Xhail – A way to create you Music Bed

Ok so this looks like it can be a power full tool for people to have and if you watch the video its not running on a algorithm. Its real music tracks that you can add instruments and alter a full peace of music just like you would in something like protools. As a Cinematographer / Musician / former recording studio owner myself, I can see this being huge for many film makers and even game developers that can not produce there own original sound tracks. This Also gives studios and musician a new modern way of creating and being part of the entertain business. Its not in anyway a AUTO EDIT MY FILM WITH MUSIC its a generator just like The Music Bed or Song freedom. You search the style / feel your looking for (cinematic, drama, pop, rock) and it will gerenorate real music to fit that feel that you can fully control. Its rather genius. Imagine having Hanz Zimmer giving you his full track session recording from his recording studio that you can now just use the piano or the strings or the drums, and change the timing on something? its an unlimited way to create with ultimate control. Pretty awesome if you ask me! – Jon Santos

Wedding Films

Here is some new work from recent weddings.  It has been fun to add in some footage from the sky! As a huge superman fan its really amazing having control over something in the air.  It lets you see your every day world from different eyes. To be able to fly around my environment and not only say WOW, look at that, my clients are blown away at the view point that not even there photograph will give them.  I gives me new inspiration to film, to get to a place I never was able to get to and adds an amazing production value that your clients are used to seeing on the big screen.


Video Led Light

Today we are all pretty much using LED lights for most things in video. I have a number of them my self. I never liked the LEDs that you clip on the amber gel to change the color tempatur then I found this affordable light from  Aputure Ameran.

Its easy, and the color is the best of the one I have used. 198 LED that switch half and half from 5200 to 3200 with out clipping on any gels. the color seems very accurate, it don’t fall to far in green or magenta. If your looking around for a cost effective LED only $65 for you event videos, hit up amazon.com I think you will love this one.

Jon Santos



Canon c100 Mark ii

Canon posted the new Canon c100 Mark ii on their website this week. If you have a c100 is it worth the upgrade?


The biggest add ons for me would be the 1080/60p. I still think they can just push an update with that in to the c100. it kind of sucks that a camera priced at almost $6k don’t have 60p when a camera now priced at $1,799 (canon 7D mark ii) has it. Stupid? UMMM YES I would say so.   A useful upgrade looks like the view finder. As most say the one on the c100 was not useable, I find my self using it often and this would be a great one to have from what it looks like. The Face detection also sounds good and I also feel that can be a firmware update.  A new 8.3 megapixel sensor and Digic DV 4 will add to the already amazing video footage. Can it be much better? 24 Mbps now up to 28 Mbps. I don’t think you will see much difference. The footage out of the c100 is already amazing and I can’t think your eye would see a world of difference unless you have a 80inch Ultra HD TV and this camera pushing out 4k video but that it does not. I mean what do you want for $6,000? your money worth? What? you say well cameras at less than half that price push out 4k and a better bit depth? oh well. The c100 is amazing and these few upgrades I think they should have done with firmware. My hopes right now is that the c100 drops in price and I can’t get another one.


Jon Santos



Phantom 2 Vision Plus

Update on DJI Phantom 2 Vision plus.

Its been almost a month now and I have been flying the Phantom 2 vision plus  for just under 30 days. I have used it is 3 weddings now and I can only say it truly adds a new demotion to our productions here. We are all use to seeing great cinematic video clips from above in every tv show and movie and now we can truly offer that look and feel to our clients. Whats the problem then? its the camera. If you looking in to getting in to filming from the sky in any kind of professional way then this camera will not cut it. its has to be some of the worst HD quality bit rate and compression I have seen. The iPhone looks 150 times better then this camera and thats kind of sad. I will be returning this in 2 days to upgrade in to the new Gopro Hero 4 version of the Phantom. The new go pro hero 4 is looking like it packs a big punch in HD and 4k (UHD)

If you really want to get in to this professionally then simply go right in to the go pro version just under $3,000. Im sure it will be worth the investment. Soon as I get some new footage from that in a few weeks I’ll post up some clips for you to compare with these other clips below.

A big thank you to my past few clients for letting me play with this new gear and test everything out on the job. My clients are truly the best!

Jon Santos http://www.rocklifestudios.com



This is my first impression of the Phantom 2 vision plus. I spent a few days now flying it around town testing out the camera. Because lets face it, we need great video for our productions and that starts at the camera. Now giving the fact that something like this would only be used for a few shots on a few select weddings or projects it may just be the perfect camera at the right price point with  ok video quality.

First I’m going to start with the point that this is not a toy. This is a real film making machine and if you’re not careful you can hurt your self, others and or break it.

