Taking a Panorama from 1776 Feet

An exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how TIME scaled the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and snapped an historic photographic panorama.


For years after the 9/11 attacks, nearly all the activity at Ground Zero was downward—digging through the piles of debris, excavating a vast pit to restore the ruined transit lines, preparing the foundations for the new buildings that would emerge there. Even the memorial that opened in 2011 was an exercise in the poetics of descent—two vast cubic voids, each with water cascading down all four sides, carrying grief to some underground resting place.


The memorial has turned out to be a lovely thing, but what the site still needed was something that climbed, something that spoke to the idea that emotional burdens might not only be lowered into the ground but also released into the air. Now we have it: One World Trade Center, the glass-and-steel exclamation point, all 1,776 feet of it, is nearing completion close to where the Twin Towers once stood. No doubt the new building’s official dedication will open the way to a necessary debate over its merits as architecture and urbanism, its turbulent design history and the compromises made over the long years it took to get the thing built. But in one important respect, One World Trade Center has already succeeded. It has reclaimed the sky. And this is the view from there. | Read the Full Article

How to Get Better Deliver from Non-Actors for under $200

Ryan E. Walters explains how to use the Eye-Direct – a one-on-one prompting device which can help non-actors feel more comfortable


If you’re like me, you’ve done a lot of interviews with non-actors who need to look straight into the camera, and you know how intimidating that can be for the “talent.” As soon as the camera turns on, they clam up and turn into robots- their great personality quickly disappears. The solution to getting the performance you need, while still having them look straight into camera, is to have them look at someone’s face instead.

By looking at another person’s face that is responding to their answers you get a more natural response, and a more engaged interview. It is much more comforting for someone who has never been on camera to look at another face, instead of having to stare down that intimidating camera lens…

If you’ve done much research on gear that allows this to happen, then you’ve probably stumbled upon the Eye-Direct System. I’ve used this exact system on a number of shoots across the country. However, at $1,400, it is relegated to the classification of speciality gear that most will rent. But what if you could use tools you already have, and spend less than $200 to create something similar? Well, you are in luck, as I’ll show you how I did just that.

First, a bit of clarification. I have worked with the Eye-Direct system a lot. It is sturdy, well built, it does what it advertises, and it does it well. If you are looking for pro level gear that works- just buy the real thing, and skip the rest of this post.

The drawbacks to the Eye-Direct, as I have experienced them, are that it does take some setup time, and it is not the quickest, or easiest, to set up by yourself. The other thing I have found frustrating with it is that it does take up extra room on set. So, if you are like me, and you like to get your key light as close as possible to the talent, or you sometimes find yourself in cramped setups, then working with the Eye-Direct system can mean having to figure out creative solutions to get everything to fit.

If, on the other hand, you need something smaller, lighter, cheaper, and you’re willing to put up with a minor flaw or two, then this $200 solution will work for you.

Ryan E. Walters | Read the Full Article

Oscar Nominee Phedon Papamichael ASC Reveals His Approach to the Black & White Cinematography of Nebraska


This 26 minute documentary with Phedon Papamichael covers some of the techniques and midset used in the Black & White photography of Nebraska.


Alexander Payne first spoke to me about Nebraska when we were in preproduction on Sideways, so I have been aware of it, and it has been a plan of Alexander’s to make this movie for over ten years now. He aways talked to me about having this little simple story that takes place in his home state and he wanted to do it in black & white, so in his mind it always existed as a black & white project. He finally gave me the script after Descendents and I read it and I loved it and I called him and said ‘It’s almost my favourite story of yours’, because it was very clear to me how the movie should feel and I really enjoyed the tone of writing, the characters and the road movie quality of it. Then Alexander and I we got together and we met in Billings, Montana. I flew in and he picked me up with his mums car, an old Toyota Corolla, and we actually drove the full journey from Montana to Wyoming, we stopped at Mount Rushmore and all the way into Nebraska, and that was really again less specific discussing the movie, he just wanted me to get a feel for the land, and experience the vastness of the country and it was really impressive.

