» Posts Tagged ‘film’

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Going Dark - Final Days of Film ProjectionEven though there are still plenty of big films being shot on 35mm, most movies are now projected digitally. Paramount was apparently the first studio to stop sending film prints to theaters, but before long 35mm film prints will be non-existent (at least for new releases). With 35mm prints disappearing, so too are film projectionists, a job which is now much simpler due to Digital Cinema Packages delivered on hard drives and loaded onto servers. The short doc Going Dark: The Final Days of Film Projection, directed by Jason Gwynn and Jay Sheldon, explores the end of an era, and why disappearing film prints has actually meant the closing of many independent theaters. More »

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standard-gauge-still-2When I was nine or ten years old, and not busy seeing movies I was far too young to be seeing (thanks, indulgent parenting!), I haunted the film section at any available bookstore, buying scripts, biographies of my favorite directors, books on technique and craft — it didn’t really matter, so long as it was film related. Sometime in the mid-90s, this indiscriminate process resulted in my discovery of the classic, Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices. The author, Rick Schmidt, had written it several years before, and its premise was that for the average cost of a used car (around $6,000), it was eminently possible to make a feature film. Recently, I reread the book, and there’s no time like the present to catch up with the past, so put on your jodhpurs, grab a megaphone, and let’s make a movie, what say? More »

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ARRI AMIRANFL Films, the production company that has dazzled our eyes and ears with beautiful 16mm footage and slow motion aerials of the National Football League, will stop shooting its regular season and postseason games on film. For 2014, they are now moving to the ARRI AMIRA as their main production camera, with likely a number of other supporting cameras that have already been in use. While film got a shot in the arm thanks to the news that Hollywood will continue buying Kodak stock, this is certainly a setback. 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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Martin Scorsese at Hugo EventWith Hollywood studios and filmmakers rallying together last week to save Kodak film from going extinct at least for the next few years, many in the industry have spoken out about the situation. Director Martin Scorsese, who has shot on film the majority of his career (though has recently experimented with digital on some of his more recent projects, including the completely digital Hugo), issued a very personal statement about the state of filmmaking and why it’s important that we don’t let film die. 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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Kodak Motion Picture Film LogoIt’s been a long and bumpy road for Kodak and their film division. While they’ve emerged from bankruptcy, film sales have been in a free fall since 2006, and the company has considered closing its film production plant altogether. But a new proposal from studios, with support from filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and J.J. Abrams, will likely ensure that filmmakers at least have the choice to shoot film well into the future. 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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Quentin Tarantino Cannes 2014 Press ConferenceQuentin Tarantino has not been shy about his distaste for all things digital. He has stayed true to shooting on 35mm film, but most theaters and distributors are moving away from projecting in the format. Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival (where a 20th anniversary screening of Pulp Fiction is the only film showing in 35mm), Tarantino again reiterated his displeasure about digital projection, going so far as to say that the loss of 35mm projection means that what he knew as cinema is dead. More »

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Dale McCready Atlantis Season 2 Camera TestCamera technology has come a long way in the last 5 years. Dale McCready, the DP on the TV show Atlantis, normally shoots on 35mm for the show, but wanted to see how newer solutions stack up and could be intercut with the film material for Season 2. Since he already knows the ALEXA well, he took the 6K DRAGON from RED and his Canon 5D Mark III shooting Magic Lantern RAW and tested all sorts of different combinations of filters on the cameras. More »

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Inside Llewyn DavisOf the many amazing films that were released in 2013, few looked as unique, or as stylistically gorgeous, as the Coens’ love song to the 1960′s NY folk scene, Inside Llewyn DavisOf course, Roger Deakins, the regular cinematographer for the Coen brothers, was not available to shoot the film, so the prolific filmmaking duo turned to another industry legend, acclaimed French DP Bruno Delbonnel, who is most known for his stunning work on Amélie. The fine folks at Cinefii recently sat down with Delbonnel at the Cameraimage Festival in Poland, where he revealed many of the techniques that he used to create the unique aesthetic of Inside Llewyn Davis, as well as some insights into what it’s like to work with Joel and Ethan Coen. More »

