Cinemagraph Pro: The Easy Cinemagraph Tool

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As you can see above, I just rendered out my first Cinemagraph today! The application Cinemagraph Pro is now on sale for $15…a whopping 92.5% off from the usual $200! I had checked it out a couple of weeks ago, but thought the price was just way too high. For $15, I was definitely interested (maybe that’s just a brilliant marketing strategy? Either way, it worked on me!).

If you aren’t privy to what a cinemagraph is, it’s pretty easy to understand once you actually see one. Basically, it’s just a fancy term for a looping gif that has a static frame with a motion element. There are all sorts of ways to accomplish this unique look, but Cinemagraph Pro makes it really, really easy.

Here’s a look at the interface:

Cinemagraph Pro’s interface does’t have a lot of options, but if you’re just looking for something to do for fun, it’s nice and easy. Load up a movie file (preferably a shot that’s static and has a good motion element that can be isolated for looping), pick your in and out points for looping, then go to the mask area and start paint-brushing around the area you want motion in. It took me all of 2 minutes from booting the application for the first time, to setting up an export.

cinemagraph_mask

I was looking for anything to get started, and I found this shot from a couple of years ago of Keene’s Pumpkinfest (for the special ‘Pumpkin Wars’ on HGTV). It was extremely easy to isolate the flag and guy in front of it with the mask tool. For looping I chose ‘bounce’ because his movement patterns were going to look jarring as it jumped from the last frame back to the first frame. But the bounce option allows you to do that age-old video trick of looping something by playing it forward, then in reverse (see: that one awful Tusken Raider shot in Star Wars: A New Hope).

It also has some pretty decent effects built-in.

 

One thing I would mention is be wary of your export format and size. The first time I did this, I checked off Animated GIF, but left the size at “Full.” One 48MB GIF later, and I had learned my lesson. 1/4 size works perfect for Animated Gifs.

OtherViews_and

There’s not much more to write about…it’s a pretty straight-forward application, and really fun to use. Go forth and create more GIFs for Tumblr users to endlessly reblog!

Buy the Right Asset Tag

I love stickers.

Asset tags are great for production gear, or organizing office gear. Between shipping out drives, going on shoots, or just generally keeping an inventory of what gear you own, it’s a really good idea to have these things. You can use the barcodes to scan, but that’s something I don’t think I’ll use for a while. I do use the numbering system in my own Filemaker database, but the most important thing for me is identifying the gear as being mine, and including a contact number if found.

If you’re a huge nerd, like me, you already have plenty of databases for your small business.

I bought a set of 100 vinyl asset tags from MyAssetTag.com about a year ago. When I got them, I figured the Vinyl version would be sturdy enough for my production life. Apparently I was very, very wrong—the image below shows you the wear and tear that my Canon 70-200mm has gone through. The vinyl tag is unreadable, and has since been pulled off.

This asset tag looks more like a captcha image—no bots will be calling me!

If you’re ever in the market to label your production gear, make sure you get the beefier versions of these tags. They’re fantastic on hard drives and computer parts, but anything you take out in the field will render the tag useless within months. Unfortunately, the metallic versions can cost about $300 for 100 stickers. It gets pretty pricey.

All those OWC and Lacie rugged drives look the same. Asset tags help you to safely mingle gear with others!
All those OWC and Lacie rugged drives look the same. Asset tags help you to safely mingle gear with others!

Placement is another important thing to think about for the longevity of the tag. Seems pretty boring, but don’t waste an asset tag by putting it in the wrong place like I did. In the photo above, you can see I’ve got a tag on a hard drive—as well as a Scott Pilgrim sticker!—and another tag on my laptop. The sticker on the hard drive is fine, and to this day shows almost no wear. The sticker on my laptop eventually wore off, so I put a new one on the lid. My mistake was placing a tag right where my palm would be, so that definitely didn’t help. Like the sticker that was on my 70-200mm lens, this one couldn’t stand up to constant use.

Even with a new placement, you can see that this tag is starting to show a lot of wear. You can also see that I do really like stickers.
Even with a new placement, you can see that this tag is starting to show a lot of wear. You can also see that I do really like stickers.

If you don’t go for the asset tags, find another way to label your gear. Rental houses tend to use a specific color of tape that they wrap around gear (stands, cables, light yokes, etc). Whatever you do, use something that’s easily identifiable (bright colors), and make sure you’re consistent. You should already have a database or document of all the serial numbers for your gear, but when you’re wrapping on set after a long day, the last thing you want to do is check serial numbers to see whose 5D is whose.

Metabones EF to EMount Adapter for the FS100

Here’s a quick review of the Metabones EOS to E Mount adapter for NEX cameras—specifically the FS100.

The first thing I noticed was how solid and substantial it felt. You can see the connectors that interface with each electronic mount, there’s some sort of I/O for firmware use, and a depth of field preview button.

The release trigger is easy to use, unlike my fotodiox adapter.

The build quality is exceptional (especially for the price).

Here’s a list of lenses that I tested, and all worked:
-Canon 50mm 1.4
-Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro
-Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II (IS worked)
-Canon 28-135 stock 7D lens (IS worked)
-Tokina 11-16mm 2.8

Ssometimes switching lenses causes the adapter to not recognize the lens at first. After detaching completely (so the contacts aren’t meeting) and resetting the lens, it can be controlled.

F-stops are shown on the display. It now feels like my EF lenses and the FS100 are finally a complete camera system.

To conclude, this adapter may seem high in price, but it’s the only one in it’s class at the moment, and considering what other companies were asking for a higher price with less features, this pricepoint seems perfectly acceptable.

Link to the product:
conurus.com/product/sony-nex/ef-e-bm1-detail

Update: Conurus has been kind enough to inform me that the firmware I was using for this review is out of date, and that a newer firmware fixes the IS issue I had.