» Posts Tagged ‘cinematography’

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Coen/Deakins The Man Who Wasn't ThereSome things are just meant to go together. Peanut butter and jelly, bacon and eggs, and, of course, the Coen brothers and Roger Deakins. Through the past two decades, the dynamic filmmaking duo and the esteemed cinematographer have collaborated on upwards of 10 feature films, most of which are iconic in their own right. It’s safe to say that the Coen/Deakins collaboration train has produced, and continues to produce, some of the finest films of the generation. Like all great things, it can be both fun and educational to look back at the varied work that the legendary team has produced and analyze what makes their work so effective and entertaining. A new retrospective video from Blag Films lets us do just that. More »

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Hulu SFSThere are so many ways to go about learning how to make films, with resources that won’t cost you tens of thousands of dollars or have you sitting in lecture halls for the greater part of your early 20s. One ironclad piece of advice that always seems to be in the mouths and repertoires of great filmmakers is to watch and study films, because they can offer invaluable guidance, inspiration, and even mentorship to those who are looking for it. And if you’ve decided that this summer will be the one in which you buckle down for some serious cinematic cogitation, Hulu’s Summer Film School, which is a series of blog posts that break down the filmmaking techniques of some of history’s greatest films, might be right up your alley. More »

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Sony a7sEarlier in the week, we shared a comparison of the dynamic range of the Sony a7S to a few other popular cameras, and the results were enlightening. It turns out that the combination of the massive pixels of the a7S sensor and the ability to shoot with an S-log2 gamma curve provides for some impressive dynamic range, to say the very least. Of course, we all know that no camera system is perfect, and the a7S is no exception, especially in regards to rolling shutter. In another comparative test from Cinema5D, they measured the effects of rolling shutter on a variety of popular CMOS cameras, and unfortunately, our beloved a7S didn’t fare well at all. More »

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cleantechnica led street lighting lights lamps sodium vapor mercury clean green la los angelesEarlier in the year, we posted about the city of Los Angeles’ massive changeover to LED streetlights and some of the ways in which it might affect the appearance of LA in cinema. In addition to its ecological and economic benefits, this new street lighting has a lot of interesting photographic implications, particularly due to the LEDs’ more daylight-like rendition of color. Following the post I was fortunate enough to take part in a segment of KCRW’s program Which Way, LA? in which Academy Award-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister shed his own unique light on the subject. More »

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Composition & DepthThere are many aspects to the art and craft of cinematography. There is a technological component to it, of course, and that’s something that we talk about frequently. However, most people agree that it’s not the equipment that is used, but instead, how it is used that determines the efficacy of a given cinematographic piece. Of the many artistic facets of the craft, perhaps the least understood is composition. Many of our most coveted compositional techniques and theories come from history’s greatest visual artists, and they are entirely fascinating and useful once understood. Unfortunately, learning about them can be about as interesting as watching paint dry. Luckily, the following video on composition is not only informative, but it’s also, dare I say, entertaining. More »

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CineVerse Camera Comparison ChartDiscerning cinematographers know that different jobs and projects often require different tools. With digital cinema technology proliferating at an incredible rate, cinematographers now have such a wide variety of camera systems to choose from that the process of deciding which one meets the technical and aesthetic needs of any given project can often be entirely overwhelming. If only all of the relevant technical information for each high-end digital cinema camera could be aggregated into one place, maybe into the form of a well-organized chart –Luckily for us, Tom Fletcher over at CineVerse, a nationwide rental house, put together just such a chart with all of the major digital cinema cameras on the market today (the high-end ones, at least), and it’s an insanely helpful graphic that puts our top-of-the-line digital cinema technology into perspective. More »

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CropperCapture[77]There are many jobs in the filmmaking process. It all starts with a script, a story waiting to be told. Then there’s the director, the visionary, the person with the plan. But we all know that filmmaking is highly collaborative, so a team begins to emerge, with a group of like-minded artists all striving towards the same goal. You’ve got your art directors and production designers, and new worlds are created. You’ve got your editors, who lovingly craft the footage into the final piece of art. You’ve got your makeup artists and VFX artists and loads of other craftspeople who ultimately shape the film in some unique way. And then there’s the cinematographer, the person behind the lens. But what exactly does a cinematographer do, and what does it mean to be a cinematographer? The following short video from the EFTI School of Cinematography in Spain has the answer. More »

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VICE News C300Canon cameras might not get a whole lot of love these days (especially in the comments on our site), but the truth is that the C300 (which is now cheaper than ever) might just be one of the best documentary-style cameras around because of its tremendous versatility and low-light ability. Nowhere is this versatility more apparent than in the hands of the cinematographers of VICE News, one of the more engaging journalistic outfits around today. Their travels, and dare I say adventures, have taken them twice the world over as they’ve captured footage from every major international conflict in recent memory. In a recent collaboration with Canon, VICE DPs Jake Burghart and Jerry Ricciotti shared the standard VICE camera package, as well as their unique camera rigs that allow them to be ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. More »

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Taking Flight Creative LiveIn the past two years, the aerial cinematography industry has really taken off (get it?). What was once only an option for people with sky-high budgets (okay, I’ll stop) now has a delightful low-cost for entry-level equipment. With that said, piloting drones and snapping off great shots is far more complicated than owning the right gear. In fact, there’s a veritable plethora of information that you should know before your drone ever leaves the ground. Luckily, our friends over at CreativeLive have you covered. In their upcoming course, Taking Flight: Drone Photography & Video, Jeff Foster will teach you everything you need to know in order to get started with aerial cinematography. More »

