2009 JW convention

So this weekend I will be attending and helping out at this years JW annual convention. It is being held at the Long Beach Arena center. The blue painted round building in downtown Long Beach.

This is a pretty big arena, it seats about 10K people although i've seen it with 13K in the past. A few years ago "No Doubt" recorded a live performance here, and i attended a "Foo fighters" concert here, but usually this arena is used to house a local Long Beach ice hockey team, the "IceDogs", and during the summer months there is a series of religious conventions like the one i will be attending.

My job for 3 days is to mix and feed the video signal to the big screen on the top back wall behind the speakers and presenters. If you pay close attention to the big screen you can see me snapping this picture.

Even though using ProSumer cameras and DOF adapters mounted to remotely control pan and tilt heads was a very tempting idea, at the end it was decided that because the screen's resolution is so low and the added complexity of a rig like that would just go to waste, a hi end Dome security camera system that pans, tilts and and zooms all from a single joystick, was the way to go.

We are using a pretty simple analog mixer to mix the live feed into the big screen and the various monitors spread along all the different departments on the arena.

Here someone picked up my 5DMKII camera and took a picture of me without me knowing it, how dare they?

Because the convention is going to take 4 full days, we decided to stay locally and avoid the heavy traffic that makes southern california such a wonderful place. All in all even though this is will not be a very creative project it is very important to me as i will be aiding attendees to better focus their attention on the various speakers that will be making presentations.

New slimmer Jag35Pro

The Jag35Pro gets a new slimmer more compact look. One of the key features of our Jag35 Adapters has always been it's compact-ability. Since we're not exactly filmmakers, and we love carryin' our cameras wherever we go, a compact design was very important from the beginning. We found a way to make the smallest adapter we possibly could, and now we've made it slightly smaller. While changing our battery box supplier, we found a new battery box design, which is slightly thinner and still fits all the necessary features we needed for it to function.

New Jag35 Student Bundle

We recently just added a new bundle to the bundles page. Seems that a lot of our clients like the option to get a package rather than have to choose items that might possibly not work well together. We've also gotten a lot of requests to put a together a bundle that's more affordable for filmmaking students, something that's more entry-level, only giving you the absolute necessities to start shooting shallow depth of field. So we put together this new bundle, which will basically include a Jag35ST with a Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Lens and your choice of 37mm or 43mm thread.

The basic package will sell for $179. We will however also offer this package with another option, one which will include a 40mm Achromat for your camcorder, as many of you already know what the achromat does, if you don't, please feel free to read our All About Achromats blog entry. The bundle with the achromat will sell for $239. Here's sample footage from one of our clients, who purchased the Jag35ST, then he upgraded his adapter with a 40mm achromat.

Brice Beasley's Footage with Jag35ST without Achromat:

After he upgraded with a 40mm achromat, he shot this footage:

Macworld Mag. Cover Creation

While surfing the web I came across this very cool time-lapse video, I wanted to share with you guys. If it's not obvious to everyone, we're all very technical people here at Jag35, so of course with that, comes the love for all behind the scenes and how-to style videos. This short sequence shows Peter Belanger as he captures the process of putting together the latest cover for Macworld Magazine. As you can see, he really capture a lot of the essentials information that he felt was relevant in a very short amount of time, I was impressed at how much info came across without words and was best left as images to show us the whole process. Check it out below, hope you enjoy it.

You can read the full article posted by Peter Belanger on his blog. Click Here

About to Sell 1000 Adapters

We're coming close to selling our 1000th adapter in 2009, and we're very excited about this. Means, there's a lot of people out there using one of our Jag35 adapters. We were considering maybe doing a Jag35 film contest, so we can see what some our customers are capable of using the Jag35 adapters, let us know if you guys have any thoughts on this, maybe what would be a good incentive, to enter a Jag35 Film Contest, feel free to gives us your ideas by commenting on this post, we'll take all ideas into consideration.

Also, we decided to do a little something special for our 1000th adapter buyer, which is coming up real soon. We decided to give a full package, no matter what type of adapter you buy (Jag35ST, Jag35E or Jag35Pro) as long as it's the 1000th adapter. The prize package will include, the Jag35 Adapter of course, Support Rods system ($200) a D|Focus Follow Focus ($100) a Canon FD f1.8 Lens ($80) and a Lens Gear ($20), which is a $400 value all together.

