» Posts Tagged ‘cinematography’

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Cinematography AgentLast year, I shared an interview with one of the most prolific commercial and music video DP’s in the country, Matthias Koenigswieser. A good portion of that article was centered around the importance of cinematographers finding representation, as well as some best practices for young cinematographers looking to land an agent. Representation is definitely a tremendously important subject for folks who are looking to make a sustainable living as a DP, but there are so many important questions to consider. Luckily, our friends over at Cinefii tracked down two of LA’s premier cinematographic agents and got them to spill the beans on things that up and coming cinematographers need to know about representation. More »

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ikan X3It’s quickly becoming known that the cameras on your phone are capable of handling the massive job of making films — in fact, Bentley recently used iPhone 5s’ to shoot their ad for one of their luxury sedans. Furthermore, there are many accessories and add-ons out there to assist you in the task of making your smartphone cinematography more sophisticated, and ikon’s new handheld gimbal stabilizer, designed specifically for smartphones, is another tool to consider. The X3 uses a 3-axis electronic gyro to offer steady movement to users, as well as a lightweight build, without completely emptying their wallets. More »

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CropperCapture[30]The basics of the film language are just that, basics. You’ve got your wides and mediums and close-ups, and all sorts of variances in between. You’ve got OTS shots and 2-shots, and of course some cutaways. Then you’ve got the insert, the simple, lowly insert. Usually inserts are used to provide a closer look at some detail in a scene. However, when the insert shot becomes an instrumental part of a film’s individual language, some interesting things can happen. For instance, David Fincher’s masterful and suspenseful thriller Zodiac makes extensive use of the insert shot, and it has a profound and meaningful impact on how the film’s language interacts with and supports the characters and story.  More »

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Richard Crudo ASCCinematography has undergone quite a change in the past decade. Not only has digital technology finally supplanted celluloid as the preferred capture medium of most Hollywood cinematographers, but computer generated imaging has become interchangeable with traditional cinematography, as is evident by the trend of CGI-heavy films winning the Best Cinematography award at the Oscars. As much as this issue has been talked about by bloggers and other internet dwellers, we had yet to hear the industry weigh in on the debate. Until now, that is. Richard Crudo, the current president of the American Society of Cinematographers, recently wrote a short piece that appears in this month’s issue of American Cinematographer in which he shares some insightful and timely thoughts on the traditional vs. hybrid cinematography debate. More »

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EnhanceWorking in film is no picnic, regardless of what your job is on set, and sometimes it’s (extremely) necessary to let your hair down, relax your gut, and laugh at how absurd it can all be. Evan Luzi gives you a perfect opportunity to do just that in his recent post on The Black and Blue that illustrates with 30 hilarious GIFs what life is like working as a camera assistant – or as we call it in independent film, hat #2001 — or whatever — #6 billion. More »

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Long Takes LouieLet’s admit it. We all love long takes. Most of us have watched, and groveled over, the incredible 6-minute take from True Detective that made waves around the internet several months ago. Add to that the numerous other dramatic shows on television that have begun to utilize extremely cinematic long takes, and it’s safe to say that contemporary television has become a haven for long take lovers. However, there’s one show on television that has made the consistent use of the long take an instrumental part of its cinematic repertoire, and it’s probably the show you would least expect. I’m talking, of course, about Louis C.K.’s unassuming FX comedy, Louie. More »

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DIY TimelapseGetting a high quality time-lapse doesn’t have to be insanely expensive, especially if you’re only moving your camera a short distance; set up your tripod in a desired location, slap on a slider and a motion control device and you’re golden. But, covering longer distances in an area that is inhospitable to tripods can be a little more tricky — and expensive. The folks at Syrp, however, want to show you how to build your own wooden DIY 2-axis Cable Cam rig that will let you pull off stellar time-lapse shots at a fraction of the cost. More »

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DIY ND FilterIf you’re anything like me, you probably spend some of your free time scouring sites like KEH and eBay for vintage lenses (and buying way more of them than you probably should). Occasionally, you come across lenses that, for all intents and purposes, are completely awesome minus one small flaw: they don’t have a traditional filter thread. In those cases, shooting in extremely bright conditions can be impossible without stopping down to f/16 or f/22 since you can’t attach a screw-on ND filter. Of course, a matte box is always a solution for this problem, but it’s a solution that can get really expensive really quickly. Luckily, there’s also a simple, quick, and inexpensive trick to help you block light on those tricky lenses. More »

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C-Stand SandbagThe lighting and grip department is full of unspoken rules that are geared towards keeping the cast and crew as safe as possible. However, there’s one rule that might just be the most important of them all. That rule can be summed up as: “ALWAYS USE SANDBAGS WHEN USING A LIGHT STAND, C-STAND, OR COMBO STAND FOR ANYTHING.” I’m sorry I yelled, but this simple concept can prevent some seriously calamitous things from happening on a set, chiefly hot lights or heavy modifiers falling on people’s heads. With that in mind, let’s take a look at an incredibly ironic video and talk a little bit about proper techniques for setting up C-Stands! More »

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noir1Genres come and go, but 70 years after its birth, the “rules” of film noir have become part and parcel of the conventions of modern cinema. Why do filmmakers come back again and again to this bleak landscape? And why are these films still popular (if they weren’t, well, there wouldn’t be nearly as many. QED.) And just what, precisely, are its rules — rules so skilfully subverted by modern directors? A documentary from the BBC, originally aired in 2009, seeks to answer just that, shining a light on the dark corners of film noir. Plus, check out tips that will help you achieve your own film-noir-style lighting effects. More »

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Though it has been made much more doable thanks to crowdfunding platforms, securing funding and navigating the process to maximize your return can be tricky. DP Katie Maul and the team of filmmakers working on the indie doc Trichster, have run a total of 3 successful crowdfunding campaigns for the film, and Maul has shared some tips on how you could approach your next fundraising efforts.

