» Posts Tagged ‘cinematography’

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Nebo SliderThere’s no doubt about it — a well-done, well-placed motion shot can make your project look like a million bucks (or that it cost that much to make, at least). There are all sorts of relatively inexpensive tools out there that can do a wide range of jobs, from simple pans and tilts to complicated motion-controlled slides for time-lapse pieces, but not spending a ton of money isn’t the only thing on an indie filmmaker’s wishlist (though it’s probably at the top). Documentarians filming Alpine ibexes in the European Alps, narrative filmmakers whose day of shooting includes multiple locations, and me, a very, very lazy individual, look for gear that is not only on the cheap side, but also lightweight and portable. More »

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Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 3.03.44 PMBelieve or not, there was once a time when camera movement was limited to either the dolly or handheld. The thought of a camera freely and smoothly floating through the air, thus combining the stability of a dolly with the unrestrained freedom of handheld, was an absolutely preposterous one. In the early 70s, however, a Philadelphia-based filmmaker and inventor by the name of Garrett Brown undertook the challenge of creating a new camera movement system that would capture the world in a way most similar to how the human eye perceives it. It was out of that desire that the Steadicam was born. More »

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Sony F$ 4KFor the past few years, the practice of hacking a camera’s firmware in order to increase the feature-set of said camera has been commonplace and quite popular, especially in the case of the original GH2 hack and, of course, Magic Lantern with Canon DSLRs. However, up to this point, we haven’t really seen or heard about folks hacking higher-end cameras in order to increase performance. Until now, that is. Paul Ream, a working cinematographer, recently figured out how to hack the Sony F5 so that it enables the camera to shoot 4K internally, a task which significantly closes the performance gap between the F5 and its much more expensive big brother, the F55. Furthermore, this hack raises some interesting questions about the ethics of companies limiting the functionality of their products in superficial ways. More »

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metabones speed booster lens adapter canon ef to mft micro four thirds m43Metabones has already provided shooters with a variety of Speed Boosters — lens adapters that optically counteract crop factor, increase light transmission, and in many cases even maintain smart lens control. Now, Metabones has announced a new addition to the Speed Booster line: a Canon EF to Micro 4/3 mount model that will effectively allow the Panasonic GH4 (and other Micro 4/3 cameras) to have the field of view of a Super 35mm camera and also increase your lens’ maximum exposure one stop. Metabones is also going to offer an equivalent adapter without the expensive optics just to control Canon lenses on your MFT cameras. More »

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Poor Man's C-StandFew filmmaking tools are as ubiquitous and multifunctional as the C-Stand. From mounting lights at any conceivable angle to flying modifiers/flags, C-Stands have literally hundreds of uses on a film set. The only problem: C-Stands are not cheap. At roughly $150 a piece — and that’s for the cheaper models — C-Stands aren’t something to which low and no-budget filmmakers have constant access. Luckily, there are some significantly less expensive alternatives out there that can provide much of the same functionality at a fraction of the cost. Scott Eggleston over at the Frugal Filmmaker has one such alternative that he’d like to show you, and it will only set you back $20. More »

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c300 canon color science4Even though Canon DSLRs might not be getting a whole lot of love from filmmakers these days, the Cinema-EOS line of cameras from Canon, the C100 and C300 in particular, have been widely adopted in the professional video production world, especially for documentary-style work. Since these cameras are fairly ubiquitous at this point, it makes sense for us to know how to get the most out of them. A recent video from AbelCine helps us do just that by teaching us how to maximize dynamic range on the C100 and C300 by tweaking the internal gamma settings. More »

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Sony a5100 FrontEarlier in the week, we were introduced to a brand new bite-sized camera from Sony, the A5100. We already knew that Sony’s new camera, which comes in at $550 for the body, would have the ability to output uncompressed 8 bit 4:2:2 via the mini HDMI port and be able to record to the XAVC-S codec, both firsts for a camera of this size and price. However, we had no idea what kind of performance (in terms of dynamic range, rolling shutter, and overall image quality) would be possible with the camera’s CMOS sensor. Luckily, just like they did with the A7s, the folks at Cinema5D put the A5100 to the test, and their results are fairly exciting. More »

