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Crew Services and Crew Hire to make your life easier!

Crew Services and Crew Hire to make your life easier!

There’s a recent trend in the film and television industry — crews are getting smaller, the deadlines are getting tighter and the jobs are being rewarded later than ever making for shorter preproduction schedules.   Overall time constraints as well as budgets are becoming ever more challenging.  Moving Picture Rental responds to this pain producers and production company owners are experiencing by offering a very unique service at our office’s in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and New York City.   We call it Moving Picture Crew Services. Crew Services are one of our strengths As a grip, lighting and camera rental house, crew services is one of our main differentiators.  Imagine being able to make one phone call and know that a first class crew of 2 to 25 will be handed to you on your first day of shooting.  In the past you had two choices for putting together a film crew.   Either you could call a Production Coordinator, Production Manager or Producer and pay them their day rate for 2 to 3 days, plus shoot days as well as a wrap day or two.  At $350 to $650 per day that’s a big expense for a medium size job. Or, you could go online and check the directories out there like productionhub.com and take your chances with your crew hire. Finding great crew is ridiculously time consuming and requires calls and emails at all hours of the day and night.  The best crew works an average of 12 hours on location and can often only get back to you at the beginning or the end of their day. For the past 10 years, Moving Picture Rental provides crew services for the South Florida and New York film and television markets.  We handle payroll, workman’s comp and all other tax needs.  We make all the deals and manage the nonsense that comes from dealing with people about money.  You are completely immune from anything that has a dollar sign attached to it with crew. Our keys to selecting crew: attitude and performance We’ve noticed during our many years in the  business that crew personalities do change.  Some crew “burn out” from TV series and feature film work or have other personal pressures and issues that influence their professionalism.   We track crews’ attitudes and performance and record it in our Filmmaker Pro database for the sole purpose of managing ‘crewpower’.  Discussions frequently occur in our office about who is at top of their game and whom we can positively recommend for your next production. Location work is our daily constant At Moving Picture Rental we work “on location” an average of 15 days per month with our core freelancers and full time employees...

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Digital Media Archiving, Storage and Preservation for the Modern Age

Digital Media Archiving, Storage and Preservation for the Modern Age

The Irony: Analog recordings made 100 years ago are more likely to survive than digital recordings made today! The Truth: There is not a “Magic Bullet” solution available today that will work for everyone. The digital formats you have recorded your material on coupled with the amount of digital material you need to archive and digitally preserve will dictate the solution and practices that will work best for you.   What is digital preservation? Data backup: Making multiple (two or more) copies of a digital file. The copies should be stored in different geographic locations and on different types of storage media to protect against physical or technical disasters. Verification: Regular inspection of all copies of digital files to protect against media or data transfer failure. A related activity is fixity checking, which verifies that a digital file has not been changed, either intentionally or unintentionally. Migration: Regular transfer of all digital file copies to currently supported media and file formats to protect against technological obsolescence. If analog materials are stored in a cold, dry environment in appropriate containers, their life expectancy will be extended with minimal human intervention. Also known as the “store and ignore” approach, this relatively passive strategy is not possible with digital media. Why is migration required? Digital technologies have a finite useful life, but some are better than others. Simple example of this would be to compare modern SSD drives to the “spinner” drives with moving parts. Those moving parts can fail from mishandling and are just as likely to seize from prolonged lack of use when used as a long-term storage medium. Hard drives fail, peripheral connections change, and software is updated. Perfect modern example of this is the eSATA connection falling out of favor since the release of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt. Another legacy example, how many readers have a stack of floppy disks or ZIP drives laying around from the 90s…does anyone you know have a working floppy or ZIP drive available? File format obsolescence is a serious problem. Does anybody remember the word processing format WordStar from the 80’s? It’s now very difficult to find a piece of software that will read WordStar. The same can be said of Microsoft Works…a popular consumer format from the 90’s that was discontinued in 2006. Only 8 years have passed since it was removed from Microsoft’s support docket and there is no native support for the format in today’s Microsoft products. Third-party software vendors stepped in with convertor tools that will change them over to modern DOCX files. Transcode older obscure masters to modern popular codecs such as Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD…these choices need to be periodically...

