed to see the handful of emails the conference sent me asking me to sign a contract of some type. So I missed the deadline and they canceled my spot. (BTW, I can’t recall a conference ever asking me to sign something to speak, but this one does and I was full of FAIL.) šŸ˜¦

So, I’m sorry, despite being listed on the program, I’m *not* speaking there this week. It was my bad – I just missed the emails (as I miss so many emails these days). But still, a phone call from them wouldn’t have hurt, would it?

Who knows if I’ll be on their invitation list next year, but the conference will be great anyway, so have a great time without me!

Sweet new Sun storage stuff on Monday, Nov 10th

November 9, 2008 16 comments

FYI, Sun is announcing some sweet new storage stuff on Monday at 3:30pm PT.

I’m reviewing a few of the things they’re announcing, and hope to publish my thoughts here soon (one of them joins my production network tonight if all goes well). However, I’m at Disneyland with my kids (first trip!) from Monday through Thursday, so I don’t know (yet) when I’ll be able to write them up. Bear with me if it takes a few days.

But the gear is exciting, and the direction Sun is headed is even more exciting!

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