» Posts Tagged ‘cinematography’

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Conan DP

Last month, Conan O’Brien dedicated an episode of his show to the return of The Walking DeadIn honor of the widely loved AMC zombie drama, Team Coco put together a comedic Walking Dead-based opening sketch, featuring a decomposing, flesh-eating rendition of Conan. As a cinematography geek, I was blown away by how the production team managed to both emulate and parody the cinematographic style of The Walking Dead. Luckily for you, No Film Schoolers, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dylan Sanford, the talented DP who lensed this cold open. Stick around to hear Dylan explain exactly how it was done, from pre-production all the way through post. More »

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ALEXA-Studio_headerWithin the span of the past three years, the ARRI ALEXA has become the gold-standard for cameras in productions of all shapes and sizes, from the highest-end Hollywood extravaganzas to television shows and commercials and beyond. Essentially, if you’re looking to work as a camera operator or assistant, or even as a DIT, it will behoove you greatly to know your way around the ALEXA. With that goal in mind, I’ve pulled together some of the finest resources from around the web to get you started with this excellent camera system. Luckily, it’s a very intuitive camera, so you’ll be up and running in no time flat! More »

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North by NorthwestThink about the most iconic scenes in cinematic history. What comes to mind? The “Here’s Johnny” scene from The Shining? The “Trio” scene from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly? There are definitely too many great ones to mention, ones that probably made you want to be a filmmaker because of their masterful storytelling through the cinematography, editing, as well as the actors’ performances. Cinephilia and Beyond has shared some content that breaks down the famous “Crop Duster” scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, including an interview with Hitchcock detailing the scene, as well as a document from the film’s cinematographer that maps out all 61 camera angles. More »

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great gatsby btwBaz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby might’ve been met with mixed reviews, with some reviewers saying that style was chosen over substance, but the film’s visuals are as beautifully over-the-top and champagne-poppingly glamorous as the director’s other work, including Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + JulietOne thing, however, that Luhrmann did differently on The Great Gatsby, as opposed to his other projects, was shoot in 3D, and cinematographer Simon Duggan explains in a Cinefii interview how 3D helps to add another perceivable dimension to not only a movie screen, but to characters as well. More »

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Infinite Black BackgroundHere’s a cheap, simple, and professional-looking technique to add to your arsenal — the infinite black background. Because its visuals add a level of surrealism and style, we’ve seen this used in music videos, dream sequences in narrative films, art films, you name it — and chances are if you’re not wondering how to pull it off, it’s because your curiosity has already led you to find the answer. Filmmaker Lewis McGregor shares his insight into how to create this effect inexpensively and simply by using black material, three lights, and editing software. (No need for a huge soundstage!) More »

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Barry LyndonIt has been fifteen years to the day since one of the greatest filmmakers to ever walk the planet unfortunately departed from it. Stanley Kubrick, who demonstrated his impeccable storytelling abilities in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and many others, died on this day back in 1999, and what better way to acknowledge the empty place the legendary auteur left in the cinematic world after his death than with a celebration of how he managed to give his films such presence during his life. Continue on to watch a video tribute to the late director that shines a light on his brilliant signature themes and cinematic techniques. More »

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Eric Kress Lighting WorkshopA few weeks ago, we shared the first installment of an absolutely fantastic lighting workshop led by Danish cinematographer Eric Kress (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). In it, he took us through the beginning stages of lighting for matching closeups using just a few bounces and a well-placed fill to create some stunningly soft, yet dramatic lighting with a minimum of tools. Even though part 1 of the workshop stopped there, Kress had quite a bit more information to impart on the audience. Luckily, Benjamin B over at thefilmbook has now posted part 2 of the Gokinema-sponsored workshop, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys, because it’s even more of a masterclass in subtle lighting techniques than the first installment. More »

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Darius KhondjiAfter one glance at Darius Khondji’s IMDb page it’s easy to see that the famed French cinematographer is a living legend. From his work with David Fincher (Se7ven, Panic Room), to Michael Haneke (Funny Games, Amour), to Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, To Rome With Love), and my personal favorite, Jean Pierre Jeunet/Marc Caro (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children), it’s safe to say the Khondji has had a storied career as a cinematographer. IndieWire recently talked with Khodji about his advice for low-budget cinematographers who are shooting on location, and needless to say, the man had some invaluable tips. Here are a few of my favorites. More »

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OscarWe’ve talked quite a bit about online petitions lately. First it was Kentucker Audley satirically urging independent filmmakers to give up their dreams for the greater good of the film industry. Then, in the wake of the Sarah Jones tragedy, it was a petition to have her recognized during the “In Memoriam” segment at Sunday’s Academy Awards. And now, fellow No Film Schoolers, we have another petition to unleash on you, a petition to split the Oscar for “Best Cinematography” into two separate categories. Read on to see what all of the fuss is about. More »

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12 Years a SlaveOf the many excellent films to hit theaters last year, few were as powerful (or as well shot) as the Best Picture Oscar winner, 12 Years A Slave. It’s one of those rare films that transcends its utterly brutal subject matter and makes a powerful statement about the resiliency of the human spirit. Although much of that power is derived from terrific acting and direction, Sean Bobbitt’s masterful cinematography plays a critical role in allowing the emotionality of the story and its characters to emanate from the screen. In a pair of excellent interviews with Cinefii and Time LightBox, Bobbitt explains not only how he managed to craft such a gorgeous film, but also his theories behind portraying violence through film, working with Steve McQueen, and much, much more. Stick with us for a crash course in dramatic cinematography. More »

