New Tips E-Mail Address
Digital Video’s publisher has changed the e-mail address for submitting your tips. It is now DVTips@nbmedia.com. I really appreciate all the ideas you send in and apologize for any confusion this may cause.
Surviving Session Shakes
Image reinforcement involves providing a large video image that helps the audience see the speaker. I recently performed that duty at a large corporate event in San Francisco. Part of my assignment was to share tips on making the job easier with several newer camera operators. I think you may also find the tips useful.
Sometimes a journey can be as intriguing as its destination, so come along with me on a quest to discover the remarkable features of Vision Research’s Phantom Flex4K high-speed digital camera while it is still under development.
If you’re interested in video, that means you’re probably interested in light—how it’s received and perceived. So if you are, treat yourself to one of the three James Turrell retrospectives happening this summer. There’s one at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, another at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and a third at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Director Richard Linklater’s 1995 feature Before Sunrise was received with incredible enthusiasm for a tiny indie that consisted primarily of conversation between two travellers, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), who spend one romantic night together in Vienna. Audiences were so enamored that the three returned nine years later for a second chance encounter in Paris in Before Sunset. Now, another nine years on, we catch up with them again in various sections of Greece in Before Midnight. The characters have matured, and so has motion picture technology. This is the first installment of the Before saga to be shot digitally.
Director Andrew Bujalski and his production crew retrofitted a Sony AVC-3260 camera to shoot Computer Chess, a nostalgic look at the early days of computer programming. The 40-year-old black-and-white video camera was stripped of its antique tape mechanism and upgraded to record to 21st century hard drive technology, delivering a low-tech look appropriate to the film’s subject matter. Computer Chess takes place over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers circa 1980.
How involved were you in choosing the camera and production equipment for Computer Chess?
“It all started with this idea that I wanted to tell the story of the board,” says musician and (now) filmmaker Dave Grohl in his documentary Sound City. “The conversation became something much bigger: In this age of technology, where you can simulate or manipulate anything, how do we retain that human element?”
Based on his play of the same name, the feature film Some Girl(s) was written by Neil LaBute and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer. The story follows a successful writer who, on the eve of his wedding, travels across the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for past relationship transgressions. DP Rachel Morrison discusses the process she used to shoot Some Girl(s), from camera technology to special considerations when shooting on set.
4K killed the stereo star. So it would seem based on an analysis of products on display at this year’s NAB Show. Stereoscopic 3D was still present—most noticeably Dolby’s demonstration of a glasses-free TV monitor—but it clearly has receded back into a technological niche.
Each year the Digital Video team of editors, correspondents and industry professionals scours the NAB Show exhibit floor for the best new products. Our team was looking for new or significantly improved tools that would be of service and interest to the Digital Video readership, so while there were many other amazing items at the show, the judges selected this year’s Black Diamond honorees for their value to production professionals. What follows are our picks from the 2013 NAB Show.
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Charlotte Bruus Christensen Creates Mounting Tension in The Hunt, by Jon Silberg
No Touching, Just Streaming: RED EPIC on Arrested Development, by John Merli
IBM Produces Stop Motion Film with Atoms
Filmed on location off the rugged and desolate coast of Maine, Black Rock was conceived and directed by “mumblecore” director Katie Aselton (The Puffy Chair, The Freebie). The screenplay was written by her real-life husband, Mark Duplass (Jeff, Who Lives at Home), with whom she plays a married couple on FX’s The League. Following a Sundance premiere, the feature project was picked up for distribution by indie studio LD Entertainment (The Collection) and went into limited release on May 17.
Last year Sony made its groundbreaking entry into the 4K camera sweepstakes with the CineAlta F65, a camera that boasts an 8K image sensor that records true 4K 16-bit linear raw files. One of the first major field tests for the camera was the production of After Earth.
Director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable, The Last Airbender) and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, ASC, BSC (Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Mars Attacks!, A History of Violence, Crash), joined forces for After Earth, which follows a father and son who crash land on Earth a millennium after humanity’s escape. The filmmaking duo travelled to Costa Rica in search of a landscape to depict the abandoned planet.
The music video, a huge part of youth culture for just about anyone who grew up during the 1980s—the MTV Generation, as the demographic came to be branded—is celebrated as an art form in the exhibition Spectacle: The Music Video, now at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
“A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives.” That’s director Shane Carruth’s synopsis of Upstream Color. More than that you don’t necessarily need to know. There is a lot of metaphor in Upstream Color, and understanding the specifics of the plot may be beside the point.
After completing production on the tentpole blockbuster The Avengers in 2011, director Joss Whedon decided to take a very different route on his next project, gathering a small group of actors and crew in his house to shoot a small-scope feature quickly and cheaply. As if that weren’t enough of a departure for the mind behind such genre favorites as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Dollhouse, he also planned to use a Shakespeare comedy as his script.
In recent columns I’ve discussed how infrared radiation affects digital sensors and showed how to combat IR contamination with specialty filters. This month we’ll jump elsewhere on the electromagnetic spectrum and talk about ultraviolet radiation, UV. It gets its name from the fact that the UV spectrum consists of electromagnetic waves with frequencies higher than those we identify as the color violet. These frequencies are invisible to humans but visible to a number of insects, birds and fish.
Often there’s no better way to get a job done than simply going out and doing it. This is the guiding force behind What Took You So Long? (WTYSL), a team of young filmmakers who tell stories about life and change in some of the poorest parts of the world.
Sebastian Lindstrom gets a low shot in Haiti.
And if their work helps make the world just a little better, that’s a good thing.
His name is Chuck. At the NAB Show, he sees my nametag.
“Wait ’til I tell my wife that I met you. We loooove your stuff. Our favorite story is ‘Dead in Denver.’”
“Thanks, but I didn’t write that. Perhaps you mean ‘Death of A Filmmaker?’”
“No, you’re dead in Denver. I’m sure. It’s our all-time favorite. Do you have a favorite?”
“Let’s find a place to sit down and I’ll tell you my favorite...”
It’s 1976, we’re on an early train to Port Talbot, Wales, where British Steel has its enormous steelworks.
Sneaky Lectern Mic
Here is a tip shared by Chris Countryman. (Yes, the microphone guy.) There are many ways that a gooseneck lectern microphone can be misused. Perhaps the most common issue is when the presenter gets too close to the mic in some kind of effort to be “heard.” The mixer’s first instinct is to pull back on the fader—unfortunately, while this certainly helps, it’s not enough. It will not prevent pops and distortion, and the speaker’s voice will be boomy due to the proximity effect.