Located in the nearly unpronounceable Polish town of Bydgoszcz, Camerimage – the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography – is the must-attend event of the year for DPs, aspiring DPs, or any cinephile prizing visual craft over auteur theory. At this 22-year-old fest, folks like Caleb Deschanel (who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, a retrospective, and a massive hardcover book highlighting his career) and Vilmos Zsigmond are the stars, complete with their names in lights on the marquee of the massive Opera Nova, the festival’s headquarters and main venue on the scenic Brda River. Far from passive honorees, […]
As a two dimensional medium, film employs a handful of techniques to convey a greater depth of field than what exists in a given frame. In this handy video, cinematographer Matthew Rosen breaks down his five favorite ways to highlight depth, through lighting, focus, perspective, parallax, and occlusion. The dolly effect, which Rosen argues is perhaps most effective in relating depth of field to an audience, is in fact a combination of parallax and occlusion.
Drones. Porn. Directors Brandon LaGanke and John Carlucci of Ghost Cow Films have taken what might have been a cynical, viral video SEO-mashup and delivered something deeply weird and oddly hypnotic. While Drone Boning features couples having sex (so, yes, it’s adults-only and NSFW), the eerie glide of the drone and the camera’s distance from these writhing lovers make them more like elements in a video art piece than reflections of desire. Filmmaker previously featured the work of Ghost Cow when we curated LaGanke’s short film, Play House, for the Northside Film Festival. When he sent me this latest out-there […]
“Stop motion interpolation!” is the call on a Change.org petition urging TV manufacturers to disable the default “smooth motion” setting on new televisions. As the petition explains, “Motion Interpolation was an effect that was created to reduce motion blur on HDTVs but a very unfortunate side effect of using this function is that is takes something shot at 24 fps or shot on film and makes it look like it was shot on video at 60i. In short, it takes the cinematic look out of any image and makes it look like soap opera shot on a cheap video camera.” […]
Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut has been touring the country with The Illumination Experience. This day-long workshop primarily covers lighting: how to get the best results, basic and advanced setups, and even how to do lighting on a budget. But the class also covers a lot of other material for the working cinematographer, everything from the advantages of different cameras and lenses to the correct way to hand off a C-Stand. The class begins with a demonstration of Hurlbut’s “Pirate Death Ship,” three lights attached to a dolly on a 360 degree rail system. With an actress sitting in the middle, the […]
Canon has announced a refresh of the Canon C100, and on the face of it this update fixes many of the issues found in the original model. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF function that was a paid upgrade for the original C100 is included, though it’s still limited to the center of the image area. Also new is Face-Detection AF, which will focus on off-center faces. The EVF, which was widely panned in the first model is now larger, with a redesigned eyepiece, and it now tilts. The rear screen is now a 3.5” 1.23 megapixel OLED, with a new […]
Panasonic is now shipping their new VariCam models, the 35 and HS. Panasonic first displayed mockups of a camera at NAB in 2012, but they didn’t announce these models until NAB 2014, and it’s taken another seven months to finally ship the product. The VariCam is really two sensor head units and a single recording unit that can be attached to either sensor unit. The VariCam 35 has a 35mm 4K sensor with a PL mount, while the Varicam HS is a 2/3” HD sensor with a B4 mount and the ability to capture at 240fps. The HS model is primarily intended for […]
While the gender politics behind David Fincher’s much-anticipated Gone Girl adaptation may be muddled, the “dark lord of cinema”‘s direction is as crystalline and precise as ever. Tony Zhou, in his latest Every Frame A Painting, examines how Fincher manages to make even the most expository exchanges cinematic by using framing to relate character dynamics. He also takes a close look at Fincher’s faithfulness to the tripod, sparing use of close-ups, and almost inhuman camera movements. It’s a must watch for anyone who values the abilities of visual language.
In the second part of this interview with cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, we cover his upcoming “Illumination Experience Educational Tour“; why he’s undertaken this project, and the format and objective of the classes. Hurlbut also reveals what he calls “the keys to the city”: how he conducts lighting tests with actors before production starts. Filmmaker: How did the “The Illumination Experience” come about? Hurlbut: Five years ago I started on this mission of sharing. I felt like mentoring was dead in this business. I wanted to educate and inspire, and use the passion for what I love to do to energize and […]
I first saw cinematographer Shane Hurlbut speaking at a trade show held in New York City in 2010 hosted by Canon. Hurlbut had just finished shooting Act of Valor, shot predominately using the Canon 5D Mark II, and he burst on stage with enough energy to power the building. At the time I wrote that he was “loud, in your face, cracking jokes while dashing about the stage,” but it was also clear he had a passion both for the gear and for sharing information. Since then Hurlbut has lensed the pictures Deadfall, Need for Speed, and the currently in […]