ON THE COUCH – Zacuto, Rodney Charters, ASC & Bruce Logan, ASC

A really interesting discussion at Cinema 5d from Rodney Charters, ASC, “24” & Bruce Logan, ASC, the original Star Wars films, original TRON,  and Batman Forever, at NAB2014.

Some interesting thoughts on the challenges of lighting for 4k, especially with regard to female actresses and how 4k is taking away some of the DoP’s control as ‘re-framing’ becomes more common.

Another topic was how the lack of a budget for colour correction means DoPs are trying to apply looks with filters etc. while they are shooting.

via NAB 2014 – ON THE COUCH – ep 6 – Zacuto, Rodney Charters, ASC & Bruce Logan, ASC « cinema5D.

Godzilla European Premiere, London

On Sunday I was filming on the red carpet at another Film Premiere in London’s West End – Godzilla

Bryan Cranston, EIizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were the big draw for the crowd and according to Mr Cranston this film isn’t just a typical summer blockbuster but has a well developed script. With a review of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes I’m hoping he’s right.

Cinema Lens Guide – How to Convert Your Stills Lenses into Cinema Lenses

Caleb Pike at Dslr Video Shooter has posted a really great guide with some simple tips to make your stills photo lenses more usable in a video context – Turn Your Photo Lenses Into a Cinema Lens Set.

Many people are using excellent older stills lenses from the 70’s and 80’s to shoot video on their DSLR cameras as they can be bought quite affordably second hand, they are generally superb quality glass and the key point is that they have a manual aperture ring which will allow the smooth and seamless aperture changes necessary when filming video (once the aperture has been de-clicked).

(I have a set of old Zeiss-Contax lenses that I have gathered over time which give that famous Zeiss look and are very sharp prime lenses for a reasonable price.)

He goes through the process of de-clicking the aperture (removing the little ball bearing inside the aperture ring that makes the ring ‘click’ from one F-stop to another), which can be a DIY process on some lenses, guides available on YouTube etc, fitting an adapter so that lens will mount on your camera and adding lens gears so that you pull focus using an ‘Follow focus’.

Well worth a look….

via Cinema Lens Guide – How to Convert Your Lenses into Cinema Lenses.

WALLEY POS-86 – Walley Films

A really well made video by Walley Films which parodies some of the hyperbole that surrounds lots of the new film making kit that gets announced these days.

A short promo video that parodies the endless production and marketing of prosumer video cameras. Filmmakers Mark and Angela Walley have created a camera that is both a reverse trend in consumer electronics and “the most advanced camera ever built.”

via WALLEY POS-86 – Walley Films.

Reading a Color Temp Meter: Tips and Tricks | Hurlbut Visuals

Another informative article abut the craft of film making by Shane Hurlbut, lighting in particular. He goes through the basics of how to read a Colour Temperature meter and using that information to balance the lights in your scene – making practical lights and even street-lights more usable for your final image.

Several weeks ago, I went into how to read your light meter and why it is so important.  I know that many of you have said the light meter is dead. Well, you are not on your way to serving yourself well as a cinematographer by thinking this way. You have to have the brick and mortar of light before putting together your creative house.

“Snapshots of Your Color Palette”

Continue reading Reading a Color Temp Meter: Tips and Tricks | Hurlbut Visuals

Understanding Sony’s SLog3. It isn’t really noisy.

Another interesting article by Alister Chapman about Sony’s new Slog3 gamma for the F55 and F5 cameras. Alister explains that even though the untouched footage may look  ‘noisier’ (unwanted ‘grain’ like structure) than the Slog2 setting, once both types of pictures are treated equally there is no more noise in one or the other, in fact there’s more details in the shadows with Slog3 in his opinion.

It’s been brought to my attention that there is a lot of concern about the apparent noise levels when using Sony’s new Slog3 gamma curve. The problem being that when you view the ungraded Slog3 it appears to have more noise in the shadows than Slog2. Many are concerned that this “extra” noise will end up making the final pictures nosier. The reality is that this is not the case, you won’t get any extra noise using Slog3 over Slog2 and Slog3 is generally easier to grade and work with in post production.

So what’s going on?

Continue reading Understanding Sony’s SLog3. It isn’t really noisy.

