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.
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:
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…]
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.
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.
Equipped 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…]
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…]
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.
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.
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.