This is a guest post by Katie Maul. More »

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Lost in TranslationUpon being introduced to Darren Foley’s video analyses (his study of Prisoners is an absolute must-see), you can imagine my excitement when I saw that he broke down one of my favorite films, Lost in Translation. In this analysis, Foley explains many of the film’s more obscure elements, like the themes of loneliness and isolation, the cinematography that communicates said themes, and, yes, the infamous scene where Bill Murray whispers inaudibly to Scarlett Johannson. Continue on to check it out. More »

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DIY ring lightIf you’re like me and don’t know what to do with all of those empty fried chicken buckets piling up on your kitchen counter (okay, not really — I know exactly what to do with them), DIY Photography has shared a great DIY (naturally) lighting solution that repurposes said greasy poultry receptacles into a formidable ring flash. And even though it’s designed to be used for flash photography, it should translate well to video. So, find out how to put it together using a cardboard bucket, aluminum foil, a plastic folder, and some tape right after the jump. More »

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Edgar-WrightWhat’s the single greatest distinguishing characteristic of comedies? That they’re meant to be funny, right? However, some of you might’ve felt as though the comedies of the last several years have been a bit lacking in laughs, perhaps due to a lethargic approach to comedic filmmaking. No, I’m not talking about the writing. I’m talking about an aspect of filmmaking that seems to be one of the most ignored in comedies: cinematography. Tony Zhou, who brought us that great video on the “Spielberg Oner”, talks all about this in a fun and informative video essay, which not only celebrates the work of director Edgar Wright, but explores how he uses cinematography to take advantage of as many comedic opportunities to as possible. If you’re working on a comedy right now, you’ll definitely want to take a look at this! More »

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Phedon PapamichaelSimple and logical — that’s how Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael describes his approach to painting with light, which I think is spot on when taking a look at many of the films he has worked on over the span of his 25-year career. As the subject of an intimate and illuminating video profile from Alexandros Maragos’ site, Momentum, the Nebraska DP shares details about his early years as a young cinematographer, describes how he was encouraged to work in film by indie film hero John Cassavetes, got his start in the business with Roger Corman, as well as lets us in on his beautiful, simple approach to cinematography. More »

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field-of-viewWhen you first start shooting photos and videos, understanding the basic differences between lenses is pretty simple — the way your images change between a wide angle and telephoto lens, for example, is overt. However, learning how to use perspective and field of view to your image’s advantage can really help you capture the look you’re going for, and Steve Perry shows you how to do that (using landscapes as an example) in this tutorial. Find out how to utilize the concept of perspective in order to become more intentional as you capture your shots. More »

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Black Swan BTSWhen Darren Aronofsky gave the cinematic world his very cerebral feature film, Pi (1998), it was an introduction into his career-long examination of the balance between light and dark, beauty and ugliness, and living and suffering. One of his projects that truly encapsulates this balance is Black Swan, a film that overtly and purposefully teeters between simplicity and baroqueness. If you want to dive into the tormented world of Aronofsky, take a look at Niko Tavernise’s Metamorphosis, a beautifully shot, very intimate documentary that takes you behind the scenes of the production, as well as interviews with the director, DP, screenwriter, and many more. More »

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ARRI ALEXA XTThere were some rumors that ARRI might be talking about a new 6K 65mm camera or a new 4K camera at NAB 2014, but there wasn’t a peep from the company about any new cameras except for the AMIRA. While there are plenty of ALEXA projects shot at 1080p and 2K, Michael Cioni, CEO of Hollywood post house Light Iron, talks about how shooters can get the most out of the almost-3K sensor in a 4K world and how to optimize the ALEXA XT for 4K and UHD applications. More »

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RagLiteYou can never have too many lighting options, especially if they add more flexibility to a not-so-flexible area of filmmaking. The RagLite is essentially what it sounds like — a fabric-mounted LED lighting system, (or more plainly, a rag with lights), that’s built to give users the ability to light pretty much anything anywhere, as well as set up and tear down without a whole lot of fuss. It’s currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to finalize manufacturing, so continue on to learn all about the RagLite. More »

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Xavier Dolan MommyWhile the traditional aspect ratio for HD video is 1.78/16:9 (the aspect ratio of your HDTV), most films projected in theaters are in a 1.85 or 2.39 aspect ratio. This hasn’t always been the case as your old 4:3 TV can attest to, and in recent years some filmmakers have explored using the older 1.33 aspect ratio for their films. But what about a perfectly square 1:1 ratio? That’s what Xavier Dolan and André Turpin decided to use for their new film Mommy, which recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival. More »