The Criterion Collection offers a lot more than access to some of the best and most historically significant films from around the world (and great supplemental features, too). The site also provides studious cinephiles with its own extras, like engaging articles about these classics and their world-class filmmakers, as well as their Top 10 lists, which share the favorite Criterion films of some of the biggest creatives, who explain why they're important to them personally and professionally. Continue on to see which classics filmmakers like Jane Campion, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Roger Corman put in their top 10.
Granted, these lists aren't compiled of each filmmaker's top 10 favorite movies of all time -- just the ones that you can find in the collection. But, if you're a fan of Criterion -- and great directors explaining why they like certain films -- then these lists will provide you with some great insight into some of the most important pieces of cinematic history. For instance, Scorsese relates the episodic gem, Paisá by Rossellini, to one of the most thought-provoking (in my opinion) stories to hit the stage, Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
Never has “waiting around” been so glorious. Postwar ennui meticulously staged and photographed, a fin de siècle troupe of the idle rich, such empty lives and their inconstant echoes. But Antonioni really had the last laugh, for this “adventure” film is more a solemn nod to Godot than any real outing or frolic.
At the very least, these lists will provide some entertainment and a Criterion shopping list! Check out a few films from the Top 10 lists of the following directors. (Click on each name to be taken to their full lists on Criterion's website.)
Be sure to check out each director's Top 10 page to see what they have to say about each film (some don't share anything, some share a lot). Take some time, too, to take a look through the rest of the Top 10s on Criterion's site. There are plenty more filmmakers, including producers and screenwriters, but there are also musicians, actors, and other creatives that share which films touched them.
What is your Top 10? Which films from the Criterion Collection would you recommend for filmmakers? Which films do you think should be available, but aren't? Let us know in the comments below.
As we covered when news of The Sphere’s first film was announced, Darren Aronofsky’s Postcards From Earth has proven to truly be one of the biggest marvels of modern cinematography. And not just because of its ambitious scope, but also—quite simply—by its sheer technical achievement.
Let’s take a deeper look at this one-of-a-kind 18K camera—dubbed the Big Sky camera—and explore how it was developed to record footage designed to be shown on The Sphere’s 160,000 square foot LED screen at the highest pixel resolution (19,000x13,500) in the world.
Behind the Scenes with the Big Sky Camera
Thanks to a new behind-the-scenes featurette produced by the Wall Street Journal, which you can watch below, we now have many more details about this new Big Sky camera system and how it works. We knew it was massive and that it reportedly took a 12-person crew to work, but many of the technical specs and features were left unknown.
From the looks of it, though, this 18K Big Sky camera was developed specifically to be used for films shot for The Sphere and its wildly large screen. The camera itself faced many challenges, namely how to capture such wide angles and how to simply reach the highest levels of super-resolution.
To address these challenges, the Big Sky camera was designed to feature wide angles with a fisheye lens that is almost 12”/30.48 cms across. This circular and linear design is able to distort the view so the widest angle possible can be captured in a circle.
Also, the camera was designed with a square 18K x 18K large sensor to help this circular image fit more perfectly into the square as a way to eliminate any wasted pixels. Together with the lens, this sensor is able to capture the full scope of the footage needed for The Sphere’s ginormous screen.
The Marvel of The Sphere Itself
While this is obviously just one screen at one place in Las Vegas, The Sphere has captured the world’s attention if not simply by its sheer scope and scale. The Sphere itself is the largest spherical structure in the world, standing at 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide at its widest point. The theater seats 17,500 people (with 10,000 of those seats being the haptic seats complete with sound vibration).
However, the true marvel is the 160,000 square foot LED screen with its 19,000x13,500 pixel resolution, the highest in the world. Which, of course, helps it become perhaps the most immersive experience ever known to man.
Still, with a screen 20 times larger than an IMAX screen, the innovative engineering needed to produce content for this screen has been a huge challenge. Before the Big Sky camera, a team of engineers had to weld 11 cameras together just to get footage for the screen. However, thanks to the Big Sky camera, its technical wizardry has now been able to seamlessly integrate 11 different perspectives into a singular view.
The Marvel of The Sphere
The Future of Big Sky Cinematography
What’s still to be seen, though, is simply what will come of this new camera and screen combination next. Darren Aronofsky certainly seems like a good choice for the camera and theater’s maiden voyage with his Postcards From Earth film. However, many are now wondering what comes next.
Even with the Big Sky camera, the challenges are quite immense. It takes a 12-person team to man the camera and it takes quite a bit of planning, at least for anything scripted, as the field of view extends almost behind the lens—which means productions and sets will need to be giant and immersive themselves.
The next projects will undoubtedly need to make use of tons of other technologies, like VR, for example, just to produce anything besides documentary-style productions. However, with such a large seating array, and with so much marketing behind The Sphere itself, we’re excited to see who takes on the challenge next—and what they’re able to dream up for it.
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