F&V announce new EVF: SpectraHD 4, 4.3-Inch 720P Screen & HDMI/HD-SDI

At NAB 2014 F&V introduced their first External Viewfinder which could be a solution for the Blackmagic URSA and the AJA CION cameras. These cameras are sold without a viewfinder/eyepiece so you have to add your own. A small monitor will work but a purpose designed eyepiece with a loupe (a place to press your eye against and blocks out sunlight) which flips up is a very versatile piece of kit.

F&V SpectraHD 4
F&V SpectraHD 4

Continue reading F&V announce new EVF: SpectraHD 4, 4.3-Inch 720P Screen & HDMI/HD-SDI

The ARRI AMIRA Hits the Streets of Rio De Janeiro, & the Footage is Absolutely Breathtaking « No Film School

Some fantastic footage from the eagerly awaited new Arri Amira, which shows fantastic 200fps slo-mo and the same great dynamic range and picture quality as it’s bigger brother the Alexa.

…. Filmmaker Jens Hoffman was recently given the chance to finish up his ALEXA-shot documentary MATA MATA, which is about soccer culture and players in Brazil, on a brand new AMIRA, and the footage is breathtaking, to say the very least.

For the past three years, Hoffman has been using his personal ALEXA, which is rigged up for handheld documentary-style work, to document the lives of up and coming Brazilian soccer players. The documentary is called MATA MATA (which translates to “All Or Nothing”)

Although a vast majority of the film was shot on an ALEXA, there were a few scenes that still needed to be shot, and the AMIRA was the obvious choice due to its awesome high-speed functionality. In the film, one of the protagonists recounts playing soccer in the streets of the infamous City of God favela. Hoffman used the AMIRA’s slow motion functionality to create a sense of magical realism for these scenes. Here’s a look at his footage for this scene:

When asked how the AMIRA performed in comparison to his ALEXA, Hoffman had this to say:

The image quality and dynamic range are exactly the same as ALEXA; the only way to tell the AMIRA footage apart is because it’s 200 fps. It was crazy bright in Rio, with very strong sunlight and very dark shadows, so we needed the dynamic range for those extreme contrast levels in the middle of the day, and then we needed the sensitivity once the light started to drop, because it drops fast. Even when it seemed too dark to shoot, we were still getting incredibly nice shots with the AMIRA.

The Amira is certainly looking to be a fantastic new camera, albeit at a relatively high price point compared to some competitors. Is it a case of ‘you get what you pay for….’ ?

via The ARRI AMIRA Hits the Streets of Rio De Janeiro, & the Footage is Absolutely Breathtaking « No Film School. by Robert Hardy

The future of camera technology and resolution

An interesting discussion about the future of camera technology over at The Knowledge

Thirty years ago, the debate about film and TV camera technology was a lot simpler, and they either they cost as much as a car or a house. Since then, technology has advanced faster than anyone predicted, and now it’s feasible to privately own a camera that would have made a 1970s designer bite his pencil in half with astonishment.

How far technology will progress in the next few decades is anyone’s guess, and it’s dangerous to make bold predictions in such a volatile area.

So, let’s live dangerously…

Continue reading The future of camera technology and resolution

Filming a TEDMED talk at the Royal Albert Hall

Imagining the Future of Medicine, a TEDMED talk hosted by Dara O Briain. TEDMED is an offshoot of TED

TED: Our Mission: Spread ideas

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.

Yesterday I was working for Ravinol Chambers of BE Inspired films. His company was responsible for the live streaming of the whole event to the internet – 5 hours of video seen in 44 countries! Continue reading Filming a TEDMED talk at the Royal Albert Hall

BBC and ITV drama series threatened with strike action over pay dispute : News : The Stage

Production staff working on series such as Silent Witness, Mr Selfridge and Call the Midwife have threatened to disrupt filming through industrial action over pay.

Backstage union BECTU is preparing to ballot members to establish the level of support for the union’s claim for a £300 daily rate for grips – technicians who build, operate and supervise equipment to mount cameras. The issue, according to the union, has been “brewing for some months now”.

Continue reading BBC and ITV drama series threatened with strike action over pay dispute : News : The Stage

Cameraman injured in Syrian crisis – BBC News

“If the mortar had landed 15 minutes later, the children would have been in their classrooms,” lamented a school official in the Bab Touma area of the Old City of Damascus not long after a mortar slammed into a schoolyard full of children this week.

“At 07:45 in the morning, nearly 300 children were playing outside.”

Mortars are inaccurate, indiscriminate, and many more are landing in cities across Syria.

