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.
In a departure from recent nature documentaries such as Planet Earth and Life that scoured the entire planet to capture living things in their exotic surroundings, the newest Discovery Channel project keeps it much closer to home. North America, the stunningly visual seven-part series from Silverback Films, premieres May 19. Narrated by Tom Selleck, it’s Discovery’s first independently produced nature series.
It’s been incredibly interesting to watch the rise (and fall) (and occasionally astonishing rise) of crowdfunded filmmaking. I love the principle of micro-investors collectively “backing” a film, and I especially love the democracy of it, that people can influence and participate in the production a film. (Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars Kickstarter film raised almost $6,000,000, proving there exists a film people really want to see.)
You can think of high-speed photography as having its genesis with Eadweard Muybridge’s series of shots of a galloping horse in 1878 that proved the steed did indeed have all of its hooves off the ground simultaneously at a point in its stride. To film that famous shot, Muybridge used a series of cameras triggered sequentially. The photos were later displayed either via a spinning disk or like a strip of film.
Send British naturalist and documentarian David Attenborough to the native habitat of virtually any creature in the world and he’s certain to deliver a fascinating expose paired with compelling footage of never-before-seen behaviors.
Following an involuntary “hiatus” of more than seven years, an entirely new fourth season of the critically praised, low-rated Fox sitcom Arrested Development becomes available exclusively for Netflix streaming on May 26 at 12:01 a.m. PST. As with Netflix’s initial foray into original content production earlier this year with the first-season release of the Kevin Spacey political thriller House of Cards, the Arrested Development release is widely expected to spur weekend binge viewing parties over the Memorial Day weekend by a few million fans of the Jason Bateman cult sitcom.
Hi5-4K and ROI Mini-Converters
AJA’s Hi5-4K Mini-Converter provides a simple monitoring connection from professional 4K devices using four 3G-SDI outputs to new and upcoming consumer 4K displays equipped with 4K-capable 1.4a HDMI inputs. Compatible with HD workflows, Hi5-4K is also a flexible Mini-Converter for HD workflows requiring 3G/HD-SDI to HDMI conversion. Hi5-4K is shipping soon for $595.
Talent from Chicago’s Beast, Company 3 and Method Studios recently collaborated to finish Nike’s “No Angel." Nike wanted “No Angel” to create a distinct and relatable identity for the sprawling, image-obsessed, Los Angeles market while paying homage to the City of Angels’ celebrated obsession with the spotlight. The piece was directed by Go Film’s Brigg Bloomquist for San Francisco boutique shop Union Made Creative.
Autodesk attracted a lot of attention last year with the revamped version of Smoke for Mac OS X. I had originally been working on a review with the earlier version (Smoke 2012) but held off when I found out Smoke 2013 was just around the corner. Indeed, the more “Mac-like” refresh wowed 2012 NAB Show attendees, but it took until December to come to market. In that time, Autodesk built on the input received from users who tested it during this lengthy public beta period.
Noise Industries was one of the first plug-in developers to leverage the power of the GPU by tapping into the core image component of Mac OS X. This approach took off when Apple added the FxPlug architecture to Final Cut Pro. From this start, Noise Industries has been able to develop its FxFactory product into both a powerful filter package and a platform to add filters from partner companies.
Let’s get right to the elephant in the room. Blackmagic Design is having problems delivering the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. The camera was announced at last year’s NAB Show and slated for shipment 90 days after that, though defects in the sensor (from a third-party manufacturer) set deliveries back months. Now, a year later, shipments are beginning to catch up with the backorders. It is my opinion that the user rage directed against Blackmagic on the forums (where you can say anything you want without your mother telling you to mind your manners) is unwarranted and unfair. Blackmagic worked earnestly to solve the sensor manufacturing problems and to be as transparent as possible to its customers during this process.