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Scarlett Johansson by Benjamin Alexander Huseby | Audrey Hepburn by William Klein | Penelope Cruz by Nico Bustos | Krysten Ritter by Tony Duran | Sean Connery by Larry Shaw | Stanley Kubrick on the set of A Clockwork Orange | Conan O'Brian by Marco Grob | Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman on the set of Notorious. | Cameron Diaz by Michael Thompson | Ewan McGreggor by Andreas Laszlo Konrath | Kate Winslet by Jason Bell | Marilyn Monroe by Earl Moran | Cate Blanchett by Ryan McGinley | Keanu Reeves by Deborah Feingold | Christian Bale by Mikael Jansson | Joseph Gordon-Levitt by Sam Jones | Brad Pitt by Mark Seliger | Marion Cotillard by Jean-Baptiste Mondino | Tommy Lee Jones by Alex John Beck | Johnny Depp by Sante D'Orazio | Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern | Batman by Herb Ritts | Monica Bellucci by Walter Chin | Scarlett Johansson by Txema Yeste | Al Pacino by Antoine Le Grand | Monica Bellucci by Ellen von Unwerth | Laetitia Casta by Dominique Issermann | Rose McGowan by Mark Squires | Ethan Hawke by Justin Bishop | George Harrison & Paul McCartney by Robert Whitaker | Marion Cotillard by Ellen Von Unwerth | Robert de Niro by Mark Seliger | Marilyn Monroe by Earl Theisen | Richard Gere by Lorenzo Agius | Jack Nicholson by David Bailey | Zita Johann and director Karl Freund on the set of The Mummy (1932) | Isabella Rossellini by Roberto Manetta | Javier Bardem by Dan Winters | Clint Eastwood by Nicolas Guerin | Angelina Jolie by Francesco Carrozzini | Sigourney Weaver on the set of Alien | Christopher Nolan by Dan Winters | Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg on the set of Catch Me If You Can | Marlon Brando on the set of "The Wild One" by Phil Stern | Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchett & Kate Winslet by Annie Leibovitz | Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins by Terry O’Neill on the set of Mona Lisa (1986) | Angelina Jolie by Annie Leibovitz | Carey Mulligan by Alexi Lubomirski | Charlotte Gainsbourg by Craig McDean | Lea Seydoux by Alasdair McLellan | Andy Warhol by Dennis Hopper | Clark Gable and a Giraffe | Maggie Gyllenhaal by Vincent Peters | Hedy Lamarr by Laszlo Willinger | Stanley Kubrick on location outside Madrid, Spain, during production of Spartacus (1960) | John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Carrie Fisher on the set of The Blues Brothers. | Natalie Portman by David Slijper | Shia LaBeouf by Craig McDean | Marion Cotillard by Eliott Bliss | Dennis Hopper and David Lynch on the set of Blue Velvet. | Robert Mitchum by Annie Leibovitz | Mickey Hargitay lifting up his wife Jayne Mansfield by Robert Lebeck | Edward Norton by Robbie Fimmano | Peter Sellers, George C. 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Fox and Huey Lewis on the set of Back to the Future. | Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen Jason Segel by Annie Leibovitz | Neil Patrick Harris by Annie Leibovitz | Carey Mulligan by Mada Refujio | Marlon Brando smoking during a break from filming "The Men" | Greta Garbo by Clarence Sinclair Bull | Wicked Witch of the West Magaret Hamilton on Sesame Street | JJ Abrams and R2D2 on the set of Star Wars Episode 7 | Brigitte Bardot by Ghislain Dussart | Stanley Kubrick and Tracy Reed on the set of Dr. Strangelove | Steven Spielberg on the set of "Saving Private Ryan" | Guillermo del Toro with Ivana Baquero - Pan’s Labyrinth | George Clooney by Annie Leibovitz | Marlon Brando by Serge Balkin | Alfred Hitchcock and Composer Bernard Herrmann | Stanley Kubrick at 18 | Kim Novak & Alfred Hitchcock on the set of "Vertigo" | Adriana Lima by Steven Meisel | Willem Dafoe by Patrick Swric | Jake Gyllenhaal by Hedi Slimane | Buster Keaton by Steve Schapiro | Penélope Cruz by Nico | Keira Knightley by Nadav Kander | Rose McGowan by Kate Garner | The Cast and Crew of Jurassic Park | Janet Leigh by Philippe Halsman | Carey Mulligan by Alexi Lubomirski | Keira Knightley by David Bellemere | Penélope Cruz by Nico | Ghost - with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore | Keir Dullea and Stanley Kubrick on 2001 A Space Odyssey | Frank Zappa by Andrew Kent | Brad Pitt by Annie Leibovitz | Steve McQueen by Barry Feinstein | Nicole Kidman by Herb Ritts | Tennessee Williams and