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A Producers Guide to Timecode: The Who, What, and Why of Timecode and Framerates

A Producers Guide to Timecode: The Who, What, and Why of Timecode and Framerates

Time code is one of those technical topics that is commonly misunderstood by many production industry professionals.  What is it? Why is it important?  Where does it come from?  What will happen if I don’t have it?  We’ll try to answer all those questions for you, and with any luck, help you avoid time code based pitfalls in the future. Time code is an electronic means of determining an exact location in digital audio and video recording.  The current time code standard was developed in the 1960’s by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), which is how it received its technical name, “SMPTE code”.  Time code allows for a common point of digital reference for both audio and video for the purposes of synchronization.  It is expressed in four numerical values representing hours, minutes, seconds, and frames. The primary importance of time code is to provide an efficient means for editors to synchronize audio recorded on an external recording device to the video recorded to a camera. There are of course other methods to accomplish the same synchronization task.  One common method would be the use of a “clap” or clapper board (slate).  The editor would match up the spiked audio peak produced by the clap from the camera and audio recorder to sync the audio.  Unfortunately, modern digital cinema camera systems have mostly done away on-board microphones.  Cameras like the ARRI Alexa, RED Epic, and even pro-sumer cameras such as the Sony F3 have no internal microphone to record a reference audio track.  When using any of these types of camera systems and there is no possibility of sending audio to the camera due to mobility concerns, physical distance, or the lack of technology to due so, the use of time code is paramount. Time code is typically the responsibility of the Sound Mixer, or in the case of a music video, Sound Playback.  In either case, it’s definitely a Sound Department function, don’t count on Camera Department to make sure it’s implemented properly.  A camera assistant will happily wave a time code slate in front of the camera all day long whether it’s displaying the correct time code or not.  In the case of syncing recorded audio, a “Time of Day” time code is typically used and is generated from the Sound Mixer’s digital audio recorder, such as the Sound Devices 744T.  This time code will be “jammed” (synchronized) to the digital time code slate and usually handed off to camera department for usage throughout the day.  When syncing pre-recorded music to video, Time of Day is not used.  Instead the time code will reflect the run time of...

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Free Video Tools for the “Budget Challenged” Production

Free Video Tools for the “Budget Challenged” Production

At Moving Picture we are all too aware of how expensive it can be to create art. So, for the budget minded filmmakers out there, we’ve provided a few useful free video tools for you to try out. MPEG Streamclip (http://www.squared5.com) MPEG Streamclip is one of those oddly versatile tools that should be installed on every computer you use. It will play nearly every sort of digital media you throw at it. This includes XDCAM MP4 files from the Sony EX-3 and F3 and MXF files from Sony F5/F55 and Canon C300. About the only thing it won’t play is RED media. These features make it a great tool for reviewing footage in the field on anyone’s computer. MPEG Streamclip features a very basic familiar front end. (click to enlarge) It is available in both a Mac or Windows version, and it is a single executable file, which means you can keep a copy of MPEG Streamclip on a personal jump drive to use on any computer if you need to review some material. MPEG Streamcip also has a powerful video export engine that allows transcoding of single clips or a batch of clips to another video format. MPEG Streamclip’s export tools are quite powerful and useful by any standard. (click to enlarge)   Movietools.info (http://www.movietools.info) Movietools.info is an online directory of free video loops to incorporate into your video project. Spice up your ENG or corporate video project with their generous selection of free background animations, transitions, and lower thirds. Matrix style animated digital rain available for free at Movietools.info. No free tool would be complete without their commercial counterpart. If the free selections don’t fit the bill for you, Movietools also offers full sets of matching graphics (at a reasonable price) to use for your ENG project. Complete with full HD virtual sets for use with your green screen material plus matching title, transition, background, and lower third selections. Premium HD Sets can be purchased for $49.99 each.   Keepvid.com (http://www.keepvid.com) + Snipmp3.com (http://www.snipmp3.com) Keepvid is an online tool that allows you to download a copy of videos posted to Vimeo and YouTube. It features a very simple interface. Simply copy and paste the URL of the video in question into the Keepvid interface and it will present you with an MP4 downloadable version of the video. The MP4 file is in a universally playable format, good for Mac, PC, and mobile devices. Keepvid’s interface is simple enough for even the most novice computer user. (click to enlarge) SnipMP3 is created by the same organization as Keepvid, and features an identical user interface. The difference is that, instead of serving up a...

