Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Padcaster?

I was going to start this post by apologizing to my blog for nary a word in almost four months.

But that would not be the whole story…

A few weeks ago, I composed an epic-comeback of a new years post, a tome to end all internet tomes - apology included and everything!

Then, with the twitch of a pinkie, the post was cleared.  Then in all of Blogger's autosave glory, the cleared field of utter deletedness was saved.  No more post.  No more tome.

Took a few more weeks just to get over that one, and I almost threw it in until last week - a busy one where I shot a 20 camera music video (an FCP experiment), pulled the trigger on a new feature film project with Pete (more on that later) sold my old camera and bought a new iPad.

The new iPad may not seem petandjoshmakemovies-related, but it is.  And here's how.  Since 1993, I've been desperately trying to force video to look like film.  Not an easy task, considering the flat, soap-opera wonder that was analog or digital video, but at $200 per minute to shoot 16mm (not to even bother with the cost of 35) it was just not going to work.  I'd never be able to improvise and experiment with a film camera burning through that kind go dough.  So we got our telephoto lenses and zoomed all the way in and barely made our backgrounds fall out of focus.  The 53rd Calypso was our first attempt to shoot video for film, and thanks to the good people at "filmlook" in Burbank, you could almost fool some people.  NOTE: The dean of NYU at the time thought I shot on 35mm film, so it couldn't have looked that bad.  Here'a a washed out trailer that's about fifteen generations off the original.  If nothing else it was Edward Norton's first film ever (dude wasn't even SAG):

Peter despised video, and I agreed with him, but the difference in cost was simply a no-brainer.  So, on we went though the DV revolution, and the 35mm lens adapter phase and even shot more film here and there too - 

Cut to eight years and over twelve films later and we might finally have something real.  I'm not saying the DSLR craze is totally justified, but it's hard to deny the results.  The whole Urban Dictionary series is being shot on a Canon 5D Mark II and I'm still amazed by the look.

Now enter the iPad3 - the New iPad as Apple calls it - and we suddenly have full 1080p High Definition video in a device that's not only a camera, but an editing system (iMovie & Avid both have iPad Apps) and a method to distribute your finished work to Youtube or your blog or twitter or all three at the same time!  Complete vertical video integration all in a convenient serving tray…

So I can't resist trying to push the iPad and see what kind of film-like results it can achieve.  Completely by accident, I began shooting, cutting & distributing interviews with the iPad 2 at a convention I attended in  Las Vegas last year.  It was quite an eye-catcher and resulted in this video:

Since then, I've been working on a simplified video rig for the iPad.  I figured even with the crappy camera in the iPad 2, it was still worth it as an all-in-one interview machine.  I called the little movies "Padumantaries" and dubbed the rig, "The Padcaster."  Needless to say I am overjoyed at what Apple unveiled a little over a week ago.

And this is what Pete and I shot on the iPad 3 with the latest "Padcaster" prototype,  a 35mm lens adapter and some other goodies too.  A little test on the first day of Spring and some good news for people like us, who've been desperately trying to force video to look like film:

Finally, since my last deleted post was going to end with a resounding bang of the Who singing "Won't Get Fooled Again," I can't help but sign off with this one.  It's just the same but absolutely, insanely and amazingly different.

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