Marlon Brando | Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca | Marion Cotillard by Dominique Issermann | Scarlett Johansson by Solve Sundsbo | Reese Witherspoon by Tesh | Grace Kelly by Howell Conant | Jodie Foster by Annie Leibovitz | Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Suddenly, Last Summer by Burt Glinn | Audrey Hepburn on the set of Two for the Road by Terry O’Neill | Keira Knightley by Karen Collins | Behind the scene: RoboCop | Javier Bardem by Andy Gotts | Henry Fonda and Alfred Hitchcock in his cameo from The Wrong Man | Ray Harryhausen working on Medusa for Clash of the Titans | Jennifer Lawrence by Ellen von Unwerth | Wes Anderson and Jude Law on the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel | Mads Mikkelsen by Eddy Brière | Jane Daly getting into costume for The Mysterious Island, 1929. | Zooey Deschanel by Carter Smith | Danny Trejo and Antonio Banderas on the set of Desperado. | Humphrey Bogart by Philippe Halsman | Liza Minnelli and Bob Fosse on Cabaret | Marilyn Monroe by Nickolas Murray | Alfred Hitchcock by Ara Güler | Tom Hiddleston by Francesco Guidicini | Natalie Portman by Tony Duran | Ursula Andress by Herman Leonard | Sir Ben Kingsley by Andy Gotts | Guillermo del Toro in his Home | Louis Armstrong and Cicely Tyson by Sammy Davis Jr. | Scarlett Johansson by Damon Winter | Marilyn Monroe by Cecil Beaton | Eva Green by Julia Fullerton-Batten | Emma Stone as Cabaret's Sally Bowles by Richard Phibbs | Penélope Cruz by Nico | Steven Spielberg on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark | Madonna by Patrick Demarchelier | Dita Von Teese and Scarlett Johansson by James White | Jennifer Lawrence by Patrick Demarchelier | Marilyn Monroe by Milton Greene | Dustin Hoffman by John Baldessari | Angelina Jolie by Mario Testino | Doug Jones getting in costume for Pan's Labyrinth | Miniature FX on the set of King Kong | Jim Carrey by Annie Leibovitz | George C. Scott and Stanley Kubrick play chess on the set of Dr. Strangelove | Bono & The Edge by Anton Corbijn | Ridley Scott & Denzel Washington on the set of American Gangster | Friends cast by Annie Leibovitz | Tim Burton and Danny Devito in makeup for Batman Returns | Jessica Chastain by Craig McDean | Anne Hathaway by Alexi Lubomirski | Willem Dafoe by Dusan Reljin | Frank Sinatra on set of The Man with The Golden Arm, 1955 by Bob Willoughby | Al Hedison and Patricia Owen, The Fly (1958) | Simon Pegg by Andy Gotts | Marilyn Monroe by Milton Greene | Dustin Hoffman on the set of Tootsie | Angelina Jolie by Mario Testino | Jessica Chastain by Craig McDean | Anne Hathaway by Kai Z Feng | Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot, King Kong (1933) | John C. Reilly by Patrick Hoelck | Robin Williams by Bryce Duffy | Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra by Richard Avedon | Kirsten Dunst by Kayt Jones | Billy Wilder and Otto Preminger | Reese Witherspoon by Mikael Jansson | Robert Downey Jr. by Rankin | Ethan Hawke by Rainer Hosch | Jeremy Renner wearing Scarlett Johansson's stunt double's mask | Martin Scorsese by Jake Chessum | Juno Temple by Rankin | Steve Buscemi by Jake Chessum | Jessica Chastain by David Slijper | James Dean by Roy Schatt, 1954 | Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford by Michael Muller | Ron Perlman by Nadav Kander | W.C. Fields by Steve McCurry | Zooey and Emily with father Caleb Deschanel | Eva Green by Solve Sundsbo | Buster Keaton - With Photo Of Lon Chaney, Sr. | Gene Hackman by Brian Hamill | Famke Janssen by John Midgley | Robert Pattinson by Annie Leibovitz | Vivien Leigh photographed in costume for Caesar and Cleopatra | Adrian Brody by Patrick Hoelck | Marilyn Monroe by Philippe Halsman | Keira Knightley by Ellen Von Unwerth | Mila Kunis by Doug Inglish | Eva Green by Wong Kar-Wai | John Malkovich by Sandro Miller | James Cromwell by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders | Vivien Leigh by Cecil Beaton (1947) | James Earl Jones and Mark Hamill after a Broadway performance of Fences, 1987 | Eva Green by Rankin | Warren Beatty by Greg Gorman | Monica Bellucci by Ellen von Unwerth | Tom Hiddleston by Phil Sharp | Luc Besson with Jean Reno on the set of Léon: The Professional | Steven Spielberg and Henry Thomas on the set of E.T | Humphrey Bogart by John Florea | Eva Green by Mike Figgis