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Igor MartinovicTelevision cinematography has come quite a ways in the past 10 years. In the arena of episodic television, where multi-camera shoots with high-key lighting were once the norm, incredibly cinematic single-camera cinematography has now taken hold. Although many of HBO’s and AMC’s offerings started the ball rolling with this delightful trend, the Netflix original drama House of Cards is the absolute epitome of dramatic cinematography in an episodic show. Igor Martinovic, the cinematographer from the second season of House of Cards, recently sat down with our friends at the GoCreative Podcast and he shared quite a bit about the cinematography of this world-class show. More »

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Axis360Here at No Film School, we talk quite a bit about the dizzying array of technical methods for creating camera movement (and even the reasons for moving your camera in the first place). In the past year alone, a seemingly absurd amount of camera movement products have hit the market, everything from brushless gimbal stabilizers to updated versions of sliders, shoulder rigs, and beyond. Sometimes these new products are unique tools that enhance our storytelling potential, and sometimes they’re just more of the same. However, every now and again a product comes along that seems destined to change the way we move our cameras. The Axis360 Modular Motion Control System might just be one of those rare products. More »

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Cooke AnamorphicsMany cinematographers love the look of anamorphic lenses. Many others are quite fond of Cooke Optics because of their distinctively warm and creamy aesthetic, lovingly known as the “Cooke Look.” Imagine the delight of cinematographers all over the world when Cooke announced during last year’s NAB that a brand new line of high-end anamorphic cinema lenses was in the works. Pure elation. Now we’ve got some of the first test shots to surface from these world-class anamorphic lenses, and the results are just what you’d expect, optical excellence and pure cinematic beauty. More »

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Emmanuel LubezkiFollowing celebrities on Instagram is nothing new. I’m sure you or someone you know religiously (and/or secretly) checks out Rihanna’s, Kim Kardashian’s, or even the Biebs’ posts, but if you’re like me and you haven’t quite jumped on the “Instagram as social media” train, you may want to make an exception. Six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, one of the greatest DPs of our time, not only uses his exceptional eye for moving images, but for stills that he posts quietly on Instagram. More »

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Lighting For CloseupsThere are few educational resources for cinematographers that are as rock-solid as the various publications, blogs, and podcasts from the American Society of Cinematographers. Last time we checked in with the ASC, we heard a podcast interview with Phedon Papamichael about his work shooting Alexander Payne’s delightful black and white road film, Nebraska. This time, accomplished Danish cinematographer Eric Kress DFF, (who shot the fantastic Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) walks us through his approach to shooting matched closeups in this excellent workshop from Gokinema & thefilmbook. More »

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Moonrise KingdomThere are very few filmmakers working today whose films are so heavily marked by their DNA, so much so that they’re recognizable to cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. One of these filmmakers is Wes Anderson. Most people know a Wes Anderson movie when they see it; the distinguishing color palette, signature camera moves, the many, many overhead shots, but there is much, much more to be said about his visual themes. Nelson Carvajal peeks inside the director’s imaginative world in this excellent video that showcases some of Anderson’s best films, as well as voiceovers from interviews with the director in which he talks about his artistic sensibilities. More »

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B RollYour primary footage may the key storyteller of your film — your interviews, etc., but your b-roll is the glue that holds it all together. Getting good b-roll is supremely important in not only documentary filmmaking, but in virtually any type of filmmaking, because it helps hide transitions, gives information, and adds flare to what could be a long and tedious block of exposition. But, if you’re finding that your secondary footage is falling flat, Slavik Boyechko of Alaska Video Shooter and PBS series Indie Alaska, breaks down pretty much everything you need to know about shooting b-roll in this awesome and exhaustive tutorial. More »

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s16 F55In late 2013, Sony released version 3.0 of the firmware for their F5 and F55 cameras. This update added a veritable plethora of new features for these two cameras, including internal 4K and more options in regards to high frame rate shooting. However, one of the most interesting features of the update was the addition of what Sony calls “Center Scan Mode” which essentially crops the sensor in order to allow native use of lenses with a smaller image circle than s35, chiefly older s16 lenses. In another informative “At The Bench” video from AbelCine, Andy Shipsides breaks down everything you need to know about Center Scan Mode on the F55. Check it out. More »

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Film Riot Camera MovementHere at No Film School, we talk a whole lot about fun new tools for creating camera movement. Whether it’s a slider, the latest variation on the gyroscopic gimbal, crazy jibs, or even the 100 foot technocrane, chances are that we’ve talked about it at some point. However, one thing that isn’t talked about nearly enough are the reasons and motivations behind adding camera movement to your films. But worry not, NFS brethren, because Ryan Connolly of Film Riot has a fantastic video just for people looking to move their cameras. Check it out. More »

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6 Minute Take HBO's True Detective - No Film SchoolIf you aren’t watching one of the most talked about shows on cable, True Detective, directed entirely by Cary Fukunaga, don’t feel bad (or maybe you should?). Either way, the slow burning anthology series turned up the heat over the weekend with a masterful one take scene that will likely be one of the best you’ll see all year. We’ve got some more information about how it was actually created, but if you haven’t seen it, there is a video of the entire scene (beyond just the one take) below. The scene really doesn’t spoil that much, especially since it’s mostly out of context, but here is your warning either way. More »