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Diffusion PanelAs no-budget filmmakers, chances are we’re spending a lot of time trying to navigate the placement of powerfully bright lights as we shoot scenes in cramped areas, and having a way to diffuse light is imperative in order to avoid blowing out your shot. There are so many solutions to this issue, like using bounce cards, reflectors, umbrellas, softboxes, ect., but, like most things, these pieces of gear can be a little (or insanely) expensive. However, also like most things, there are DIY builds that’ll save you tons of money without sacrificing quality, and product photographer Tony Roslund is here to show you how to build just such a diffusion panel for only $30 without having to bust out your bandsaw. More »

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Dolly Zoom TimelapseThe internet is practically overflowing with timelapse videos. Some of them are good, some are not, and some of them are truly mind-blowing. As we know, modern motorized camera movement equipment has really paved the way for all sorts of inventive movement to be included in the timelapse format. In general, if a camera move has been done in a live-action environment, someone has probably done it in a timelapse. Although I could very well be wrong, until today I had never seen someone perform a dolly zoom during a timelapse. Eric Stemen recently put together a video not only showing how the technique looks (mind-blowing), but also how he pulled it off using traditional hyperlapse techniques and a little ingenuity. More »

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Dolly HacksCamera movement is one of those aspects of filmmaking that, if done well, can make your film look like a million bucks. If you’re on a tight budget, however, you’re probably not going to be able to drop the necessary cash on pricey sliders, dollies, jibs, etc., but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your footage to look like you did. In yet another excellent video from our buddies at Film Riot, we’re given a bunch of  ideas on how to pull off buttery smooth dolly, tracking, and crane shots using everyday household items. More »

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Ursa SunriseLast week, we got word that the highly anticipated Blackmagic URSA cinema camera was at last starting to make its way out into the wild. With the camera landing in the hands of some capable cinematographers, it was only a matter of time before footage started to surface. As was the case with the previous Blackmagic cameras, Australian DP John Brawley was among the very first to spend some quality time with the URSA, and now, we finally have some footage to sink our teeth into. More »

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Ryan_Connolly_Guerrila_Filmmaking_WEB_1600x900In the past two months, we’ve covered several courses from the good folks over at CreativeLive, an outstanding online educational resource for creatives of all types. First was Larry Jordan’s comprehensive FCPX masterclass. Then there was an epic 2-day course on aerial photography. This coming Monday, August 11th to be exact, another course is beginning that should definitely be of interest to independent and low-budget filmmakers. It’s called Guerilla Filmmaking, and it’s being taught by Ryan Connolly of Film Riot fame. So, if you’ve got any spare time this coming Monday through Wednesday, tuning into Connolly’s course will provide an educational alternative to the cat videos that you would probably be watching otherwise. More »

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DIY filtersGood lens filters can empty your wallet pretty quickly, but the effects they produce are beautiful (and oftentimes needed). If your name isn’t Rich Uncle Pennybags, or if you’re a DIY enthusiast like most of us here, Film Riot has put a couple of ladies’ unmentionables to the test: traditional black stockings and fishnet stockings to see which replicates the effects of a $100 black pro-mist filter best. And as an added bonus, we’ve shared a few extra DIY filter ideas, from plastic soda bottles to plastic Pringles lids. More »

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Blue ValentineOne thing to keep in mind as a filmmaker is that everything tells a story — it’s not just the actual script either, but very prop, every location, the colors of your character’s shirts, the blocking, and editing. This concept is demonstrated masterfully in Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 romantic drama Blue Valentine, which utilizes, both narratively and cinematically, the theme of “duality” to tell a tale of a dying relationship. In yet another excellent video essay from Darren Foley of Must See Films, we not only get to analyze the dual world’s inside the film, but Cianfrance’s compelling approach to capturing authentic emotionally charged moments on film. More »

