The Week In Cameras

Latest News About the Tools We Use by Michael Murie

  • 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, 2014 Filmmaking
  • 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, 2014 Cinematography
  • 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, 2014 Columns
  • The Year in Gear: Goodbye 2013, Here Comes 2014K

    It is perhaps indicative of how low-key this year was that when I first scribbled out a list of things that were “big” in 2013 I discovered that half of them were on last year’s list! In many respects 2013 proved to be a year of tentative advances and waiting, rather than one of incredible new tools to play with. Which is not to say that some interesting products weren’t announced and delivered. Sony shipped the F5 & F55, as well as the 4K upgrade for the NEX-FS700, and at the other end of the spectrum Blackmagic shipped its $1,000…  Read more

    On Dec 31, 2013
    By on Dec 31, 2013 Cinematography
  • Director Ryan Lightbourn shoots Sleepwalkers with the RED Scarlet and a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

    Ryan Lightbourn grew up in the Bahamas, but went to business school in the U.S. Becoming interested in music, Lightbourn transferred to Full Sail University after graduating. He wanted to become a music producer, but after playing with Final Cut Pro he started making “goofy little short films and music videos with my friends.” Switching to the film program he quickly decided that he could learn more by going out and actually shooting things than by going to class, so he dropped out and bought some gear. He continued shooting music videos, but always wanted to make films, and in…  Read more

    On Dec 3, 2013
    By on Dec 3, 2013 Cinematography
  • New Cameras and Upgrades: Fall, 2013 Edition

    Who says you have to wait until NAB for new cameras? In the past month alone there have been several new cameras, upgrades and other devices announced. Here’s a quick look at some of the most interesting ones:   Canon C100 Autofocus upgrade Early in the month Canon announced a paid upgrade to the C100, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF Upgrade. This upgrade adds a new autofocus technology that first appeared in the EOS 70D DSLR. The dual-pixel AF upgrade will provide faster and smoother autofocus that can be particularly useful for documentary, sports, event and wildlife shooting. Focusing speed…  Read more

    On Nov 30, 2013
    By on Nov 30, 2013 Cinematography
  • The State of 4K

    Technology tipping points – when something goes from the unusual to the commonplace – can happen with unexpected rapidity. Has 4K reached a tipping point, and if so what aspect of 4K? Acquisition, production, distribution, or all three? If you’re shooting a film today, should you be shooting in 4K? The answer to these questions is complicated by cost, complexity and the long-term shelf-life of your project. Today, a convincing argument can be made for shooting in either 4K (future proof) or HD (cost effective and most people won’t see the difference). One thing seems for certain; we will be…  Read more

    On Nov 5, 2013
    By on Nov 5, 2013 Cinematography
  • Shooting with 18 Cameras: The Making of The Short Game

    With a background in comedy shorts, you’d be forgiven if you thought Josh Greenbaum’s first feature, a documentary that follows the 7 and 8-year old competitors in the World Championships of Junior Golf, would be a dark look at another group of driven parents. But that’s not what Greenbaum was interested in doing. Instead, he focuses on the children, these pre-teens who can, at turns, appear tremendously adult, or just like any other 7-year old. The Short Game follows eight competitors through last year’s championships, though production actually started a year before at the previous championships. That was where they…  Read more

    On Oct 25, 2013
    By on Oct 25, 2013 Cinematographers
  • Cinematographer Zach Zamboni on Creativity and Shooting with Just Two Primes

    Zach Zamboni, a cinematographer on Anthony Bourdain’s series Parts Unknown, recently spoke about his philosophy of shooting and being creative at an event in Boston. Particularly intriguing was his description of shooting an episode using just two prime lenses and his interest in shooting with Super 16 lenses on the Sony F55. About cameras, Zamboni said that he doesn’t believe one camera is “right or wrong” for a job. “The choice of camera will inform the lenses I’m going to put on that camera,” he remarked. “Those lenses will inform my behavior with that camera, and that will start to…  Read more

    On Oct 15, 2013
    By on Oct 15, 2013 Cinematographers
  • Digital Bolex Report: An Interview with Creative Director Elle Schneider

    Elle Schneider, Creative Director at Digital Bolex, spoke about the project at this weekend’s Hacking Arts conference held at MIT’s Media Lab. The Digital Bolex project, the creation of a digital camera that is operated and styled like a 16mm camera, was funded through a Kickstarter Project. Held in March of 2012, the campaign raised twice the $100,000 goal and pre-sold 93 cameras. Schneider announced that they expect the camera will be available to order in six weeks, and they will ship the original orders even sooner. Schneider, who had an early beta version of the camera with her, talked…  Read more

    On Sep 30, 2013
    By on Sep 30, 2013 Cinematography
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