» Posts Tagged ‘photography’

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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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Zeiss OtusIn 2012, Zeiss announced that a brand new stills lens was in the works, one that would achieve perfection in optical performance through a no-compromise approach. Fast forward to November of 2013, and the company released the Otus 1.4/55, a prime lens that truly is uncompromising in all aspects of its design. While many of us are familiar with the Zeiss ZE glass for video work (great lenses), we have yet to see how the Otus would fare in a video setting. Luckily, filmmaker August Bradley managed to get his hands on an early pre-release version of the Otus, and he shot a delightful little concept piece called Zoetrope Optika that truly showcases the flawless performance of this marvelous lens. More »

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Stillmotion Photograph StorytellingChances are that if you’ve ever tried to incorporate still photography into your filmmaking, you’ve most likely used what has become known as the “Ken Burns Effect” wherein you keyframe various properties of the photograph in order to make it appear as if the camera is panning and zooming with the photo. While this is certainly a helpful tool when using photographs in your film, it’s not particularly exciting in a visual sense, and it’s been done so much that the technique itself is somewhat trite. Because of this, using large amounts of photos in a film presents a bit of a creative challenge, a challenge that our friends at Stillmotion encountered and tackled head-on for their recent feature documentary, #standwithme. How’d they do it? Stick with us to find out. More »

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La JeteeFamed director David Lean once said that one should be able to cut any frame out of a roll of film and be able to frame it and hang it on the wall. There is great power in the still image. Seeing as most filmmakers will at one point use stills in their work (especially documentarians), it’d be a good idea to get a solid understanding of what a single frame can do. A video by Vashi Nedomansky of Vashi Visuals proves to be helpful by not only identifying several films that harness the power of still images (even carrying the weight of a full film), but by also offering a few tips on using them from an editor’s perspective . More »

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short cuts to photo retouching for commercial use raymond wardell creativepro photoshop touch up image still film printJust as digital acquisition hasn’t rendered the light meter obsolete, nor NLE software altered what makes a well-paced scene — digital retouching plays by a lot of the same rules now as it always has. Recently, CreativePro dug up the fantastic-looking book Short Cuts to Photo Retouching, written by photographer Raymond Wardell in 1946. Wardell walks the reader through many techniques that will be familiar to Photoshop users — except he’s quite literally making his artistic alterations onto actual, physical film prints. Despite (or because of) this, the results are downright impressive — especially given the lack of a real-life ‘undo’ command. Click through to check out a few scans from this old gem, from which we can still learn plenty. More »

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the fountain special visual effects vfx sfx microscopy bts behind the scenes making ofOther than their deep meditation on mortality — and the associated motif of a sacred source of life — Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (2006) and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011) couldn’t be more different. That is, aside from the way in which the films achieve much of their strikingly beautiful cosmic imagery. In an era of filmmaking in which CGI and space-bound science fiction are far from strangers, these two films opt for a more naturalistic alternative — such as macrophotography and high-speed microscopy — to visualize their explorations of life in the universe. What could be more appropriate effects for films so occupied with the organic? Click through for some details on how VFX allowed the microscopic to ‘double’ for the cosmos. More »

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Exercising micromanagement and fine-tune control over the minutia of scenery is a must in filmmaking for all but the most hardcore run-and-gun-style productions. It’s not very often, however, that you see production-level set design and construction, prop manipulation down to the inch, or cinema lighting used to illuminate deep lived-in landscapes in still photography. Gregory Crewdson does just this, implementing an unheard-of degree of visionary control upon the constituents of his still frames — the image at left, for one, is no incidental happenstance. Filmmaker Ben Shapiro has documented Crewdson’s decade-spanning pursuit of creating true-to-life vignettes by fictitious articulation in Brief Encounters — screenings are limited, but the doc looks to be a must-see. Watch the trailer and some clips from the film below. More »

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Light field cameras could be the next big thing in photography and/or video, but as of right now, there is only one company selling anything that can achieve the affect: Lytro. If you have been wondering if this effect could be recreated with the DSLR you already own, the answer, as it turns out, is yes. The Chaos Collective, a group of internet futurists, has created a way to achieve the exact same effect as the Lytro camera with any DSLR, and has even created a way to embed the adjustable photos online. More »

