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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Four Photographers Armed With A Hasselblad Take On The Streets Of Tokyo For A One Roll Of Film Challenge

 

one-roll-challengeWhat happens when you give a pro photographer a Hassleblad 503cx, a single roll of 120 film, and mission to tell the story of Tokyo in just 12 analog frames? Find out in this 18-minute behind the scenes look at the challenge where Mattias WestfalkBahagYoshiki Suzuki, and Paul del Rosario almost make it look easy. (It’s actually really difficult.)

The project may not sound like much of a challenge, as Westfalk points out in the opening scene, anyone can go out and shoot 12 frames, but to create 12 images worthy of printing is no walk in the park. The ease of digital photography and image storage allows us to fire off as many images as we like until we are happy with what we have, but ask any film photographer about their process, and chances are you’ll hear quite a different approach. Getting 12 usable photos from 12 frames of film takes patience, understanding, and a little talent and skill never hurt anyone, either. [Read more...]

Build A DIY Slide Scanner For $10

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Example of the slide scanner by Barkergk

Here’s a quick DIY project that can help you convert your collection of old slide film collection into digital images by Instructables user, barkergk. The project calls for PVC pipe, a smartphone, and a few other items that can be easily sourced and the project itself shouldn’t take up too much of your time making it a great rainy day activity. Let’s get to it! [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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How The Launch of Apollo 11 Looks Slowed Down at 500 FPS

It’s been forty five years since Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first two men to walk on the moon. The more unbelievable fact for us, however, is that apparently had cameras that could run at five hundred frames per second back then, as well.

For thirty seconds, the launch of Apollo 11 was filmed by a camera on location at 500 FPS. The ending result was a stretched out to about eight minutes, and gave us one of our sharpest looks ever at the launch of a spacecraft. Obviously, the content shown is a breathtaking sight on its own, but I really found myself focusing on the aesthetics of the video itself after a few repeat views. How amazing is it that we’re able to see footage this sharp, fluid, and clear from 1969? Shot originally on 16MM film, the film was spotlessly converted to HD for us to be able to view online. Check it out for yourself, and stick around for the commentary by Spacecraft Films‘ Mark Gray. For a video that lasts just under ten minutes, what you learn for nearly its entire duration is half of the enjoyment.

Seriously though. With just how expensive film should have been at that point, NASA must actually have been receiving sufficient funding back then.

The Spielberg Face

One of the reasons Steven Spielberg is considered a sage in the art of filmmaking is because of how successful he is at keeping the audience emotionally connected to the movie. Even from simply seeing the helicopter approach Isla Nublar in Jurassic Park, we’ve got that rush of excitement; we didn’t see anything at all yet, but we knew it was coming. We knew because John Hammond’s eyes started gleaming with childlike joy as he pointed at the island and said, “There it is.”

Here’s a badly-mathed-out breakdown of a good movie: while one half of the work goes into making the magic a reality through set design, visual effects, and sound editing, another half goes into making the characters of the film believable and enjoyable. Though dinosaurs may only have been in the movie for about fifteen full minutes of its screen time, we enjoyed the movie that much more because of how believable the reactions of the characters were.

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Unique Photography Project Takes ‘Self Portrait’ To All New Levels

In a world that is so obsessed with selfies,  it’s hard to stand out from the crowd, but the unusual technique adopted by American photographer, Brigette Bloom, may just steal the show. Bloom, an advocate for film photography, soaks rolls of film in her own urine before exposing it. Yes, you read that correctly, she pees on unprocessed film.

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Bloom uses a variety of techniques to process her film including steeping it in her own urine.

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Nikon Bans Film in its Annual Photography contest… Again.

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The Nikon Photo Contest has been running annually since 1969. Even with roots that go back, however, the company isn’t afraid to move on and not look back. With the announcement for this year’s contest also came news that Nikon is banning film photography again.

That’s right. Again. I’d tell you that there’s old vintage Nikon cameras out there right now going “Et tu, Brute?” to the news, but apparently the company’s had this rule for a while now in the contest’s past few yearly runs; there’s absolutely no scans of film pictures allowed in entry.

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3 ways Of Using 35mm Film in 120 Bodies

35-120-usage-06with the slow decay of film it is getting harder and harder to find film to use on old (or new) cameras that use 120 film. Even you do find 120 film (hint Amazon, eBay) it is not trivial to develop (not to mention expensive). But what if you have a Diana or a treasured Mamiya that you want to use? You can still use them with 35mm film if you can manage to load the film into the spool in a way that you can wind it after each shot.

The photos you take will not be restricted to the 35mm frame that you are accustomed to, but go all over the sprockets. It’s a pretty cool effect if you ask me.

Here are three ways with ranging budgets, innovation levels and description to use 35mm film on 120 cameras: [Read more...]