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Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 11.47.00 PMBelieve it or not, shooting on film is still a legitimate thing (I know, it’s shocking). Despite the fact that digital imaging is finally matching the technical capabilities of film (and maybe even surpassing it in the case of DRAGON), many narrative productions are still shooting on good old fashioned celluloid. What does this mean for younger folks looking to make a career in the camera department? Well for one, it means that knowing your way around a film camera, and knowing how to load various types of magazines, is still a valuable skill in this industry, one that might land you a gig or two. Luckily for us, literally anything can be learned on YouTube, including the methods for loading film in a variety of popular magazines and cameras. More »

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NebraskaA little while back, I shared an ASC podcast that featured Nebraska cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. In that interview, Papamichael talked about many of the cinematic techniques behind the well-received Alexander Payne road movie. For those of you who love to hear cinematographers talk about their work and the theory behind it, you’ve probably seen many of the fantastic interviews that Cinefii puts together. Well, dear cinematography geeks, the fine folks at Cinefii have done it again, as they’ve just put out an extended interview with Phedon Papamichael in which he reveals even more of the techniques that he used to bring Nebraska to life. 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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kendricken_celluloid_film_fuji_fujifilm_production_manufacture_cancelWith modern digital cinema cameras, it is often preferable to achieve a look that is more “cinematic” than “digital.” No one factor creates a filmic feel, but the precedent is simple enough — film itself. The emulation of emulsion may depend on anything from lens choice and lighting to grading and grain plug-ins, but there is one sure-fire way to get a true film look: using film. Celluloid acquisition may be beyond the budget of your shoot, but using a “film intermediate” process — that is, transferring color corrected digital footage out to film, then scanning back to digital — could be one technique for splitting the difference. A webinar with VFX artist & colorist Jerome Thelia details just such a process, regarding the Oscar-winning short film Curfew. Read on for details. More »

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Anchorman 2 Last Paramount Movie Distributed on FilmMovies have been shown in theaters on actual film since the beginning of the format, but this year could very well be the last that we get to experience new films on 35mm. It has been reported that Paramount is ending distribution on celluloid, with Anchorman 2 being their last film print release — instead releasing all new movies digitally. What does this mean for the rest of the industry, and who is going to get left behind in the process? More »

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Daryn Okada ASC KodakEarlier in the year, Kodak emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy, thus preserving the future of film as a capture medium, at least for the time being. While a vast majority of us don’t have the resources to be able to shoot celluloid on a regular basis, or even at all, it’s still an incredibly viable capture medium in both high-end filmmaking and independent filmmaking alike. For that reason, it’s still important for modern cinematographers to have a grasp of not only how to shoot film, but also to know the subtle aesthetic differences in various film stocks. For most of their modern stocks, Kodak has produced in-depth comparison videos to showcase the abilities and differences of the new stocks against their older counterparts. Here are a few of my favorites. More »

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Nebraska Black and WhiteI’m a sucker for good black and white cinematography. For that reason, 2013 was a fantastic year. We were given a slew of unique independent films shot in black and white, from Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing to Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha. While these films have wonderful aesthetics, perhaps the most gorgeous black and white cinematography of the year came from Phedon Papamichael’s efforts on Alexander Payne’s most recent flick, Nebraska. Papamichael recently sat down for an interview on the ASC Podcast in which he talks extensively about the processes and intricacies of black and white cinematography in the digital age. More »

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Mr_Christmas

With a Vimeo Staff Pick under its belt in this the month of making merry, Nick Palmer’s documentary about the charmingly idiosyncratic Bruce Mertz, better known in Concord, California as Mr. Christmas, looks set to rack up views in numbers equal to its subject’s annual display of synchronized festive lights. A working Hollywood screenwriter who, with writing partner Jeremiah Friedman, has penned and sold scripts to studios and has the coveted distinction of being included on the much-lauded Black List, Palmer joins No Film School to discuss his writing career and how he brought the story of Mr. Christmas to screen. Prepared to be dazzled after the jump. More »

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Film v Digital“Which looks better: film or digital?” It’s one of those questions that can’t really be answered, because every filmmaker has different tastes and opinions, but Joey Shanks (you might know him from his awesome stop motion/in-camera effects tutorials) puts film and digital head to head to show the difference between what the two mediums look like in stop motion animation. He even challenges viewers to guess what the last clip was recorded with, and will reveal the answer come December 26th. It’s harder than you might think, but continue on to see for yourself! More »