I intended to have this piece ready before the new year but maybe it’s better this way. The year 2014 is a year we have never seen before (no kidding, lol). most times, our wishes for the Nigerian multimedia sphere usually include better videos in terms of technical quality and know how, directing, acting but how about we focus on the more attainable stuff within the industry? Well, that is why we are here. I am going to go through a list of stuff that will see significant changes in the new year within the industry and some stalwarts that won’t be going the way of the dodo anytime soon. So here goes.
1. CINEMATOGRAPHY: On the gadget side, 2014 should be an interesting year for cinematographers in the industry. DSLRs have been a great tool in producing really great work with minimal budgets, but their shortcomings can no longer be overlooked. From moire, to banding, aliasing, rolling shutter aka jellocam to overheating after prolonged use while shooting documentaries or live events (P.S the author has experienced all of these mentioned above, though the moire is not that bad) and finally, the 4Gb recording limit on DSLRs. With all these problems prevalent with DSLRs, one wonders why people used them in the first place, manufacturers seemed to have thought along that same line and thus preferred solutions in the forms of the Panasonic AF101, Sony FS 100, FS 700, Canon C 100,C 300, C 500, and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
Now a good number of them are quite affordable considering that the Canon 1DC is a $12 000 DSLR and the Panasonic goes for about $2000 and the Canon C 100 is about $8000. At this price point, what do they offer against established DSLR cameras like the Canon 5D mark III or the Panasonic lumix GH3 or the nikon D610? Well, here’s a couple; The Canon C series of cameras offer a C-log preset that gives almost flat images akin to RAW, which means it doesn’t shoot raw,nor does it offer pro res like the blackmagic line of cameras. However, the 8 bit image it offers coupled with Adobe’s Premiere pro’s native editing prowess a lot can be done without having to transcode to prores or uncompressed 422. The Panasonic AF101 and the Sony cameras records in AVCHD which isn’t that bad, most editors have edited footage shot in the AVCHD codec in the past. The Blackmagic cameras of course are the most anticipated game changers for me, price is insane, delivery is mad, although there are a few kinks that still need sorting out. So, why are these cameras better than the existing crop of DSLRs? Well, at only $4000 the blackmagic Cinema Camera shoots at an amazing ultraHD(4K) resolution, with the option of RAW or Prores 422, secondly, the line skipping algorithm used to make an 18 mega pixel DSLR shoot a 2MP(1080p) image has been reworked on these cameras, except maybe the blackmagic pocket camera, so no more moire or aliasing. They work with your regular DSLR mount lenses as well. Did I mention no more 4Gb recording limit for a single video clip, or no more overheating and switching off after more than two hours of prolonged use?
2. POST PRODUCTION/EDITING: I think on that front it will still remain a final cut versus Adobe premiere pro battle for a little while longer, before windows based editors all switch to Avid media composer seeing as Adobe might have shot themselves in the foot with the creative cloud thing. We premiere users are stuck on cs6,waiting for Adobe’s servers to crash and render people’s data irrecoverable so they renege on the creative cloud program and give us our good old creative suite back. On the other hand, final cut pro X got an update that brought it closer to cs6 but still behind premiere cc (what would have been our cs7). We who have tasted final cut 7 in its heydays- and still use it from time to time-still think final cut pro X still doesn’t cut it, all puns intended. However the integration between final cut and motion is so fluid that it makes one wish apple motion was better than cs6 photoshop extended version in what it offered (yup, motion is nowhere near Adobe’s after effects so I’d just keep comparing it to photoshop) . Premiere pro’s integration with after effects on the other hand is a major resource hog, especially if you are working with GPU unfriendly/CPU intensive codecs such as H.264 or H.265 (I expect consumer based cameras to begin using this codec soon enough as the data compression rates are unbelievable). Soundtrack pro (part of the final cut suite of editing softwares) is leaps better than Adobe’s offering, named Audition (formerly sound booth). Audio treatment on soundtrack is better than on Audition, but you can always use alternative softwares like audacity for your audio editing issues.
P.S If thanks to the Adobe Creative Cloud rubbish, you’ve decided to go mac, build a “hackintosh” rather than buy a mac pro or imac, those things are bloody expensive for no fathomable reason, Ryan Koo shows us how to do it here. Thank me later.
DIRECTING: I have nothing to say to you, google Vsevolod Pudovkin, go watch ‘jaws’ or any Stanley Kubrick film and thank me for saving you a trip to PEFTI. I mean, if the people who churn out Papa Ajasco in its current form are teaching you how to direct movies and such, whaddaya ‘xpect? Go to the National Film Institute Jos, or just buy swift and take a MOOC course from iversity and other online educational sites and remember, YouTube is your friend, but Vimeo might be better
OPERATING SYSTEM OF CHOICE FOR POST PRODUCTION: Unfortunately, more editors here in Nigeria will switch to mac, hoping for continuous updates for final cut pro X, no thanks to Adobe and their Creative Cloud, who has money to pay for always on Internet so one can open their editing projects, save it, or even work in premiere pro at all? Rubbish! I’ll just go and learn avid joor. After all, over sixty percent of the American guild of editors make use of it, and Dream works studios actually use HP workstations which means a windows and avid combo.
I really can’t say, but till I see Ojuju the movie I say we are still going to be stuck with using bridal and fashion show make up artists for our movies and soaps, definitely no special effects makeup about to pop up anytime soon, but fingers crossed while I check out Ojuju.
Can we have more nice film titles (titles oh, not content, that one is a long thing) like “DAMAGED”, “JOURNEY TO SELF”, “PHONE SWAP” et al. No more stolen titles like “HONEYMOON HOTEL” or crass titles like “TEAR MY BRA”, “ASUU STRIKE” obviously that will never change, we will keep having a mix of good and bad titles for as long as Tchidi Chikere keeps making films.
Music Scores are a nightmare here in this our nollywood, especially in a Tchidi Chikere production where he produces, directs and scores. yup he sings in his videos too. So my humble opinion is we won’t have Hans Zimmer score a film for us anytime soon, but the music scores are getting better, hint, PHONE SWAP.
So there’s it for 2014 I believe. Cheers