Posing and Rendering CGI Characters – A Filmmaker IQ Course!!!

How do we create and pose CGI characters? In this course we walk through the steps we use to create, pose and render our mascot using 3D Studio Max, V-Ray as well as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects.

HP

This course is proudly sponsored by HP and the HP Z workstations – Unlimited Potential to let you innovate without boundaries. Check out their line of computers here.

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New York in 1993 in HD – DTheater DVHS Demo Tape

Check out this rare HD look at New York City from 1993 in this demo for D-VHS – an rare HD variation that worked on S-VHS tape.

Though this demo came out in 2002, the footage itself is from 1993 (as told by the ads in Time Square) recorded by perhaps a Sony SONY HDC-500 attached to a HDV-10 portable recorder which recorded on UniHi 3/4″ tape.

This is an interesting mix of analog and digital tech – not the kind of sharpness that we get from today’s cameras while having that softness and low dynamic range of VHS tape – it sort of looks like HDV only it was recorded more than a decade before HDV hit the market.

DVHS

 

For more information on DVHS…

The Science of Rendering Photorealistic CGI – A Filmmaker IQ Lesson!!!

How do we get a glorified adding machine to generate a photorealistic image? Find out as we explore the processes developed over 40 years of intensive computer science research which now bring amazing Visual Effects to the silver screen which include Rasterization, Ray Casting, Ray Tracing and the Rendering Equation.

This lesson is sponsored by HP and the line of HP Z-Workstations: Delivering the power you need to innovate without boundaries.

CGI

Keeping it Simple Doesn’t Make for Exciting Internet Buzz

There’s a term I learned from Adobe a few years ago - Demo-ware. Those are features and functions that make for a great demo at a convention but really have little practical application. Unfortunately a lot of production gear seems to be moving in that direction.

In my last course video on blocking, I talked about the difference between a center of gravity stabalizer like the Steadicam and a gimbal based stabilizer like the DJI Ronin. My conclusion is that a CoG stabalizer was a low tech simple solution where as the Gimbal stabalizer is a high tech solution. Low tech means fewer failure points. Well that didn’t jive with a lot of folks.

