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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Swoon Over The Masterful Photography And Video Editing In The Short Film “Watchtower Of Turkey”

watchtower1Equipped with a Panasonic GH3 and a GoPro 3, director and photographer, Leonardo Dalessandri spent 20 days exploring Turkey, travelling over 3500 km and documenting his experience along the way. The result is this incredible 3 1/2 minute long perspective of Turkey that handily trumps the stock footage travel videos that are oh-so-common these days.

Aspiring filmmakers should be taking a few notes as Dalessandri demonstrates his editing skills and post production prowess. Not to mention the wickedly brilliant sound design that went in to the short film with a little help via contributions from musician Ludovico Einaudi, and voice over actress, Meryem Aboulouafa. Watchtower Of Turkey is definately one you don’t want to miss! [Read more...]

Homestar Runner Returns With Ridiculous Rap Video Parody Paying Homage To Fisheye Lenses

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Fans of the cult classic internet cartoon, Homestar Runner were delighted to discover the creators have posted a new episode after having been on a long hiatus. The cartoon, known for its pure randomness and quirky flash animation, held true to its roots, this time with a hilarious rap video parody that pokes fun at over used fisheye shots.

The video is part “tutorial” with verses like “Put the camera on the ground and aim it up // make my kicks look huge and my crew look tough” and partially “behind the scenes” footage that will have you nodding and rapping along with the Strongbad posse…”Once you use the fisheye you just can’t stop // it used to be expensive, but then the price dropped.” [Read more...]

Unforgiven: The Cinematography of Jack N. Greene

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Last year, actor Ken Watanbe starred in the Japanese remake of a film called Unforgiven. Though it may have had a limited release, its reception wasn’t diminished in the slightest. Acclaimed by critics worldwide, Yurusarezaru mono continued the cinematic relationship between samurai epics and spaghetti westerns at full ignition; the tradition’s beginnings are rooted in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, which was a scene-by-scene remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo.

Out of everything the film achieved, Yurusarezaru mono reminded us that Unforgiven still remains an ageless masterpiece. After its release, the film became known as a eulogy to classic spaghetti western cinema; in other words, it signified the end of a generation. If that statement holds any truth to it all, then it’s fitting that Unforgiven was helmed by Clint Eastwood, who starred in the Sergio Leone trilogy that pioneered the genre in the first place.

The reason I bring up the fact that it eulogized a generation for this post is because of the fact that Unforgiven was entirely rooted in it; every element that made it what it was borrowed from the old classics, and that included direction, music, writing, and cinematography.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: The Cinematography of Bruno Delbonnel

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of those films that I have a bi-polar appreciation for. Because of the decisions made by the studio to build momentum up to the last two films of the franchise, the sixth installment ended abruptly and anticlimactically. Along with that is a number of other criticisms I have with it, almost all of them relating to differences between it and its book counterpart, and I’m pretty sure they make the Half-Blood Prince my least favorite film in the Harry Potter series. But where this film polarizes me is in its cinematography, which is arguably the best ever done by the series altogether.

Out of all the films in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the only one that was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography; that fact isn’t a surprise at all, either. The cinematographer behind this film was Bruno Delbonnel, who’s also known for his work on Amelie, as well as the recent Coen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis. He may arguably be the most well-recognized cinematographer the Harry Potter series ever had.

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An Introduction to the Basics of Cinematography

There’s resources available online that can teach you almost anything you want to know. It’s funny how at this point in time, we can learn almost everything college has to offer; unfortunately, the only thing we can’t get is an actual degree. But either way, for those of us who are always hungry to acquire a new skill, there’s always a way to do so. For those of you that are filmmakers and videographers, here’s a video that introduces you to the basics of cinematography within the span of about forty minutes.

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Godzilla: The Cinematography of Seamus McGarvey

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“I think people just see cinematography as being about photography and innovative shots and beautiful lighting. We all want our movies to look great visually, to be beguiling and enticing, but I think that what really defines a great cinematographer is one who loves story.” – Seamus McGarvey, IFTN

Seamus McGarvey was contacted by an executive producer he had recently worked with on The Avengers; she told him about a project she had been involved with, being directed by a guy named Gareth Edwards. Seamus took the time to watch the only other film Gareth had done at that point: an small-budget indie film called Monsters. He was not just impressed by how well the director executed the making of the film while also being in charge of the visual effects and cinematography; he was impressed by the storytelling of the film, as well. For Seamus, it was refreshing to see a monster movie that approached monsters in such a suspenseful manner, like the classics it was so heavily inspired by. The cinematographer signed up and got on board to work with Gareth Edwards on his second project: Godzilla.

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We Built Our Own World: Wally Pfister and the Cinematography of Inception

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In 2010, Christopher Nolan released a film he’d been working on for over half a decade, and the premise of it was something not too long ago thought un-filmable. Titled Inception, the story was held off as a complete secret, and when teaser trailers did release, nobody really understood what they just saw. Wally Pfister, the cinematographer behind the movie, arranged an immediate meeting with Chris after reading the script he was sent, to try and figure out “what the f*ck was going on.”

Wally Pfister has been a collaborator with Christopher Nolan for a long time now, working as a cinematographer for every film of his since 2000′s Memento. Both him and Chris share two significant things in common: their love for naturalism, and their love for shooting in film. And if there’s anyone keeping the medium of film alive in the digitally dominated industry of Hollywood today, it’s these two guys. Their last venture together with The Dark Knight Rises grossed over $1 Billion, and that was accomplished without the film ever being released in 3D; when I say they love naturalism, I mean they love naturalism.

By now, most of us are familiar with the film; it became one of the biggest original stories to top box offices worldwide within the past few years, and it was something new. And with how practical both Chris and Wally are with the way they want things shot, Inception was cinematography at its finest.

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Realism: The Role Photography Plays in CGI on the Big Screen

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A reader brought up an interesting question last Saturday on my weekly cinematography post, this one over Eduardo Serra and his work in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; he asked how much credit a cinematographer can really claim for a shot done in CGI. Another reader answered him correctly in saying that the shots done in CGI are still directed in planning by the cinematographer himself. Basically, the work the animators do depends on the input of the director of photography.

That exchange made me want to write this post today; I’ve been obsessed with science-fiction and fantasy films since I was a kid, and CGI is something that’s impacted the films I grew up with as much as it has for many of us since twenty years ago. But there’s the films that do it well, and then there’s the films that we look back at and cringe in retrospect; remember those atrocious-looking monkeys in Jumanji?

So what sets apart the good CGI from the bad? How do they get it done right? If you’re going to make something look like it could have been right in front of the camera during filming, like it was real, then it would have to follow the same basic rules of photography that everything else in real life would. And what’s possibly the most important part of good photography in the first place? Good lighting.

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