Not Just For Show

Your matte box, rails and follow focus explained

Q I really don’t understand matte boxes. At first I thought they just were what you found on a big 35mm motion-picture camera because I see them in all the behind-the-scenes/on-the-set shots. But now with smaller cameras, I’m seeing them more and more. It has dawned on me that these must not be "built in" on the big cameras either,... Read more

Play Misty For Me

How a simple hair dryer saved my shoot

You turn the page to this column, and before you begin reading, a question pops into your head: “What does a cow have to do with high-definition video?” Usually, you’d see a piece of production equipment, or maybe a shot behind the scenes on a shoot, or maybe some pastiche of technical graphs or displays. Instead, here it is: a cow.... Read more

Like A Rolling Stone

Is rolling shutter a deal-breaker?

Rolling Shutter Q Okay, I keep hearing about rolling shutter this and rolling shutter that, and how bad it is. You shouldn’t be using this camera because it’s CMOS and you’re not going to be happy with the results. I’m a little confused because, if it’s so bad, why are people still using these cameras? It seems to me that... Read more

Just The Facts

Is the Internet the best place to get your information?

This month’s column is a continuation of my last Video Assist column. In case you missed it, I was talking about how I’ve often been asked where to find accurate information in our industry. I gave an example from an online article that otherwise had a lot of good (and accurate) information. The article stated (and I’m paraphrasing),... Read more

Running A Temperature?

Correcting the color temperature of your on-set monitors

Q I recently worked on a project where I had to deal with monitors that were in the shot. We originally wanted to create some content to play on the monitors. The alternative of tracking footage in later seemed beyond the time frame allotted for the edit and well beyond the budget. Everything was created and then we got to the location and immediately... Read more


Can most common hard drives handle high-def?

Q What’s going on with storage, and when is it going to get better? It seems like with high definition, the drives that I can get just won’t be able to run fast enough to let me watch my edit. Drives seem to be getting bigger capacities, but they don’t really get faster, in my mind. How can I get my storage to handle HD? Chris C. Via... Read more

Just Checking?

Many standards to choose from

Q In a previous issue, you were talking about color bars and laying them down on a master tape. I’ve been working at a place that has been getting a lot of different tapes in, and it seems like each one has a different flavor of bars and tone at the beginning of the tape. Aren’t color bars just for setting up machines? Why so many? Stephen... Read more

Closed Captioning, Part II

Captioning in high-def takes more planning than you think

A picture with another thousand words? The last Video Assist column was the first of a two-part answer where I addressed a question about captioning. I covered some of the issues related to captioning in standard definition because captions in high definition have their foundation rooted in standard definition. Since standard-definition captioning... Read more

Captions, Part 1

A picture with a thousand words?

Q I’m planning on a high-definition production that I want to be able to market to as many outlets as possible. As I work through budgeting, I’m perplexed by the plethora of options as far as how I’m to deliver my program. While I’m getting a handle on tape formats and online needs, there’s one aspect that I really feel... Read more