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Film PerforationsLast week, celluloid lovers scored a major victory when a few major studios struck a pact with Kodak to ensure that film would remain a viable capture medium for the foreseeable future. Because film will be sticking around for a while, there is still value in learning the ins and outs of the various film formats available today, especially for cinematographers aspiring to work at the highest levels of the industry. One of the aspects of film that beginning filmmakers often find confusing is that of perforations, or the small holes that line the edges of the stock. In a technical sense, these perforations are what the sprocket catches in order to hold each individual frame in place so that it can be properly exposed. However, perforations are also used to describe the various formats and aspect ratios of film, and that’s where things can get confusing. Luckily, there’s a handy new infographic that explains everything you need to know about film perforations. More »

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Enrique PachecoTime-lapse photography is definitely not as cut and dry as setting your camera on a tripod and pressing record. It takes careful planning, a few pieces of essential gear, and a little bit of expertise to create those beautifully cinematic shots. If you’re interested in adding this technique to your repertoire, Spanish cinematographer and time-lapse pro Enrique Pacheco shares a bunch of invaluable tips and answers many central questions with you in this helpful Shutterstock video entitled Timelapse Wisdom. More »

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LouboutinIt’s nothing new when big name directors lend their incredible feature filmmaking abilities to make commercials and advertisements. Martin Scorsese directed a Chanel commercial for their male fragrance Bleu; Wes Anderson directed two commercials for Prada, one staring Blue is the Warmest Color’s Léa Seydoux and one with Jason Schwartzman as a Formula One driver that pays homage to Fellini. This time, David Lynch flexes his avant-garde muscles to create this mind-bending ad for Christian Louboutin’s new line of $50 nail polish. More »

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CropperCapture[92]Over the years, we’ve covered a wide range of methods and tools for lighting a film, everything from hardware store clip lights to high-end cinema lighting tools. As fantastic and practical as some of the higher-end tools can be, most of us just don’t have the budget to rent (let alone own) those tools, so we end up resorting to cheap fixtures and DIY light-sculpting methods in order to illuminate our films. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, considering that having a DIY mindset when lighting can produce some truly ingenious and cost-effective techniques. Not So Fast, a short film from David F. Sandberg, is one such example of DIY lighting ingenuity. In a short BTS video about the making of the film, David reveals how he used a plastic IKEA trashcan in order to create a portably-powered DIY beauty dish that provides fantastic results. More »

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CropperCapture[90]We’ve all heard it. “If only (fill in the blank) camera had a full frame sensor, I’d be able to use it.” Or, “The image from the GH4 sure is great, but I just couldn’t get used to a Micro 4/3 sensor.” If you’ve spent any time reading editorial comments about digital cameras in the past 5 years, then you’re almost certainly familiar with these types of statements. While different sized sensors can provide substantial differences in both aesthetic qualities and low-light performance, the argument that’s most often thrown around in these discussions is about “crop factor,” or the relative field of view from one sensor size to the next. Personally, I think it’s about time we put the issue of sensor size into perspective so that we can stop making goofy, arbitrary statements like these. Zack Arias over at DedPxl agrees, and his new video does a fantastic job at providing that perspective. More »

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Shane's Inner CircleLearning about cinematography online is no easy task. Since there is more educational material about cinematography on the internet than one person could possibly sift through during an entire lifetime, finding relevant, topical information when you actually need it can be a bit of a drag. Luckily, there are a few online resources to combat this. Shane Hurlbut’s fantastic blog has always been one of them, but since Hurlbut and his team are entirely devoted to educating the next generation of cinematographers, a simple blog wasn’t enough. That’s why they created Shane’s Inner Circle, an interactive educational gathering place for up-and-coming cinematographers, where Hurlbut will generously share his wealth of knowledge, as well as a hefty set of tools, with followers. More »