Articles & Reviews
Demo reels are tough, especially when you’re first starting out. Here’s my advice on how to get through the first few iterations. My first showreel was awful. Well, actually it wasn’t that bad considering where I was in my career at the time. I’d only been out of film school for a couple of years Read More
Firelight and window light have a lot in common. They both require multiple light sources to look convincing. Here are my favorite tricks for reproducing both. I first learned the “strips of multicolored gels waved in front of a light” firelight trick in film school, and I never found it very convincing. I don’t get a lot of opportunities to use flame bars, and I know there are ways to emulate firelight using multiple china balls with different gels on them. My favorite technique came about by simply staring into a fireplace for a while.
There’s one place in every set that’s never going to be seen, and that’s directly behind the camera. Light from this direction is generally considered uninteresting but if you have a nuanced eye you can create some really interesting looks by putting a light in the one spot that every film school teaches students to avoid.
Lighting direction is important, but so is the size of the source. A small non-diffused light placed directly behind the camera is generally doesn’t work well because it makes people and things look obviously lit. There are situations where this kind of lighting does work–we see it all the time in older movies when a female star has to look her best–but for modern work it feels a bit forced.
Today’s pop culture is awash in the stuff of comic books. Our biggest movie franchises, video games and television shows are often lifted from the pulp-paper world of Batman, Superman, and Iron Man. Welcome to Comic-Con – the once small “trade show” that has blown up into way more than just a celebration of all Read More
To understand the impact of Comic-Con on the motion picture and television industries, look no further than the 2013 panel discussions from some of the worlds major entertainment content creators. There on stage was the entire cast of X-Men – Days of Future Past featuring a few actors you might have heard of: Patrick Stewart, Read More
Over the past few years, many companies have brought to market lens mount adapters. Some of these adapters are simply machined rings that allow for one type of lens’ flanges to fit onto another manufacturer’s camera body. Most of these simple adapters work very well for the most part. Often you will run into a Read More
Director Ian McCamey and I have done a lot of spots together, and when he calls I know he’s going to have some crazy fun idea that’s going to keep me up nights trying to figure out how to pull it off. That was certainly the case with our recent web spot for La Crema Read More
At NAB 2013, Sony announced the raw upgrade for the NEX-FS700, allowing this $7500 camera to send raw 2K and 4K video to external recorders. In the middle of May, Sony sent me a prototype raw-enabled FS700 camera, an IFR5 raw adapter, and an AXS-R5 recorder. After ten days of frantic shooting, grading, and editing, Art and I presented “FS700 in the Raw” at Cine Gear Expo. Most of what Art discussed he’s written about here; what follows is my part of the presentation.
The Vision blue3 is the third Camera Support System in the blue series, sitting somewhere between the original Vb, and the Vb5 I reviewed last year. The “blueBridge” Small Camera Adapter (SCA) is Vinten’s take, and an extremely well thought out one, on a Centre of Gravity (COG) lifter, a subject I talked about briefly last year in the Vb5 review. The only thing that has changed between the Vb and the Vb3 is a different spring rate. The sticks, case, spreader and head are in all respects identical down to the last detail, but for that spring change. So, if you want all the details, refer to my original Vb review. For this review of the Vision blue3, I’ll skip the usual format and concentrate on the Vb3’s place in the blue hierarchy, the measurable differences between their individual spring rates and, additionally, the effect of using the blueBridge SCA with them both.
I’ve spent a long time learning to make HD footage look “filmic” without really knowing exactly what that meant. I’ve just picked up a bit of insight, however, and it’s permanently changed how I look at video and color. I’ve shot a number of projects using an Arri Alexa in WYSIWYG mode — for which I’m considered a bit of an oddity — but with it I can get great results with no more than minimal grading and clients love walking away with ProRes files whose look is 90% there. My problem is that I now have to do this with other cameras as Alexa’s price point is considered “high” in my market due to the release of several newer, cheaper and fairly capable cameras. I love the Alexa look, but my current task is to figure out how to get close to that look when the production doesn’t have the budget to rent one — or, more likely, in the event the production company owns their own camera.