How To Do Cinematic Color Grading Like A Pro

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Ever noticed how movies have a very distinct look that gives off a cinematic look. The process of taking the footage and giving it a specific look is called Grading. There are a few ways to achieve that look and the team at the Photoshop Training Channel provides one of the best color grading primers I’ve seen to date.

Now, Grading can be as complex as you want to take it, but if you want to get a general understanding of the process this video is a great 30 minutes crash course.

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Orcavue Creates Bullet Time Shots With One Camera

Remember how revolutionary that bullet shot in the matrix was? It was also a few dozens cameras, a full-scale Chroma room and a budget that would probably be enough for a mid-sized indie film. But the effect is totally worth it.

I guess this is why we are seeing so many creative ways of recreating this effect, from crowd-sourcing, to using “cheap” GoPros (or even RASPBERRY PIs) arrays to using a ceiling fan (really!).

Orcavue took that ceiling fan concept and made it into a product. I guess I can only describe their rig as an upside down biggish ceiling fan with a camera on its arm.

The arm on the Orcavue  revolves at 1-2 revolutions per second, and combined with a high FPS camera – say a 120FPS, $500 GoPro – it can create some cool bullet time effects. The team recommends slowing the camera even further in post (say using Twixtor) to get a really slow shot.

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40 Movies About Photography–How Many On The List Have You Seen?

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This past July, Adam Sherwin posted a list of 40 movies about photography that “every photographer should watch” over at Resource Magazine. When I first saw the list, I had already seen quite a few of the films mentioned, but it also led me to discover a slew of other photography related movies I hadn’t heard of before. Since then I’ve been working my way through the curation. While I probably won’t watch all of the films (honestly, they don’t all look interesting to me, as I’m sure they won’t all look interesting to you, too), I have seen a little over half of the titles so far, including those I had previously watched.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite (and not so favorite) films from the list, but be sure to head over to the original post and check it out in entirety. There might be some gems listed for you to discover, as well. [Read more…]

Oblivion: The Cinematography of Claudio Miranda

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Out of the top ten highest-grossing films of 2014, nine were either sequels or reboots for franchises already long-established – the remaining film was Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. With the current film industry an unarguable golden age for comic book adaptations, it’s become customary for most studios to play it safe and rely on audience familiarity to sell their productions. And it’s unfortunate – original stories like Edge of Tomorrow end up suffering in sales as a result while at the same time gaining critical acclaim (Edge of Tomorrow was even retitled Live Die Repeat around the time of its home video release in an attempt to re-market the film).

Given the criticisms warranted towards Interstellar (Oh man, that dialogue…), it was still refreshing to see a new, original, and all-around good science fiction film become a box-office blockbuster in the middle of Oscar season. For directors not as well-known as Nolan, making a film like that is a particular risk when taking sales into account; back in 2013, Director Joseph Kosinski took that exact risk with the release of his second film. After his debut with Tron: Legacy, Kosinski brought the cinematographer Claudio Miranda on board once more for a story he’d been working on since 2005. The result was a film released eight years later, titled Oblivion.

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What Christmas Morning Would Look Like If M. Night Shyamalan, Tarantino, & Charlie Chaplin Directed It

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The holidays are the time of year we all like to relax and spend time with our friends, family, our favorite filmmakers. Well, sorta anyways…Last year, when Foreground Films released the first version of “The Auteurs of Christmas”, it saw widespread popularity, quickly going viral. The team brought back the theme this year with “The Auteurs of Christmas 2″ in what we are all hoping has officially begun a new holiday tradition.

The short film features the creators interpretation of a scene as though some very well known filmmakers were directing it. It’s impressive how on point they were able to get. The real film buffs out there will marvel in the attention to detail that went into making the shots truly match their individual directors style and quirk. For example, you can look for appropriate screen ratios, foley arts and sound effects, color grading, cinematography, even Godard’s take on color theory was so accurately executed you can’t help but to grin at the perfect silliness of it all.

In part two of The Auteurs we’re treated to the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Chaplin, Terrence Malick, Christopher Nolan, Alfred Hitchcock, Morgan Spurlock, David Lynch, M. Night Shyamalan, Michael Bay, & Jean-Luc Godard. [Read more…]

Direction, Cinematography, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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Out of everything I’ve learned when it comes to photography, what strengthened my work the most was watching movies. Much of how I shoot my pictures today came from observing and comparing different directors and cinematographers. It’s why I started writing about film at all here in the first place – We’re not No Film School, but it’s still never a bad thing to learn from a good looking movie. Most of us are familiar with the concepts covering film direction and cinematography in general – but considering this is at heart a “DIY” blog, I thought it’d be cool to give a visual presentation on just how much both factor into the end result of a film. So let’s compare two relatively recent films that adapt the same source material: Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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DIY: Slider (With Bearings) For Under $100

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Time and again we show our love for sliders as creative tools. They provide some sweet production value at little cost and effort. Now most DIY sliders that we feature here are either friction based (with the build trying to minimise friction) or aligned-skating-wheels based. It is kinda rare to see a build with the smoothness of bearings. And this one by Jones Oliver is under $100.

With more and more people turning into makering, more maker-dedicated shops are popping around and Jones mostly used the parts from one of those stores for his build:

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Photographer Brings $140,000 Camera Into The Ocean To Capture This Jaw Dropping Surf Film

 

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I have to admit, I get nervous enough just bringing my DSLR into the ocean even when I’m using a waterproof housing which cost more than my camera itself. Needless to say, it would be really difficult for me to slip into my wetsuit and take a $140,000 Phantom 4K Flex out for a little swim. In a housing I made myself, to boot.

Then again, I’m not Chris Bryan. Bryan, an Australian based sports cinematographer, has recently spent time in New York training to become a Phantom technician while also working closely with the camera makers to develop “his own unique custom light weight self contained underwater housing for the new state of the art Phantom Flex 4K, complete with Directors underwater video split.”   [Read more…]

How X-Men: Days of Future Past Quicksilver’s incredible Slow-Mo Sequance Was Made

Have you seen X-Men: Days of Future Past yet? Even if you are not into science fiction that much, this is a wonderful movie to start with. It has a strong plot, good character building and (ok…) some mutants going back and forward in time…. (Ok, I’m a fanboy)

One of the most notable scenes in the movie has to do with a mutant called Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters). He is Marvel’s twin of DC Flash meaning he can move really, really fast. So fast actually, that it almost looks like bullet time…

In that specific scene Quicksilver has to get himself, Magneto, Wolverine and prof. Xavier out of a maximum security facility. Of course, this was the perfect chance to have some fun so Quicksilver knocks the hats off the security, makes them slap each other and tastes some of the food that is flying around. Wait a second.. Bullet Time? It may be quite interesting to see how they shot it.

Interestingly, it did not involve an array of cameras but a ton of CGI and a few huge fans instead.

[via wired]

Quadcopter Racing and the Future of Cinema

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It seems like as soon as quadcopters came onto the market, photographers began adapting them for more than just disastrous fun on Christmas afternoon. Since then, hobbyists, photography enthusiasts, and even corporate giants (let’s hear it for Amazon!) alike have been putting them to multiple uses, both business and pleasure.

AIRganoy, a “quadcopter racing fanatic association” based in eastern France, holds regular events for remote control pilots, including races like the one below that would seem more at home on a Lucasfilm set. The contestants race through the forest along a pre-marked course where, as seen in the video, “eating dirt” is a bit more reality than euphemism. Each copter is equipped with a video camera which sends a live feed back to the pilot, allowing them to navigate the treacherous, obstacle-laden course.

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