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FullDawa Productions and Moving Picture presents Anoraak – “Crazy Eyes”

Recently, the up and coming French artist Anoraak came to Miami with a small production team from FullDawa to shoot a music video in our fair city.  Moving Picture provided our new Panasonic AG-AF100 camera with a PL mount adapter and Redrock handheld rig, a set of Zeiss CP.2 Compact Prime lenses, and a Camera Assistant for this walkabout of Miami. The lightweight AF100 and Redrock cinerig provided a stable and versatile handheld platform to work from.  With as many as six locations in a day, it was crucial that the camera package be streamlined and quick to transport and setup.  The Zeiss CP.2 Compact Primes with their integrated focus ring gears and extra long throw made pulling focus a breeze.  If you’re looking for a step-up from an HDSLR package without losing their light and quick qualities, look no further than the Panasonic AF100 and Zeiss CP.2 Compact Primes. The Panasonic AF100 and Zeiss CP.2 lenses are available for rental today, at Moving Picture Electronic Services. Give us a call, at (800) 800-1361, and see how we can help with your production. We have Cameras, Crew, Grip Gear, Lighting, Expendables, and EXPERIENCE to get the job done.   Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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To Convert or not to Convert – A Guide to Video Mini-Converters. (Part 1 of 2)

There are many tools available to assist with viewing, processing, or converting digital video, but few have the versatility or reliability of the AJA line of mini-converters.  This usage guide isn’t a comprehensive list of features and capabilities of all the AJA converters.  However, I will be presenting some commonly confronted video conundrums and how to solve them with the proper AJA converter. 1. My camera has only an HD-SDI output, but my monitors only have a standard definition (SD) “VIDEO” input. This is probably the most common video problem heard on a production set when dealing with some of the newer professional video cameras such as the RED ONE or ARRI Alexa.  Neither of these cameras provides a Standard Definition (SD) monitor out port.  With these cameras, it’s HD or nothing at all.  Well, the AJA Model HD10MD3 HD to SD Digital Downconverter solves this problem with a simple and flexible device.  Plug your camera into the HD-SDI IN port (marked in BLUE), and your SD monitor into the COMPOSITE port (marked in GOLD).  The AJA Downconverter also gives two “pass-through” HD-SDI ports (marked in GREEN), add this to the SD composite output, and that’s a total of three monitors you can connect to this one device.  Another common usage for this device is to broadcast a wireless SD signal from an HD camera.  A handy way to power this converter is to use the Nebtek Battery Adapter and you can power this device for on-camera rigging with your transmitter without draining the camera battery! 2. How do I make my consumer HDMI TV or computer monitor work with my HD camera? Production monitors can get expensive, and for good reason.  They have nice features like a Waveform, or 4:3 markers, or Timecode display.  But what if you don’t need all those things, and you just need a clear picture.  Most consumer grade HDMI TVs can do that, at a fraction of the price!  The Viewsonic VX2429wm 24” HDMI  TV is one such device and can be purchased for about $200.  HDMI, like HD-SDI, can carry audio and video over a single wire, so wouldn’t it be nice if you could use the benefits of the HDMI interface, without the drawbacks of a fragile connector or the distance limitations of HDMI cabling.  Well, you can, just use the AJA Model Hi5 HD-SDI/SDI to HDMI Converter to allow you to use standard HD-SDI cabling throughout your production set, then convert the signal to HDMI at the monitor.  Just Velcro this converter to the back of the monitor and use a 1ft HDMI cable to the TV for crystal clear HD video monitoring, that wont...

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