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Lytro cameras already allow us to do something that, while (apparently) scientifically possible, seems to invoke more Gandalf than optical physics — which is to manipulate focus, dynamically and after the fact. By sampling the whole ‘light field’ within the field of view, they are truly fascinating iterations of the tools we use daily. This has some pretty interesting implications for the future of photography, not to mention videography — but Lytro isn’t stopping there. In fact, you can not only interactively shift your focal point, as you could before – but you can now, to an extent, alter the actual perspective of your shot as well, in real time — not to mention apply filters which also react in line with the company’s “living picture” aesthetic. For a demo video and some interactive examples, read on. More »

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While not exactly filmmaking related, it seems fitting for this site to take a look at the video of this series of photographs called Silent World. Created by photography team Lucie & Simon, they imagine the world without the bustling humans that take up so much space in several sprawling cities. More »

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A longer lens can flatten and widen a face, whereas a wider lens can pinch/pull facial features into an ugly distortion. This is true because of the varying physical distance to your subject that accompanies your choice of lens. This is not just a consideration for portrait photography, but also comes into play when choosing a lens for filming actors. For the the full size images of the thumbnails above, see photographer Stephen Eastwood’s site, or watch a video of how different distances (and accompanying lens choices) affect facial geometry by LensProToGo: More »

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Years ago a reader emailed me about plenoptic cameras, also known as light-field cameras, which allow an image to be refocused after the picture is taken. Sometimes referred to as a 4D camera, this crazy technology is now headed to a consumer camera from new manufacturer Lytro. News of this development, which utilizes technology first seen in a 2005 Stanford research paper, hit the internet last week, with Lytro now taking reservations for the device. Check out the refocusable images in action, and let me know what you think — game-changer or gimmick? More »

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Did you know you can change the shape of your bokeh by cutting out paper shapes and placing them over your lens? Maybe you did. I didn’t, though, and found out about this simple trick from DANIELS (the guys who brought us this music video), in their mini-video for “Who Do You Love” by Sue Scrofa. Hearts, shapes, letters, entire words: you can make your background highlights appear in the shape of anything you can cut out with scissors. More »

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Lensbabies are wonderful specialty lenses that create selective defocus effects on DSLRs (or SLRs, for that matter). But as soon as I pull the trigger and buy a Lensbaby Composer — which I love — Lensbaby comes out with the new Lensbaby Composer Pro. What does the new Pro offer over my oh-so amateur model? Mainly, it’s much better for video, because the mechanics are much smoother. Now I feel like one of the people in that Best Buy commercial. Here’s a look at the new Composer Pro in action: More »

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Artists Wanted wants, well, artists. They’re currently looking for “your best photographs” and are giving away $10,000 cash and a year of free living at a $1.2 million apartment at The Edge in New York City, along with a Manhattan gallery reception and airfare to and from New York City for the event. Obviously this is going to be a highly competitive project with prizes of that caliber. Deadline is June 7, so if you’ve got some great photos, check out their blurb: More »

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Daily Dose of Imagery is the online — and ongoing — portolio of candid shots taken by the Iranian-born, Canada-residing photographer Sam Javanrouh. In the same vein as nofilmschool – although a bit more obvious because of its name — Daily Dose of Imagery features a new post every day. If you’re primarily shooting video on your DSLR, Sam’s work is a great example of what you can do if you take the camera out of movie mode. The site is a steady stream of well-shot photos of everyday life, which are also included in the RSS feed, so if you’re an RSS user head on over and subscribe (not to mention to the nofilmschool RSS feed)!

Link: Daily Dose of Imagery

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Let’s get technical.

The human eye is a far superior instrument to the film or video camera. Over the years film stocks have gotten more sensitive, larger negatives and three-strip processes have been developed,  and video cameras have improved immeasurably, but these innovations have not brought the baseline visual fidelity of cameras to the level of our own ojos. It’s been claimed that the resolution of the human eye is equivalent to 576 megapixels; while that claim should be taken with a grain of salt, as should any calculations of dynamic range, sensitivity, and field of view, all such assesments lead to one conclusion: our eyeballs are pretty damn good. For decades, the most common observation for first-time cinematographers has likely been, “wow, this camera needs a lot more light than my eyes.” More »