Monthly Archives: March 2012

Canon’s New 5D Mark III and the April Canon Boot Camp!


Canon’s rolled out the camera we’ve been waiting for….the new Canon 5D Mark III. And we are incredibly lucky that our Prague Canon camera classes are occurring this month, because we were able to get our hands on this new Canon DSLR 5D (thanks to Canon Europe) and get familiar with it.
In out April Canon Boot Camp we’ll be sharing all the exciting new features and capabilities Canon’s come up with to make the Canon DSLR 5D even more friendly to video shooters:
  • Does the brand new, 22.3 megapixel sensor look better than the Mark II”s?
  • What is the new “safe” noise level in the ISO settings from 100 – 25600?
  • What’s the new procedure for using the movie mode control button?
  • Does the DIGIC 5+ image processor, with 
  •  enhanced noise reduction & speed, overheat when shooting 60 fps?
  • Does the DUAL Card Slot system (for 30 min continuous) work flawlessly?
  • Does the Hotswap card really work?
  • What  CF cards and what  SD cards should you use?
  • Which new compression schemes (“all i-frame” or IPB compression) should you use?
  • Does the Manual audio level control during filming work as promised?
  • Is the embedded timecode “friendly” to editing platforms?

The Canon 5D Mark III Back View

We’ll have the answers to a lot of your questions, plus we’ll walk you through the operation of the camera with our patented, “ACTIVE LEARNING” methods so you get your money’s worth with data you can use and apply.  Columbia University says active learning is the best form of education there is. 

Come by and join us at the Canon Boot Camp in April. Get trained. Get Certified. Get Certain you can run with the Canon HDSLRs.



The Canon Boot Camp’s first day in Prague

Hello from Prague!

We just wrapped up our first full day in the Czech Republic, and what a day it was. We had our first official production meeting with Markus and Martin of Creovision, the exceptional Czech production company that is hosting our first international Canon Boot Camp. We were having weekly Skype meetings, but today was the first time we could look at each other, and not stare at our computer screen. The planning of the Prague Canon camera classes started over a year ago, and now, here we are, ready to train European’s best in the Canon DSLR 5D and 7D.

Markus, Fletch, and Tom

We started at 9 AM to go over the schedule for our 10-day stay. We got to Day 3 and ran out of time…so I’m still not sure what will happen day 4-10, but maybe it’s for the best. Based on the schedule for Day 3, which is the day of our first boot camp, it’s going to be hectic. We’ll be meeting at the studio that day at 5 AM and won’t wrap until 9 PM. Do they make a 10-hour energy drink? Because I’ll be needing that. Please mail some to the Courtyard Marriott in Prague…

Next, we went on our first location scout at the gorgeous Prague train station, where most of our shoot will take place. We blocked out the shots and became even more confident that we were going to have a beautiful and successful shoot. We were so engrossed in the lively train station that Markus had a hard time pulling us away to have lunch.

The old Prague Train Station

Tom acting as the janitor, and Fetch acting as the frustrated male lead.

I came to Prague to mug people with my partner-in-crime, Tom Myrdahl.

After a very filling Czech lunch, we met a few of the other video production crew members as well as the main actors for our short film. Irena and Vojat have been good friends for 10 years, let’s see if they can play lovers. After a very convincing mock fight, where the room went silent with tension, I’m sure they will pull it off.

Tomorrow, we return to the train station with a more complete storyboard and shot list. Then, while Fletch, Tom, and Nancy play with the new Canon DSLR 5D Mark III (yes, we somehow got our hands on it), I will be going to the prop house to look at Czechoslovakian military costumes from the 1910 era and Gibson girl style wardrobe.

I am impressed by how organized Markus, Martin, and the whole Creovision crew is. They are able to get everything we ask for, and more. And that includes the Canon C300 and the Canon 5D Mark III.


Mastering the Canon DSLR: Shoot with the Pros

Paul Fletcher Murray, President The Association Sometimes we get so busy producing our boot camps and handling productions that we forget how much talent we have coursing through the veins of The Association. For the benefit of those meeting us for the first time, perhaps through this blog, an introduction is in order for a couple of “The Boys.”

First up, Paul Fletcher Murray, or “Fletch” as we call him, our multi-Emmy award-winning director of photography. Fletch has shot over 200 films in 25 countries. Having been in the video production business for decades, there isn’t much he doesn’t know about production, filming and cameras. Getting his start producing local shorts for a TV news station in Tulsa, OK, he moved on to start his own production company in Los Angeles. For nearly 30 years (an impressive length of time for a private production company to be in business) The Association of Film and Video Producers has produced everything from commercials for Coors, Kawasaki, Alpine, Universal Studios Jaws Lagoon etc. to 90-minute documentaries.

Although Fletch is getting a reputation for knowing Canon DSLR cameras from our Canon camera classes, he has shot with a number of cameras: VistaVision, Panavision, Mitchell, Cinemascope, and Arriflex. Of his eighteen documentaries, the first won the Chicago Film Festival, his last documentary, ‘Google Me the Movie’, was spotlighted on ‘Oprah.’ An excellent story teller, Fletch’s scriptwriting skills once earned him a personal request from the now late J. Paul Getty to conduct an interview at his estate in England, as part of a docuseries Fletch created on Oil Tycoons, Getty being the last remaining living tycoon of his time.