For the price, the phantom 2 vision+ is amazing. It’s build is great, crashed once so far, about a 10 foot fall, and it was just fine. The GPS on it is amazing to help with your flight and keeping it steady in the air and even returning home when needed. Now, this is the version that comes with a camera and gimbal, not the GoPro version.  The gimbal is so amazingly steady that I almost don’t want to use a glide cam any more. The wifi connects right to your iPhone to use as a monitor and controller for settings. I’m still messing around with the settings like ISO, filed of view and exposure stuff but so far, the camera quality is the only thing I would compare to a toy. NO real manual control, ISO 100, 200 & 400. F stop is fixed and you can set a shutter speed or really lock in a exposer. I have set the ISO to 100 and exposer to zero and the camera still adjusts the exposer and I’m thinking its maybe doing so by shutter speed. It would be much better if we could just truly lock in a setting.

I’m editing on a 30inch  monitor and there is such a lack of clarity, massive amounts of aliasing & moire. On the internet its not really to bad but when you view it on a 60inch screen you can really see the problems with the camera. I have seen some side by side footage of the DJI camera and GoPro Hero 3 and the GoPro has some more detail in it image.  I can only compare the quality to something like a GoPro but less detail quality in the footage.   I feel the iPhone and Note phones have better quality footage then this camera. VERY VERY grainy footage in low light so make sure to get your best footage before the sun sets.

Over all if you only need a camera for 3-4 shots during your day for an event then this may be the camera for you at just under $1,200. Its ready to fly, no set up time out side of turning it on and opening the app. I need things to be as fast and easy to get a shot and get to my next location.  You get about 25 mins of flight time so you may also want to pick up a couple extra batteries for $129 each.

After I see how this works in to my production I may upgrade to a copter that can at least hold a smaller camcorder like a Canon XA 10. I wish DJI would come out with a Phantom with a gimbal and iPhone monitor connection Just like the vision 2 Plus but that will hold a camcorder and a $2,000 price point.

-Jon Santos www.rocklifestudios.com

Wedding Cinema Post Production

I’m asked all the time by clients “what is the difference between documentary wedding and cinema wedding” Well that sometime is hard to tell but easy to show. 90% want to hire you for your work that they have seen on your website. 10% will question everything because they don’t understand what the different style of filming and the post production work that goes in to the final product. I start by telling them they are different cameras I use for them. Documentary I use a small HD camcorder and I do not work with the clients one on one. I stay in the back round and follow in the foot steps of the photographer. I don’t bring a glide cam, slider or jib for the wedding. When I say Well the few big differences is color correcting and color grading and all the gear I would bring or not bring, that’s the point you have already lost them simply because they do not work in film of photography and have zero idea what you are talking about. So how do you explain the cost jump from one style to the next? give them a kind of behind the scenes look at before and after so they can see what goes in to making the cinema video look and sound like it does and what separates it from the traditional documentary video. giving your client all the info they need to understand why your product is different, why the cost is justified and what may set you apart from the others, your competition. The key is letting them know that their wedding is going to be different and what they may see may not apply exactly but its the basic idea of how my post production works. Before I meet with clients I send them to my FAQ page on my business website so they can learn more about the process before we meet up. Below is the videos I put together to try to visually explain the basic workings of my post productions.

Skytop Wedding

Filmed with Canon c100 & Canon 5d Mark iii
Cinematographer: Jon Santos

Some of you may have taken a visit at my website in the past www.rocklifestudios.com and see that a big bulk of my work are weddings. Over the years I have had a nice chance to do a few beautiful destination wedding but this was more of a local destination wedding. Just over 2.5 hours from NY is a location in PA called Skytop Lodge. what a beautiful location to have a wedding. First, I want not thinking when I left NY that is was going to be rather cool out side in the middle of June. During the wedding ceremony it dropped to 50 degrees and I had no jacket. That morning when I checked in to my hotel I was in shorts and a tank top because it was about 70 degrees back in the NY area. I said hey! if the girls can do it, I can do it.

But anyway, Ben (the groom) showed me around the lodge and every inch of this place has a classic look and feel to it. I walked past the arcade area and the smell took me back to my kid years of playing games at the arcade with friends for hours and hours. I was working along side of Dbecker photography www.dbeckerphoto.com  and Dennis said “we are going to the tower for photos”. Well the elevator was soooo small I ran up 5 or 6 flights of steps with my Canon c100 mounted to my tripod in one hand the my Canon 5D3 on my glide cam in the other hand. We came out on the top of the tower to the view of an amazing Pocono mountain top sunset. My Canon c100 battery died just when I started to film, not due to me not changing my batter but due to a defective batter that I just found out about at that moment. But I wish I could have filmed on top of the tower with the C100 but I was left with only the Canon 5d3 on my glide cam. still, its great camera and did very well but I wish I could have captured that sunset with the detail of the c100. ( Thanks to my camera dealer Chris at ZGC, shes getting it replaced for me. )

I hope you enjoy this wedding film from that great day in the Pocono Mountain’s at Skytop Lodge.







