For those digital shooters whose visions of Christmas sugarplums included asking Santa for a six-figure mega-multipixel digital cinema camera, the HERO3 released by GoPro at the end of 2012 may seem like a mere stocking stuffer. But this remarkably flexible, matchbox-size camera is probably already shooting more action scenes on location than all other digital video cameras combined—with the exception of the hundreds of thousands of earlier models of GoPro HERO sports cameras covering excitement all around the world since the company’s first digital model hit the street four years ago.
Go back a few years and it’s easy to recall that the process of getting video from the field and into the studio involved a fair amount of schlep and prep. Then came an inkling of change on the horizon with the advent of palm-sized digital devices that could record and transport high-resolution video and eliminate the bulky videocassette entirely.
Back when I was a wee lad and an electrician working in films, a cinematographer once looked at me and said, “Do you know the difference between an accidental flare and an intentional one?” I thought for a moment and admitted I did not. He said, “Your day rate.”
I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t force someone working on our magazine to stop what they’re doing and watch an insanely great video. That could mean anything from a tribute to the city of New Orleans shot by Bill and Turner Ross (Tchoupitoulas) for the NFL, to Sivu’s music video filmed inside an MRI, to “Choros,” a short film by Michael Langan that uses a “digital echo” technique to create a complicated, choreographed sequence of 32 dancers using only one performer.
Shot over the past decade by director and cinematographer Ben Shapiro, Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters is a methodically rendered portrait of the acclaimed photographer’s work and process. Known for his meticulously composed, large-scale images staged with crews that rival many feature film productions, Crewdson creates narratives of small-town American life inspired by the worlds of Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, Edward Hopper and Diane Arbus. Crewdson’s commercial work, including promos for the TV series Six Feet Under and album art for indie group Yo La Tengo, has helped the artist establish an aesthetic that is immediately recognizable within the popular culture landscape.
Known for directing feature films including The Silence of the Lambs, Married to the Mob and Philadelphia, Jonathan Demme is also known for his passion project documentaries. His most recent is I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad and the Beautiful for PBS’ POV, which presents the post-Hurricane Katrina journey of a New Orleans native who stood her ground.
Technicolor CineStyle Color Assist enters a market already crowded with color grading and looks applications and plug-ins, but since it is a color application from color technology pioneer Technicolor, it merits a look.
It was while browsing the exhibit halls of last year’s NAB Show that I was introduced to Dougmon. A pretty lady with Canon EOS 7D got my attention and her DSLR rig reeled it in.
Dougmon is an accessory for small cameras that aids in handheld, on-the-fly operation. It was conceived and built by a working cameraman, Doug Monroe, a 30-year veteran videographer and director of photography with an extensive list of credits.
The concept of synchronizing clips by sound seems so obvious in retrospect, but when Bruce Sharpe showed his first version of PluralEyes at a small NAB booth, it struck many as nothing short of magic. The first version was designed to sync multiple consumer and prosumer video cameras by aligning their soundtracks in the absence of recorded timecode.
Drag camera file and external audio into the PluralEyes 3 interface for easy synchronization of double-system sound productions.
Onboard monitors are a necessity in today’s workplace. Especially with the popularity of HDSLR cameras, whose small LCD screens make the already difficult challenge of focusing nearly impossible, having a high-resolution, larger screen on which to judge your image is of paramount importance.
I’ve spent some time with one of ikan’s newer models, the ikan D7, a 7” HD-SDI 1280 x 800 LCD monitor with a cavalcade of features.
Video artist Bill Viola’s astounding and rarely seen visual accompaniment to Wagner’s operatic love story Tristan und Isolde is on display once again. From Jan. 29 to Feb. 23, the Canadian Opera Company (COC) is staging director Peter Sellars’ version of Tristan und Isolde—in which Viola’s sweeping slow-motion videos of water, fire and people are as integral to the action as the singers and music. Because of its ambitious technological requirements, Sellars’ version has only been fully staged by Opéra national de Paris at Bastille, later travelling to Kobe and Tokyo, Japan.
A documentary on the imprisoned members of Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot had its world premiere in January at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Pussy Riot—A Punk Prayer, co-directed by Mike Lerner (Hell and Back Again, The Afghans) and Maxim Pozdorovkin (Capital), chronicles the arrest and trial of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich (Nadia, Masha and Katia).
The filmmakers responsible for the indie drama Big Sur, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, faced a number of challenges inherent in transposing Beat Generation hero Jack Kerouac’s introspective novel of the same name into a feature film set in late 1950s California. The freeform source material traces Kerouac’s (Jean-Marc Barr) life in the wake of his enormous success writing On the Road and his attempt to escape the demands and constraints of romantic entanglements. The film co-stars Kate Bosworth and Anthony Edwards as Kerouac’s longtime supporter Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
If the federal Witness Protection Program decided to place all its witnesses in the same town, they need look no further than Banshee, Pa., the fictitious setting for the Cinemax series Banshee. The 10-episode primetime show, which runs on the pay-cabler Fridays through early March, could also place its stand-in for “rural Pennsylvania” into witness protection: Charlotte, N.C. Yet what is clearly no mystery is the decision to go with both RED SCARLET-X and ARRI Alexa digital camera systems as the crew’s handheld weapons of choice for fighting bad guys.
In last month’s column about tools that aid in exposure judgments with digital cameras, I wrote about the waveform monitor, one of the oldest and most prevalent photography tools today. This month I’m going to discuss the histogram.
I’ve never had a call in my cinematographic career to shoot time lapse footage. Time lapse is something I’ve been interested in, something I wanted to do, but I never had a project that required it, nor were the tools easily accessible to me.
One of the wonderful features in Nikon’s D800 HDSLR camera is a built-in intervalometer that allows time lapse still photography in the “interval timer shooting” mode and time lapse HD video in the “time lapse photography” mode.