Gearing Up for WEVA

So we find ourselves Super busy at the moment. This is due to the fact that next month we will be attending our first ever Trade show, WEVA or Wedding and Event Videographers Association International. This year it will be held in Orlando FL, Sep. 14-17th at the Orlando Hilton

We have increased production to be able to have product to bring with us to the show, a good side effect of this is that we have been able to cut order process time on most orders lately. If you need a rush order, now is good time to place it, you will receive it faster than what others have in past months. Also if you're able to attend this trade show, we will have full rigs available that will include a camera, dof, lens and support for sale, so basically you'll be able to walk out of there with a working rig for a real affordable price.

Freddy working hard to finish 100 JAG35pro's

If any of you guys are going to be there, let us know and come visit us, we would like to meet you, we will be sharing a booth with Zacuto.

New Web Series [ critics ]

A new Web Video Series has started and I gotta say, I'm looking forward to it. For a while now people have been posting cool looking short videos on sites like YouTube or Vimeo, and getting thousands and even millions of views, but the question you should all be asking is, do they really deserve your views and comments?... Well now you won't have to wonder any more, let's take a look at what the "experts" have to say. Steve Weiss from Chicago a photographer, video director, manufacturer & designer along with Philip Bloom of the UK a Video Director, Director of Photographer, editor, blogger and public figure will tell us which videos are worth viewing, and which we should pass on. Here's the first episode, enjoy!

Interview w/ Darrell & Doug Waters

While working at the Jag35 Headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, I've had the opportunity to talk to a lot of independent filmmakers and a lot of times help out in their production by providing advice on shooting techniques, or helping them acquire the so much sough after film look by using a 35mm adapter. One of these filmmakers that really stood out by putting together a full production of a short film Manifest Destiny using one of our... Jag35Pro adapters, Darrell & Doug Waters gracefully accepted to have us stop by their movie set/garage and gave us an in depth interview about their experiences while working on their short film. It was a very inspiring night for both me and my brother, as we have in the past attempted to shoot our own film, and became very discouraged after we realized how much work it is, and how it's so hard to count on your friends to memorize lines and actually show up to your scheduled shooting days. Learning what Darrell and Doug had to go thru and the obstacles they had to overcome was very interesting to hear and learn from, and I believe other independent filmmakers out there starting out can really benefit from the key ideas where they succeeded. We probably spend about 3 - 4 hours with them, just talking and even then, it seems as if our time was cut short.

For those of you interested. They used a Canon HV30 (about $600) with a Jag35Pro ($300) a very inexpensive tripod on a DIY home built dolly made out of 2X4s and tracks from home depot, they also created an application which via bluetooth controlled the movements of the dolly, which is how they got the steady slow and consistent pan shots. All props where bought online thru ebay, like medical utensils, masks and even alien with guts spilling out. Story and concept was written by Doug and several attempts were made before they reached the final concept. Editing was done by Darrell on an 20" iMac intel 1.8 w/ 2GB of Ram, and soundtrack is all original written and composed by Darrell on Garage Band.

Like I said, we talked a lot and didn't wanna leave, so we couldn't possibly post the full interview, so we narrowed it down to a short clip so we can show you the highlights. Hope you enjoy it.

Still working on the SP!

Yes, the work continues...
As many of you might be aware, a few months ago we released the JAG35SP the first spinner DOF adapter in our line. Initial units sold out quickly, but we only put out a limited amount of units to see how they would do in the field. Because the spinner needs more precise tolerances in the build process to perfectly spin the GG screen, building this design and keeping the cost down is turning out to be challenging....

About 30% of these first unit returned with issues, a small number of them had mechanical issues where the belt would bind or the screen would not spin correctly, but by far the biggest problem users had was the level of noise produced by the unit. This is a big issue if you plan to use the onboard mic to record sound. If you don't plan using the onboard mic then you won't care too much about the noise as the mic is most likely far away from the camera to pick it up.