The internet may not be a great place for nuanced discussion but that’s not going to stop me from trying to inject a bit of gray into a black and white world. There are absolutely times when high tech is necessary to achieve the shot and does indeed make things easier… but you need to be honest about what that need really is.

Movi head gear

Here is a motorized pan head by Movi which is controlled wirelessly by the guy wearing the glasses using only his head. The glasses are connected to a backpack and feed him the view from the camera. Now this is undeniably COOL SHIT!!! Show up to any gig with that and the client will talk about it for years to come. But is it necessary? Is it even something you really want? Do you really want to control the camera from you head movements?

Then there’s something like this Ultra-shot Hybrid designed by Lee Snijders now being sold by Glidecam Industries:

Ultrashot Hybrid

Ultrashot Hyrbid2

Now this is basically a Monopod with some handles, a counterweight, some gel padding and an offset camera plate… but it doubles as a monopod, a shoulder mount, a highhat and even a make shift center of gravity stabilizer. And it takes no batteries – there’s no moving parts to fix and it closes down into a small package. Want to take it on a plane – no worries and you won’t need to stow the LiPo batteries

Edelkrone’s StandPLUS is another one of those simple and elegant ideas:

The first thing I thought when I saw this device is how useful it would be for the theater shooter. It doesn’t have the stability of three legs like a full tripod but it would fit comfortably inbetween the seats during a live performance in a theater. This is simple, useful stuff, it may not be sexy but it fills a gap.

Edelkrome

Instead what is getting the big news even before the show even started is high end tech like the Lytro Cinema Camera:

Capturing light fields at upwards of 455 gigabytes per second is simply impractical at ANY level. And for what really? So we can select focus later? So we can avoid rotoscoping? So we can change the angle slightly? Aren’t there easier and better ways to do the exact same thing without burning 455 gigs a second?

Let’s not confuse the idea of giving filmmakers “freedom” and delaying any and all decisions for later… Filmmaking is about making choices – make them! It’s not that I’m not glad Lytro is out there experimenting with this technology but all this needs to be balanced with practicality and an understanding of what really is needed in a workflow. Even though this stabalizer below is massive (banana for scale) it serves a real world purpose and function.

Practical

 

Just because it’s high tech doesn’t make it good. But it doesn’t make it bad either.

As a final sidenote, I might have to tip a Red Hat toward Glidecam for having custom labeled gummi bears at their booth. And they weren’t some crappy knockoff gummis but real juicy and soft gummis with a nice citrusy bite.

Glidecam Gummis

 

Switcher Studio Brings Live Camera Switching to Smart Phones

NAB is nothing without the buzz and excitement from big companies offering their latest wares – but truth be told the real joy is finding smaller companies with unique and innovative ideas. Switcher Studio, is one of those companies with a modest footprint on the show floor but a potentially useful product solution.

Basically Switcher Studio allows you to set up a multi-cam live switching shoot using iOS devices as both your cameras and switcher. Show up, put you phones on tripods and start cutting between them live. There’s even screen sharing capabilities so you can use a laptop to do software demos or even cheat and use it as a media store to playback videos.

Multiple cameras is one of those keys to adding value to a live production and as our mobile devices get better and better cameras – incorporating them into a production just makes life easier especially on the low end of production. Sure it has limitations but for $25/month for the pro version, it could be useful for the live interview shooter on a tight budget.

I haven’t personally tried out Switcher Studio except at their demo booth at NAB show 2016. I can’t vouch for how well this works and I do need to handle more robust camera inputs (I’ve been very impressed with vMix which you should check out if you have a dedicated computer for switching), but in talking to Switcher Studio I feel like this is something worth keeping an eye on.

Switcher STudio

 

And the reason I stopped by… they had candy.