Princeton University, N.J.

So I had a wedding in Princeton NJ at the University. I have to say, kind of made me think of going back to school because I really liked the area and that campus. I would love to film a project in the area, just beautiful building and art work. Here are a few clips from my B-roll footage.


“HER” would you date your OS?


A movie does not need to have a massive fight sequence created in CGI and 50 explosions every 5 mins to enjoy a good story. Sometimes I feel today blockbusters are 120 min of just bang, boom and explode. Not that I’m saying I don’t enjoy them, I do. Just take the last incarnation of Superman “Man Of Steel” I wish there was some more story to it but I LOVED the movie. They blow up everything from the city to the moon and back and it was great to really see Superman unleash his power like that.

But as much as I can love and enjoy a film like Man of steel, spiderman and transformers, there is always the other side of me that wants more of just a good film, a good story and have it filmed great. The movie “HER” just hit iTunes this morning and I got up early to sit back and see it. I wanted to see this in the theaters but I just never got around to it.

This is a simple yet complex story of a man who is lost in his own world that find him self falling in love with this new girl in his life, Samantha. I know you have heard it before bla bla. But this is a new take on something I think man kind is heading for. Samantha (played by Scarlett Johansson) is an Operating system, OS1. OS1 is a fully working artificial intelligence that is alive, learning, loving, and living in Theodore’s (Joaguin Phoenix) Computer and phone. Samantha is not like the dumb ass SIRI we have on our iPhones. Samantha lives and learns just like us. She is seeing the world for the first time through the camera phone, she is learning to feel, she can’t understand how she feels, she just knows she feels it.

As you watch this movie, you kind of forget at points that she’s not real, as if she’s just a girl on the phone talking to you, laughing with you, enjoying intimate moments and feeling sad with you. She hears the tone of enjoyment and sadness in Theodore’s voice. Does that really some like a computer to you?

This movie was beautiful to watch. Kind of had an indie cinematic look to it. very natural and I love that about it. But it also makes you think about where our future maybe heading. If something can act, think, learn, listen, answer, love and share with you, is it not real? I share a love with a non human every day and I have had a relation ship with this little 10 pound creature for 10 years now. He looks at me, I see he thinks, shares his feelings with me and asks for nothing but love. Buts not Human, he’s a dog. What if that was a computer? a computer that was more like you? that can hang out with you and your friends? intelligence that can see you and share in every moment with you and grows with you?

This is something this movie really makes you think about. Could you have a relationship with a artificial intelligence, At what point will we blur the lines so much that AI will be the same or better the Real Life.  When will it come a time that humans are just code developed in a lab and grown? Will that be the day we can say “well, we are all Artificial Intelligence.

If you think it’s a bit crazy and so far in the future and no one will ever talk to their computer of phones, pick up your iPhone, say Hi Siri, ask her how she’s doing today, ask her is she has seen any movies lately. Look at you now! sharing a moment with the girl on your phone. You know you’ve done it.

Give this movie a go and think about. Would you have a relationship with an OS.

This is really a great movie and you should hit up iTunes and see it.


Jon Santos : Rock Life Studios

Photo by Jon Santos www.rocklifestudios.com

Video stills, The new photography?

Pulling photos from video. “video stills”  the new way of photography?

One of my newer favorite things to do has been pulling stills from my videos. I didn’t like to do this to often with my 5D3 because I was never really happy with how the video quality looked, never sharp and was always missing something. I’m starting to wish I was filming with all 4K cameras because I would have more of an up sell to clients on also selling photos from my videos. I offer my clients very high-end case for their video packaging so the art work needs to be great. Im filming mostly now on a Canon c100 and the video quality is so much better the 5D3 or 70D that I have been getting great useable photos up to a solid 5×7 DVD case size. This is a new game changer for the video world as I’m feeling shortly down the line I will upgrade in to the Canon 1Dc and film everything in 4K to pull these much higher rez stills from the video for a print closer to 11×17.

To have 24 images a second rather than 6 images that most cameras can shoot is amazing. You can just simply film, move and a bit, reframe, have the subject do what ever they want and you just film. You can now look over each frame, pick that perfect moment that may have happen between your normal 6 frame. At 24p you will have 4 times more images  then the normal that you get with normal bust more. Imagine the possibility at this point or even the possibility with a 4K video camera shooting at 60p! In time the lines from Video and Photo are going to be so blurred that there will not be “photographers” as we know them now. It will be a time that everyone is just filming and pulling out the stills, editing and selling.

Here are a few samples from yesterdays wedding that I pulled from the c100 and did a fast edit in photoshop.