The Week In Cameras

Latest News About the Tools We Use by Michael Murie

  • Reviewing the ProAm Taurus Jr. Crane

    With all the attention on brushless gimbals it’s easy to overlook cranes — pieces of equipment that can add cinematic motion to any shot. Cranes can also be large, difficult to move and hard to operate. The ProAm Taurus Jr is a small crane that solves most of those problems; its only limitation is that its range of motion may not meet every need. The Taurus Jr is 50” long and 5 ¾” wide and constructed primarily of two parallel rectangular tubes that are 2” x 1”. It is primarily constructed of powder coated and anodized aluminum. The only item that…  Read more

    On Jul 29, 2014
    By on Jul 29, 2014Cinematography
  • Sympathy, Said the Shark: Shooting in POV

    Writer, director and editor Devin Lawrence says that when he set out to make Sympathy, Said the Shark he’d already gone through two projects which had stalled out due to lack of financing, so he decided he had to come up with something where “money can no longer be the ultimate road block.” The resulting project was shot in 14 days and primarily in one location, but it was by no means a simple project to make as much of it was shot using a POV rig built around the Blackmagic Pocket Camera. Lawrence, who works in LA primarily as…  Read more

    On Jul 21, 2014
  • Low-light samples from the Sony a7S - Courtesy of PhilipBloom.Net Seeing in the Dark with the Sony a7S

    When Sony announced the a7S mirrorless camera at NAB everyone was interested in its 4K capabilities, but it’s the low-light power of this camera that may be the true selling point. With the “S” standing for sensitivity, the a7S is the third a7 camera to be released. The a7 and a7R were announced in October of last year and started shipping in December. Those two models record HD video and stills at much higher resolutions than the a7S; the a7 has a 24.3 megapixel sensor capable of 6,000 x 4,000 pixel stills, while the a7R has a 36.4MP sensor capable…  Read more

    On Jul 7, 2014
    By on Jul 7, 2014Cinematography
  • Vincent Laforet, center, at Directing Motion tour The Language of Motion: At Vincent Laforet’s Directing Motion Tour

    On a wet Saturday in May, about 100 people gathered in a hotel ballroom for the Boston stop of Vincent Laforet’s Directing Motion tour. This daylong event, with an optional evening session, promised to teach all levels of filmmakers the cinematic language of motion. Laforet started by saying that he was going to ruin cinema for us, and proceeded to show a clip without audio. “It’s never, ever moving the camera because the camera should move,” he said. The event is structured in two parts: a daytime workshop that runs from 9:00 am to 4 pm, and an evening seminar…  Read more

    On May 23, 2014
    By on May 23, 2014Columns
  • The ARRI AMIRA Here Comes the ARRI AMIRA

    ARRI has met with some success in digital filmmaking with their ALEXA camera. As just one indication of their dominance, the ALEXA was used on three-quarters of this year’s Best Picture nominees. It’s been praised for its image quality, ease of use and ruggedness. But it’s not cheap, and it’s not light. ARRI last year announced the AMIRA, and described it as a documentary camera. It’s smaller and lighter than the ALEXA, but if you were hoping for a significantly cheaper camera, you’ll be disappointed; the base AMIRA is $39,999. For those on a budget, renting the camera remains the…  Read more

    On May 14, 2014
    By on May 14, 2014Cinematography
  • NAB 2014: The Year of Unusual Cameras

    It was clear that this would be the year of 4K, but perhaps more surprising is who plans to ship 4K cameras this year. Sony, who actually bought out two new 4K cameras last year – the F5 and F55 – clearly decided they didn’t need to roll out new cameras this year. Instead, they announced ProRes and DNXHD recording options, and a new ENG-style base for these cameras. They also announced that the F5 will be upgradeable to the F55. Perhaps feeling they needed to show something new, Sony invited their consumer camera unit on stage to show off…  Read more

    On Apr 8, 2014
    By on Apr 8, 2014Cinematography
  • Five Questions for Twenty Feet from Stardom Cinematographer Nicola Marsh

    Nicola Marsh was one of two cinematographers for Twenty Feet from Stardom, this year’s Oscar winner for Best Documentary. She’s worked with director Morgan Neville on a number of projects, including Troubadours and The Night James Brown Saved Boston as well as other directors including Cameron Crowe on Pearl Jam Twenty and The Union. Marsh, who has just finished shooting a reality show in the Caribbean, spoke to us about shooting Twenty Feet from Stardom, the different cameras used on the project and the hidden strengths of older lenses.   Filmmaker: For Twenty Feet from Stardom you were shooting with…  Read more

    On Mar 26, 2014
  • Adding Motion to “Stills” with Cinemagraph Pro

    Cinemagraph Pro from Flixel adds motion to a still image. In essence you shoot a sequence of video, and then indicate the area of the image that you want to see in motion – perhaps just the hands of the subject of a portrait, or the water in the lake of a scenic picture. While the masked area remains in motion, the rest of the scene is totally still; the lack of motion draws the eye to the part of the image that is moving. It’s an interesting effect, and could be useful in video or film for dream sequences,…  Read more

    On Mar 13, 2014
    By on Mar 13, 2014Filmmaking
  • Panasonic Commits to 4K, Announces the VariCam 35

    For the past couple of years, Panasonic has taken a backseat to Sony and Canon in the cinematography and indie movie world. While Sony and Canon raced to produce new large-sensor cameras in different configurations and prices, Panasonic was content to stick with the low-end AG-AF100, which was released at the end of 2010 and has seen few updates. They have also had some success in ultra low-budget production with the GH2 and GH3, which produce good quality video but are primarily stills cameras. This year Panasonic seems intent on making its move. Or, as a product manager said at…  Read more

    On Mar 3, 2014
    By on Mar 3, 2014Cinematography
  • The Future of Compression: Google Attempts to Replace H.26X… Again

    For a second time, Google is attempting to pitch a compression format as the replacement for an H.26X compressor. They tried to do it three years ago for HD video when they pitched VP8 as a replacement for H.264 and had little success. Now they’re back with a new angle: VP9 is the format for 4K, and they are putting it up against H.265, the new 4K compressor that is also referred to as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding). Should you care? Compression codecs can be fascinating, frustrating and their naming confusing. For example, everyone’s heard of H.264 and AVCHD,…  Read more

    On Feb 26, 2014
    By on Feb 26, 2014Columns
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