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DJI_RoninWe’ve had our eye on DJI’s 3-axis gimbal stabilizer, the Ronin, since it made its mark at NAB. It comes with some exciting features not found in other gimbals within the same price range (even in the impressive but expensive MōVI), like its 3 operational modes; “Upright”, “Underslug”, and “Briefcase”. If you thought the Ronin was out of your price range, you might want to jump at the chance to snag it at a seriously discounted price while you can. More »

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CropperCapture[70]The App Store and Google Play Store are rife with apps aimed at providing helpful tools for filmmakers. Some of these apps are truly useful — apps like Shot Designer and pCAM and Cine Meter II – while others really aren’t. For users of RED cameras, there has never really been an app specifically designed to aid with the operating of these cameras. Until now, that is. Last week, RED released their REDTools App for the iOS platform, and it includes a number of tools for RED cinematographers, including depth of field calculation, recording time calculation, crop factor calculation, and more. More »

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Flashlight CinematographyLighting plays a huge role in making a film look aesthetically pleasing and cinematic, and though lighting kits can be expensive, there are always DIY workarounds to keep costs down. But, could you imagine if you pulled out a bunch of cheap flashlights on the first day of shooting? Your cast and crew might laugh you right off the set. However, Joey Shanks, who never fails to share his invaluable DIY film tips, shows us how these small, but increasingly powerful flashlights can be used with a few inexpensive mods to give your shots all the illumination they need. More »

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FARGO -- Pictured: Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo -- CR: FX/Matthias ClamerWhen I first heard that the Coen brothers’ iconic Minnesota masterpiece Fargo was going to be adapted into an FX miniseries, my first thought was, “Well jeez, that sure is a swell idea,” (in a thick Minnesotan accent, of course). After my initial excitement, the skepticism set in. How could anybody possibly create an episodic variation on Fargo, while appealing to modern audiences and paying homage to the original? Despite the enormity of that undertaking, show-runner Noah Hawley and his team not only created a show that lives up to the Coen classic, but a show that is easily one of the year’s (if not the decade’s) best. The show’s DP Dana Gonzales recently sat down with Ben Consoli on the Go Creative Show to talk about everything from Fargo’s locations to its glorious, yet understated cinematography. More »

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Cine Meter II WideIt’s safe to say that smartphones and tablets can do just about anything these days. For most of us, our phones have replaced calendars, alarm clocks, maps, newspapers, and a whole host of other things. The same can be said for many of the tools that filmmakers use on a day-in and day-out basis. There are slating apps, and shot-listing apps, and blocking/overhead apps, and apps that can teach you color correction. There have even been a few notable attempts at replacing light meters with an app, although most of those apps left something to be desired, especially compared to their real-world counterparts. However, one of the most promising light meter apps, Adam Wilt’s Cine Meter, just got a major update that includes tons of new features that discerning cinematographers will love. More »

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It’s clear that cinematography is changing, both from technological and aesthetic perspectives. Images are being created in new, oftentimes fascinating ways, and the role of the cinematographer is evolving at a rapid pace. Cinematographers are now being included in the extensive visual effects processes that dominate contemporary Hollywood — although the extent to which some cinematographers are actually involved is hotly debated. All of this means that the future of cinematography as we know it today is an exciting, albeit uncertain one. However, there’s one area that might provide a new outlet for the cinematographers of tomorrow: video games. More »

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DeakinsI’m not sure that anybody necessarily needs to be reminded of why Roger Deakins is one of the greatest cinematographers of our era. Not only has he crafted the images in a majority of the Coen Brothers’ modern masterpieces, but he has been at the helm of many of the most gorgeous films of the past 20 years. But just when you think you couldn’t possibly admire the man and his body of work any more than you already do, something comes along that puts his prolific career into perspective, leaving you in awe. A recent tribute video from Plot Point Productions does just that. So sit back, relax, and prepare to experience Deakins’ cinematography like you never have before. More »

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Fisheye hackFisheye lenses are great for so much more than skate videography and videos of cute animals being cute to cute polka music. They can also be used to create stunning, artistic images, as demonstrated by Australian filmmaker Max Piantoni. He has shared a short tutorial that shows you how he repurposed the lens in his Lomo Fisheye No. 2 still camera by mounting it onto an old Nikkor prime in order to capture some truly interesting, beautiful, and unpredictable video on his DSLR. More »

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Domenic Barbero T-shirt Diffusion CroppedDiffusion is an important part of getting the light in a scene to look pleasing. While there are plenty of professional materials made just to diffuse entertainment lighting (like silks, spun, frost, etc.), sometimes you run out, don’t have what you need with you, or just want a different quality of light that you can’t get with what you currently have. That’s where regular household diffusers come in. Cinematographer Domenic Barbero did a test with Casey Schmidt of Northwest Grip to see what kind of light would be produced by using everyday items as their diffusion material. More »

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blackmagic-ursa small[UPDATE: You can hear the full interview here.] I had the chance to talk with Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty back at NAB 2014, and while it’s taken a while to get the interview together, it will finally be going live on Monday. Grant offered up tons of fascinating details about his mindset with hardware, his take on the rest of the industry, and what’s going on with the Production Camera 4K, and he also gave some interesting tidbits about the new URSA 4K Digital Cinema Camera, which was first announced back at NAB. I’ve put together a teaser in which Grant mentions that the URSA is not only capable of frame rates higher than 60fps, but that they should be coming this year. More »

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Wim WendersThere isn’t a movie in all of cinematic history that can truly be called perfect, but there are certainly some steps we as filmmakers can take to make the process of making one a little bit more so. In this TV spot for the fancy-ish non-domestic Stella Artois, renowned director Wim Wenders shares a bunch of advice on how to approach filmmaking — if your goal is to make cinematic perfection, of course. More »