To improve the sound problems we've looked at reducing the vibrations created by the spinning GG, to do this we decided to send several parts to be produced and milled by a cnc machine. The problem is this process takes time and the first few parts are really expensive so you don't want to have any mistakes on it before sending the drawing to them, so we tend to hold on to that drawing until we can triple check there wont be no mistakes.

So last week I decided to check out the latest design, we still do not have all the parts and are missing maybe the most important one but we still wanted to see how it would do at this point. The GG was having trouble spinning at full speed as the belt was binding on something but after a few minutes of playing with it started working. The noise is still there and we are thinking that the main reason might be the ball bearing we are using, could be that its tolerances are too loose to spin the gg quietly, will keep testing ...... but for now a sample vid.

Flip Your Footage

By Vlad Rojas

I had recently acquired a JAG35ST (thanks Jehu very nice finishing) for my trusty HF20 (and with a ring my HMC150) While am getting my LCD monitor for shooting, I tested the adapter with my tripod no less, and although shooting was a bit challenging, it was not not insurmountably difficult. However the clips become a problem being upside down...

I found a way to batch change the direction of the clips via the MPEG Streamclip, a time saver.
First transfer your clips via FCP log and transfer (if u like me, use an AVCHD camera). Once your clips are up, Close FCP and find the folder where those clips reside. Open stream clip and Batch list the clips. I personally DO NOT LIKE ProREs too stuttery for my taste. Even on my powerful 6gigs of RAM MacBook Pro. I usually go for DVCPROHD.

Once you have got the clips with the right codec and etc, Go to the "Rotation" option and Rotate 180 to destination, you can make a new folder for them.
Transcode to the right side and have a cup of coffee (or tea if you are on the other side of the pond)

Voila, the clips are flipped and you don't have to render NADA on FCP. Some of you may find this useful, maybe some already know, there it is.


First Look GH1

The GH1 is here!! Well not really... its still sold out and backordered and unavailable in most U.S. retailers, Amazon has a couple of sellers that currently have it in stock but they want $1000 over MSRP!! So we were able to get our hands on one yesterday for a few minutes thanks to our friend David Alrich. He was able to find one available somewhere and he was nice enough to bring it with him so that we could try some of the support products we carry and his now famous D|focus...
This camera is amazing, really small and light compared to the 5dmkII, so your rig will remain small even if you add all the extras like follow focus, matte box and external mic.

Here are some pictures of this little camera:

The Makers of Manifest Destiny

By Darrell and Doug Waters

From the beginning, it was all about budget. 7 months ago we knew very little about filmmaking, hi-def video cameras, and especially shallow depth of field. First, we researched video cameras and chose the Canon HV30 after watching videos on Vimeo. With our initial experimentation with the HV30 alone, we were unable to produce the film-like results we were after. Some online research indicated that a DOF adapter would help. The JAG35 line of adapters had, in our opinion, the best "bang for the buck". After discussing our specific needs with the JAG35 staff...we chose the JAG35 Pro. Like most customers, we spent a considerable amount of time shooting common DOF shots to test the adapters capabilities and to familiarize ourselves with the concept of shallow depth of field.
Let us add that a DOF adapter is just one of many tools needed to produce a film-look with video. We achieved the look on Manifest Destiny with the following tools and settings:

Canon HV30: 24P, Halogen WB, TV Mode 1/48, Locked Exposure
JAG35 Pro: Canon FD 50mm 1.8
JES Deinterlacer: Horizontal & Vertical Flip, Inverse Telecine, 23.976 fps
Final Cut Express 4.0: Color Correction, Increased Blacks, Desaturation
Red Giant QuickLooks: Blockbuster setting 60%
Lighting: Halogen Spot and Flood Lights 3200K

After initial setup, we found the JAG35 Pro was very simple to use. Once it was installed on the HV30, all we had to do was focus and we were done. We've received several comments from people who have seen our set that can't believe we shot Manifest Destiny in a garage. This would not have been possible without the JAG35 Pro. It provided an illusion of space within a limited area. Basically, it made all our shots look cool. Jehu and Misa have both been extremely helpful in the production of our first film and we thank them for their continued support. We look forward to using the JAG35 Pro on our future projects. If anyone has any specific questions regarding Manifest Destiny or how we used the JAG35 Pro, feel free to contact us through Vimeo.

Click here to Visit our Vimeo Page