They’re believed to be fired by rebels, but the government is also accused of launching them into neighbourhoods under its control. So brutal is this war that nothing is considered unthinkable.

Continue reading Cameraman injured in Syrian crisis – BBC News

BBC News – Top 10 Tips: Bond cinematographer Roger Deakins

BBC News – Top 10 Tips: Bond cinematographer Roger Deakins.

Roger Deakins is the director of photography on films such as The Shawshank Redemption, A Beautiful Mind, No Country for Old Men, True Grit and Skyfall, the most successful British film ever.

He’s won more than 60 awards for his work, including three Baftas, and was last year presented with a lifetime achievement award by the American Society of Cinematographers. When he isn’t working, he spends his time living in LA, but his heart belongs to Devon, where he was born. “I miss it every day,” he says. Here are his top ten tips for becoming a successful cinematographer.

Roger Deakins, C.B.E., A.S.C., B.S.C
Roger Deakins has been nominated for 11 Oscars and has won three Baftas. He was awarded a CBE for services to film in 2013

Amazing Spider-Man 2 premiere, London

Yesterday I was filming at the World premiere of Amazing Spider-Man 2 which was shown live on Yahoo (the link above may still be showing the broadcast?)

It was a 5 camera Outside Broadcast with cameras and all technical facilities provided by Video Europe and the broadcast production by Sassy Films. I was on the red carpet with Will Best doing interviews with the stars of the film.

AJA Debuts CION: 4K/UHD/2K/HD Professional Camera – Top Stories – News – AJA Video Systems

AJA Debuts CION: 4K/UHD/2K/HD Professional Camera

NAB2014 has seen the release of several new 4K cameras or updates to current ones. AJA have released the CION –

Las Vegas, NV, NAB Conference, Booth SL2505 (April 7, 2014)— AJA Video Systems today announced CION, an entirely new professional camera. CION features an ergonomic design and is capable of shooting at 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD resolutions. AJA pioneered lens-to-post Apple ProRes workflows with the introduction of the Ki Pro product line in 2009; CION builds on this achievement by offering in-camera recording directly to the Apple ProRes family of codecs – including 12-bit 444 – for pristine image capture. ProRes codecs are well established in many post-production environments and offer wide compatibility with editing, color correction and finishing applications. CION enables today’s growing demand for high frame rate support and offers the ability to output 4K raw data at up to 120 fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs. CION can record directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 frames per second.

Continue reading AJA Debuts CION: 4K/UHD/2K/HD Professional Camera – Top Stories – News – AJA Video Systems

Blackmagic Design announce the revolutionary 4K URSA camera

Blackmagic Design have unveiled yet another 4K camera at NAB2014 :The URSA

Introducing Blackmagic URSA, the world’s first high end digital film camera designed to revolutionize workflow on set. Built to handle the ergonomics of large film crews as well as single person use, URSA has everything built in, including a massive 10 inch fold out on set monitor, large user upgradeable Super 35 global shutter 4K image sensor, 12G-SDI and internal dual RAW and ProRes recorders. Because the sensor and lens mount assembly can be changed, you can choose EF or PL lens mounts, or even a broadcast video sensor with B4 mount. This means you can upgrade to the latest sensor technology in the future and keep your investment in the camera body!

The URSA ticks a lot of boxes for professional camera-folk who are used to the more traditional ‘shoulder-mount’ design – it’s the right shape!

Continue reading Blackmagic Design announce the revolutionary 4K URSA camera

Cine-EI Mode when recording S-Log2/3 and raw on the F5 and F55. | XDCAM-USER.COM

An interesting article by Sony ‘guru’ Alistair Chapman about recording and exposure techniques on the Sony F55/5 –

Prior to version 3 of the F5 and F55 firmware, Cine-EI was only available in raw mode with the R5 recorder attached. Now from version 3 onwards Cine-EI operation can be selected in both raw and non raw modes. You no longer need to have the R5 attached to use Cine-EI. EI stands for “Exposure Index” and in many respects Cine-EI mode mimics shooting on film.

The latitude and sensitivity of the F5/F55 like most cameras is governed by the latitude and sensitivity of the sensor and processing, which is 14 stops. Different amounts of conventional gain or different ISO’s don’t alter the sensors actual sensitivity to light, only how much the signal from the sensor is amplified.

via Cine-EI Mode when recording S-Log2/3 and raw on the F5 and F55. | XDCAM-USER.COM.