Having shot hand-held, car-to-car, and helicopter, aerial shots in his award-winning career, there isn’t much he hasn’t mastered, and there’s even less he’s afraid of.

So for those who want to shoot with the pros, Fletch has forgotten more than many filmmakers will ever master. He continues to be on the cutting edge of technology, constantly studying new cameras like Canon’s C300 and the newly released Canon 5D Mark III. We’ll be hearing more about these cameras in upcoming blog posts and our newsletter, so keep up to date by clicking on the event RSS Feed on this blog page or email us to be added to our newsletter.

55+ Users Double Mobile Visits to Social Networks

55+ Users Double Mobile Visits

It appears we are getting social on the go. What’s interesting to me is the age group that has expanded the most is the one stereotyped as “not social” or at least not that savvy with social media. Still, as tools and the social networks themselves become simplified, and perhaps because mobile phones are practically the only way to actually get through to anyone under the age of 25, the 55+ crowd is apparently getting better at navigating tiny keyboards

The statistics above don’t show how engaged this older market is in actually sharing, however. I suspect that the younger set is much more active and less inclined to filter what they say online. So even though the 55+ market is rapidly expanding as far as mobile and social use go, the effect on business remains to be seen.  Or I should say that it’s not represented in the graph above. From my experience, the 55+ and older crowd is willing enough to be social on channels like Facebook, but often lack the understanding to be effective. I know this because I often coach these more experience business owners on the use of social tools and blogging.

This graph from my Facebook Page “Really Simple Social Media” shows that the largest audience I have is 55+. Probably because the focus is on keeping social media simple. Younger people don’t need my help in quite the same way as they don’ t have as much trouble navigating through social networking sites.

 "Likes" Demographics for Really SImple Social Media Page

What’s this mean for companies engaging in corporate social media? Make it easy for Baby Boomers. Hidden menus like the kind found in Facebook (yes, there are navigation tools you can’t see unless you hover your mouse over them) are not exactly 55+ friendly.

Guest Speaker: Dana Christiaansen

Hard working, fast, amiable, and smart are just a few of the adjectives Dana’s colleagues use to describe him. Director of photography on films such as Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1987) and Beasts of War (1988), Dana Christiaansen has been working in the business for eighteen years. A visionary cinematographer and director, Christiaansen is well known for doing car commercials for Nissan, Infinity, BMW, and many others.

Dana came to our Canon Boot Camp to talk to our students about what he does, what he’s learned from his extensive experience, and answered some of our students’ cine questions. He began by showing us “XXIT“, a short film he DP’d that demonstrates the quality of the Canon C300′s performance. Fletch Murray, President of The Association and Chief Instructor of our Canon Boot Camp, interviewed Dana and captured it all on film. We divided the interview into 3 sections so we could release it as it was edited, but we are now putting all three sections together in one blog post.


In Part 1, Dana gives us a taste of what it was like to work with him on the short film directed by Sam Nicholson, ‘XXIT’, shot with the C300. Basically, you have to be ready to run!

The C300 DPs–Dana Christiaansen Pt. 1 from Fletch/The Association on Vimeo.


In Part 2, Dana puts his techie hat on as we explored the C300 “under the hood.”

The C300 DPs–Dana Christiaansen Pt. 2 from Fletch/The Association on Vimeo.


In Part 3, Dana describes the lighting techniques and custom-built light panels he used to shoot ‘XXIT’, directed by Sam Nicholson.

The C300 DPs–Dana Christiaansen Pt. 3 from Fletch/The Association on Vimeo.


Stay tuned for the Eric Schmidt, DP interview, coming up soon! For more information about our Canon Boot Camp, visit or click on any of the upcoming class dates listed along the right of this blog. Generally our Canon camera classes are on the last weekend of the month, except in March (the Boot Camp is traveling to Prague) and there will not be any classes in May.

Downloading and Using CineStyle on your Canon 5D, 7D, and 60D

Take charge of the image you are outputting by downloading Technicolor’s CineStyle. Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide to getting the software onto your Canon DSLR 5D, 7D, and 60D.

What’s so great about CineStyle and why should you bother downloading it? Technicolor created CineStyle to allow you to shoot a flatter picture. This means that you retain more color information in your image so that you can have more control in post-production instead of using a baked-in look Canon created that has lost information. With CineStyle, your dark grays remain dark grey and do not automatically go black, so you have more gradation of tones to work with. CineStyle is as close to shooting “raw” as we can with the Canon 5D and 7D.




Canon’s preset look, Faithful, throws away much of the color information to make the image a beautifully colored, contrasted look. Notice that in CineStyle, the blinds in the background retain much of the tone gradation. We can clearly see the lines of the blinds, whereas in Faithful, the blacks of the blinds have been crushed so there is no detail. This means that you could never get the details back after shooting with the Faithful preset. CineStyle, however, gives you the chance to work with these details if you wish. You can also judge the difference in gradation for yourself by looking at the grey scale my reluctant model is holding.

Since you are getting such a flat look from CineStyle, I would recommend using it only if you can spend time on color correction. CineStyle, in its rawness, is not an aesthetic look; some time must be spent to massage it into its full potential. It gives you the opportunity to sculpt the look that you want by retaining details in tone that would have been overridden by Canon’s preset Picture Styles.

To install Technicolor’s CineStyle, first, make sure that you have the latest version of Canon EOS Utility, which you can find here.

You can download CineStyle to your computer by going to Technicolor’s site.

Below is a step-by-step video to help you: