Director of photography Jon Nelson, owner of Production Hero in Orange County, Calif., recently acquired a Fujinon PL 19-90 Cabrio (model ZK4.7x19) Premier PL Mount cinema-style zoom lens, which he paired with a Sony PMW-F55 CineAlta 4K digital cinema camera. “While image quality is without question extremely important, I decided to buy this particular camera and lens because they offer very beneficial operational and logistical advantages,” Nelson explains.
Set in 1963, The Watsons Go to Birmingham depicts a fictional family’s road trip as it intersects with a true-life bombing during the turbulent civil rights era. Cinematographer James Chressanthis, ASC, used two Canon EOS C300 cameras and Canon’s EF series lenses to help with some of the film’s challenging production requirements.
The ARRI Ultra Wide Zoom (UWZ) is of really stunning quality, with none of the distortion you would expect from such wide focal lengths. The image stays rock solid. I immediately realized that this lens would be great for shooting architecture or any other situation where you need to maintain straight lines in the frame.
To create the appropriate feel for the film 42, which follows the story of Jackie Robinson, the first player to break through baseball’s color barrier, director Brian Helgeland called on the talents of director of photography Don Burgess, ASC. “This is a striking story. I needed to reflect the passions and excitement of the drama as it unfolded,” explains Burgess. “One way to help create the mood was through the use of filters.
Keeping a consistent look on a multicamera shoot is always a challenge. Mike & Molly cinematographer Gary Baum has found that shooting four HD cameras simultaneously might not give him the luxury of multiple lighting setups within a scene, but he can get the lighting and lenses to match by using Schneider Optics Classic Soft 1/8 and 1/4 filters.
The return of show creator Dan Harmon as executive producer/showrunner and the exit of actor Chevy Chase are not the only changes on NBC’s Community for 2014, the show’s fifth season. Returning cinematographer Gary Hatfield also changed production formats, switching from shooting the series on the ARRI Alexa to Sony’s F55.
Ricardo Rivera hopes that attendees at this year’s Sundance Film Festival will be transfixed by the elaborate artistic display projected onto the façade of Park City’s Egyptian Theater. The work, called The Projectionist, devised via Rivera’s Philadelphia-based company KLIP Collective, makes use of the projection mapping process he pioneered that brings new life to vintage structures. KLIP Collective showed a projection mapping project at Sundance last year, the bizarre piece What’s He Building in There?, though at a more remote Park City location. This year the KLIP team is also responsible for the short intro that rolls before every screening at Sundance, which takes place January 16-26 in Park City, Utah.
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“Compact” is the word of the year. DSLRs have earned their spot as integral tools in the video production arsenal, and manufacturers are increasingly offering miniature cameras with professional cinematography features, such as the Pocket Cinema Camera from Blackmagic Design. Even with their outsized imaging capabilities, though, these smaller cameras have a weakness: audio recording.
I’ve been anticipating getting my hands on a ring light for quite a while. Having a dimmable source of illumination right next to your lens is a perfect lighting solution for many situations. Not only will you add a bit of brightness, you’ll also be putting a sparkle in your talent’s eye. Recently I was offered Rosco’s new LitePad Loop Pro Kit for review.
For many shooters today, the watchword is “compact.” Cameras are smaller and, unfortunately, limited budgets mean crews are smaller as well. Throw a DSLR and a couple of lenses in a backpack, add some cards and a few extra batteries, strap your tripod to the backpack and all you need is lighting. The run-and-gun shooter may find himself in a variety of lighting environments over the course of the day and needs a kit that can accommodate them all.
When Canon launched the Cinema EOS System in November 2011, the professional digital cinematography line included seven EF Cinema lenses and the EOS C300 camera in PL and EF mount configurations. In the intervening years, Canon has added the C100 camera (EF mount) and the C500, which is available in EF and PL lens mount configurations. EF mount is compatible with most of Canon’s still camera lens stock, and PL mount accepts Canon’s outstanding Cinema Series lenses. Cinema Series zooms are available in EF and PL mount.
It’s 1868. In San Francisco, lumber merchant Matthew Turner can’t find suitable fast ships to carry his timber. With almost no training in boat building, he says, “I’ll build them myself.”
The brigantine Matthew Turner being built today—inspired by Turner’s 1891 ship, the Galilee
Over the years, he designs and builds 228 tall ships.
In 1891, he builds the Galilee.
Stop Shaky Shots
A sign of an amateur attempting to hand-hold a film or video camera is the amount of vibration or shake in the image. Elizabeth Golden of New Orleans asks if I know a way to avoid the problem.
Most of us are aware that the longer the lens, the more any given amount of movement will show up.
Years ago when shooting handheld news aerials I learned to avoid the “amateur shake” and make my zooms to longer focal lengths smoother by watching the edge of the picture in the viewfinder. Any shake will first become obvious there because of its proximity to the non-moving edge of the frame.
As you zoom in, if you begin to notice shake at the edge, stop the zoom. Chances are the movement will not yet be objectionable in the picture’s center and you will have saved the shot.
I’m guessing that as you’re heading into 2014, your resolutions are literally about resolutions—you’re considering formats, codecs, metadata, specs, workflows and workloads. It’s easy to bypass the creative aspects of your work and focus on the technical necessities. I want to suggest that you make yourself a promise to produce a short film this year. We all have the tools, or access to the tools, to develop and deliver a video project that’s creative and non-commercial—essentially just for you.
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have already spawned a number of outstanding films, but one that is bound to set the bar higher is the upcoming Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg as U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. In early screenings, a number of critics compared the film favorably with Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down.
Hot off his success with Silver Linings Playbook, writer/director David O. Russell is back with the year-end release of American Hustle. The film (co-written with Eric Singer) was inspired by the FBI’s true-life Abscam sting operation of the late 1970s. It tells the story of con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), who are recruited by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) to pull off the operation targeting corrupt public officials. While the film incorporates many facets of actual events, Russell deepens the characterizations and refocuses events to get at a deeper truth about reinvention and survival. The film is not as much about the politicians who take bribes as about the people who develop the con at the heart of the sting operation.
Few directors have Martin Scorsese’s talent to tell entertaining stories about the seamier side of life. He has the unique ability to get us to understand and often be seduced by people who live outside the social norms. That’s an approach he’s used with great success in films like Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and Gangs of New York. Following this path is Scorsese’s newest, The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the memoir of stock broker Jordan Belfort.
Apple’s Final Cut Pro X uses an effects architecture based on templates tied to the underpinnings of Apple Motion 5. Even if the user hasn’t purchased Motion, its engine is the one that drives effects in FCP X.