Director Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 war drama The Hurt Locker swept the Oscars for its powerfully realistic portrayal of an Iraq war bomb squad unit. Bigelow’s follow up this year, the even more ambitious war-themed feature Zero Dark Thirty, is receiving the same kind of accolades. The film, which starts with the 9/11 attack and concludes with the Navy SEAL’s raid of Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound, is told in a very straightforward way; Bigelow embraces a style designed to make viewers feel like they’re observing real life unfold without the traditional trappings that indicate that we’re watching a war movie.
Myriad lighting fixtures are available for digital video shooters in the modern marketplace and it can be a challenge to keep track of them all. Fortunately, the team at Enlightened Shenanigans has created an app for just that purpose. It’s called SetLighting.
On the same day Apple launched the iPad mini, the fourth generation iPad, a refresh of the iMac line and a 13” MacBook Pro with Retina display, Apple also quietly released the 10.0.6 version of Final Cut Pro X. By the end of the day, the App Store lit up and the various online forums were buzzing.
The Four Bullet Points
Sony Electronics recently introduced two new 4K cameras, the PMW-F55 and PMW-F5, that can shoot HD, 2K and 4K. TV Technology’s Craig Johnston spoke to Sony Electronics senior product manager Juan Martinez and director of marketing for large image sensor cameras Rob Willox about the new cameras.
Where do these two new CineAlta cameras fit into the Sony 4K camera lineup?
After weeks of teasing, Sony finally revealed its expanded F Series ecosystem of products at the end of October. Sony’s expanded CineAlta ecosystem centers around two new 4K cameras, the PMW-F5 and the PMW-F55. They share an identical modular form factor differentiated only by the silver PL locking ring on the F55. The shape of the cameras very much resembles an Aaton film camera or even an ARRI Alexa, except smaller, shorter and lighter.
Every once in a while a film comes along that requires a bit of reflection to get the full meaning. Often you need several screenings to understand all the clues and story details you might have missed the first time. Cloud Atlas is such a film. It’s based on the multi-threaded best-selling novel by David Mitchell and is the latest theatrical release from writers/directors Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix trilogy). The Wachowskis are joined by co-writer/co-director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) for a unique three-director production endeavor.
Editor Alexander Berner
Director Barry Levinson is best known for big-budget features including Diner, Rain Man and Bugsy, but his latest endeavor, The Bay, released this month through various streaming and VOD options, was made for $2 million and shot in 18 days primarily on low-cost consumer cameras, iPhones and webcams. The feature, which he described to the Los Angeles Times as an “eco-thriller/horror film,” is part of the “found footage” genre. (It shares producers with the Paranormal Activity franchise.) The story follows the progress of a bizarre outbreak that starts in the bay adjoining a small Maryland town using the points of view of multiple characters, their home movies and web chats.
With a Christmas Day release date, this month’s must-see film is the documentary feature West of Memphis, which details the celebrated case of the West Memphis Three—Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley—three young men falsely convicted and imprisoned for the murders of three young boys in rural Arkansas in 1993. Fueled by a combination of poverty, corruption, religious bigotry and political ambition, the story is an all-too-common tale of the American justice system gone awry.
For almost 40 years Austin City Limits (ACL) has presented a wide variety of live music to public television audiences across the United States. The show was originally conceived to showcase the music of Texas, though it has broadened its scope since then to feature regional, national and international artists in a wide range of musical styles. Since the 1974 pilot episode, veteran engineer David Hough has mixed sound for virtually all of the show’s taped concerts for Austin PBS station KLRU.
When you mention smoke or fog, most people conjure up images of a misty, creepy cemetery at night, with fog crawling along the ground like the undead, or of black smoke billowing out the windows of a burning house. These are practical special effects, generally. Fog can be your friend, however, as it adds atmosphere to photography and defines light in a unique way.
Disney-ABC’s new daytime talk show Katie, hosted by former CBS Evening News and Today anchor Katie Couric, debuted on Sept. 10 from a completely transformed studio at ABC Television Center in New York. Disney-ABC Domestic Television syndicates the show, which airs daily in local television markets nationwide.
Documentary filmmaker Rick Ray, based in Ventura, Calif., is part of a growing league of videographers who travel the world shooting projects for television networks, corporate clients, self-produced films and other distribution outlets.
“We shoot primarily world destinations—travel, adventure, culture, beautiful landscapes, nature, disasters, emerging events of political importance and that kind of thing,” says Ray. “We have shot for National Geographic, Discovery, Travel Channel and many other clients.”
Attaching a small business card holder to the side of his camera means Peter Anderson of Detroit always has business cards handy and no longer misses spur of the moment business opportunities.
Because my camera is not always with me, I think I have a more functional tip for solving the same problem.
Digital camera development has been running in high gear for several years, outpacing any other portion of our industry. Thanks to a revolution started by RED, Nikon and Canon, videographers are now blessed with a wide range of small, affordable, high-performance imaging systems that have liberated us from the restrictions of the mundane 2/3” video camera.
I can remember the buzz of excitement when news flashed through the NAB Show newsroom that Blackmagic Design had announced a digital cinema camera. Long known for producing excellent signal processing, conversion and measuring equipment, the aggressive video company from Australia had hidden its secret so well that when the 2.5K (2432 x 1366) camera with built-in SSD recorder was unveiled at its press conference in the Las Vegas Convention Center, the international media and NAB Show visitors didn’t know what to think.
I think you’ll be interested in Witness, HBO’s four-part documentary series that follows photojournalists working in conflict zones, covering drug trafficking, poverty, gang violence, corruption and ethnic warfare.
The time lapse footage in the documentary Chasing Ice manages to capture quite dramatically large-scale environmental transformation in some of the most remote regions of the world. Through time lapse recordings, the film compresses years into seconds and shows ancient mountains of glacial ice in motion as they disappear. As the debate about climate change polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Chasing Ice depicts a photojournalist on a mission.