 

 

NAB 2016′s Game Changers – The Booths with the Best Candy

Every April video technophiles make their annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to take part in one the biggest conventions in the video and broadcast world. No I’m not talking about the Movie Theater Owner’s Convention - I’m talking about the NAB show. Previous years have brought us industry trends and breakthroughs like HD, UHD and that one year when everybody was showing off 3D (yeah that went well). With all the filmmaking blogosphere lit up with the latest press releases, we decided to focus on the news from the show that you can actually use… which booths had the best candy.

In the candy arena sadly all the broadcast companies were absent from the playing field. The sprawling displays from Canon, Sony, Red, etc contain NO CANDY whatsoever. Even Blackmagic Design which usually features a new camera that they will ship hopefully a week or two before the following NAB, did not offer free confection to convention goers. The ONLY exception was AVID with a bowl of those chalky peppermint life savers:

Avid Mints

Really… can we even call these abominations “candy”?

In order get real candy you have to turn to the smaller companies who really understand why the public is there in the first place. These more enlightened marketers you can classify into two camps: First the hard candy and chews group:

Digital Anarchy

FujiFilm Peppermins

Sound Ideas Peppermint and Tootsie Rools

AP Mix

Postperspective mix

Screen System Chews

Winstead Jellybeans

DDN starburst

From the striped peppermint with Tootsie rolls, to the assorted Jolly Ranchers and Starburst, the hard candy and chews category is my favorite for conventioneering. Though these booths put up a reasonable fight the ultimate runner up in this category belongs to a small company from Japan called NanGuang. Notice the sparse plating and presentation accentuating the rarity. The candy itself is an import from Japan complete with Japanese characters on the wrapper, my selection was a striped red and white piece with a flavor reminiscent of strawberry shortcake.

Nanguang weird Japanese candy

But the ultimate winner of in the hard candy and chews category belongs to…

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Linux Lollipops

Not only are there Linux Dum Dums and Werther’s Original Caramels – Red Hat’s offering includes Nerds. Nerds are the prized candies of all convention candies – first and foremost because they come in a box. Secondly your Nerds experience can be controlled by how you eat them. For a sweet experience, let them slowly dissolve on your tongue. For a more intense and somewhat sour hit, chew the little buggers to release a flavor explosion.

And now for the category most of you are waiting for – the Chocolate category.

Accuweather Chocolate

Dell Kisses

The Chocolate category saw much fewer entries this year being that chocolate isn’t a very welcome candy in the Las Vegas Heat. Accuweather put up a good entry with a mix of bit sized Hershey bars while Dell’s blue and silver Hershey Kisses are both satisfying and nostalgic. But the Runner Up goes to… Post Magazine

Post Magazine Andes

Andes are so awesome they used to be served with your check at fancy restaurants. That’s how amazing they are. Still despite the fancy name – the winner of the Chocolate category as well as the winner of the sweepstakes title “Booth with the Best Candy” goes to…

KenCast Chocolate

KenCast

These pieces of chocolate are the diameter of a Reese’s peanut butter cup but twice as thick. And instead of peanut butter, they are one solid chunk of delicious milk chocolate. The sheer amount of chocolate and originality puts this entry head and shoulders above the competition from both the chocolate and the hard candy and chews category. Congratulations to KenCast for their spectacular entry!

A Sneak Peak at Adobe’s Upcoming Video Features

With NAB just around the corner – Adobe has released their latest updates to their Creative Cloud software:

To me, the most exciting new feature is how proxies are going to be handled. Now that every camera is throwing out bigger and bigger files into our workflow, responsiveness can suffer. And when you’re waiting, you can’t be creative and try new things. I’ll be very interested in putting these proxy systems into work:

As someone that spends a lot of time in After Effects, I’m also looking forward to the rendering and playback performance improvements as well. Thank goodness they brought Lumetri into the After Effects environment!

Of course there’s also the addition of VR video handling as well as some upgrades to make audio editing easier for the beginner… You can check out the full press release of upcoming upgrades. The new versions of Adobe CC Video products are expected to be released in the coming months.

Adobe-CC

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