CineFii | Read the Full Article

“It’s Better to Be Somebody Negative than Nobody”: Breaking Bad‘s Vince Gilligan on Walter White

The following interview of Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is an excerpt from Chapter 5 of The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap: 21 Navigational Tips for Screenwriters to Create and Sustain a Hit TV Series by Neil Landau.

Vince Gilligan

Neil Landau: The toughest thing for most screenwriters is creating original characters. People come up with ideas for what might be an interesting show, but creating complex characters is extremely difficult to do. What’s your process when you’re starting with the pilot? Walt [Bryan Cranston] is all about the choices that he makes in life. How do you make your creative choices?

Vince Gilligan: It’s interesting because each new project is a bit like a snowflake. It has its own shape. The best way to explain it is to talk specifically about Breaking Bad. When the idea first struck, it intrigued me. I think in hindsight what struck me in one of those rare Eureka moments of inspiration was not a plot or a big idea; it was a character who I found very intriguing — the character I didn’t even have a name for, who became Walter White. The idea of a previously good man, an inherently good man, a guy who is a loving husband and father who works hard for his family, who strives to do the right thing and does not break the law. Who suddenly, for external reasons, decides to very much veer off course off the path of goodness and become a bad guy. That intrigued me. It wasn’t the idea of cooking meth or putting a lab in the back of an RV; it was the interesting trappings that came with it. What intrigued me was the possibility of telling a story where the protagonist, by force of will, decided to become bad and would eventually become the antagonist, that idea of sand shifting beneath the character’s feet via a process that he put in motion. I’d love to say that it always works out that way. You start with a blank pad of paper and a pencil, your chin in your hand, saying, “OK, what interesting character can I write about today?” The trouble is they don’t appear to you that often, unfortunately. But when they do, it’s a wonderful thing.

Filmmaker Magazine | Read the Full Article

An Interview with Gravity FX Supervisor Neil Corbould | DP/30

In a remarkable career that started when he talked his uncle into letting work on the set of Superman: The Movie, Neil Corbould has been part of some of history’s biggest movies. He’s been Oscar-nominated 4 times, winning for Gladiator in 2000. The last time he was part of what he felt was a landmark event, it was on the beach with Saving Private Ryan. Gravity may well bring him his 2nd Oscar. Corbould talked to David Poland about his career, making Gravity, and a life in the fx business.

What is Aperture: Everything You need to Know about Controlling Light Creatively

Film and photography are all about capturing light. One of the key aspects of controlling light is aperture – but there’s more to aperture than just a number on the side of the lens…

Image by Ben Hall

Image by Ben Hall

So what is aperture exactly?

Put simply, the aperture is a hole in the lens that light passes through to reach your camera’s imaging sensor. You use aperture, shutter speed and ISO in combination to create an exposure.

Aperture’s role in this mix is to control how much light reaches the sensor. With the exception of a very few ‘fixed aperture’ mirror lenses, all camera lenses allow you to change the size of this hole so that more or less light can pass through it.

Why would I want to alter how much light reaches the sensor?

Well, let’s look quickly at the other elements of exposure: shutter speed and ISO. The choice of shutter speed dictates how long the camera sensor is exposed to the light that passes through the aperture.

It also has a bearing on how movement is captured in your shots; faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze it, while slower shutter speeds allow you to add ‘motion blur’ for a more artistic result.

If lighting conditions and the camera’s ISO setting – which determines how sensitive the sensor is to light – remain constant, then the only way to ensure the sensor receives enough light to make consistent exposures as the shutter speed increases and decreases is by opening and closing the aperture.

Digital Camera World | Read The Full Article

Blackmagic Cameras and Adapting Lenses To Fit

How do you go about outfitting yoru Blackmagic Cameras?  Brian Hallett covers the essentials on how to adapt a variety of lenses for these powerful cameras.

BMCC Lens options

You have two lens mount options found on the Blackmagic cameras: The Cinema Camera = EF and a Passive MFT, The Pocket Camera = MFT, and The 4K Production Camera = EF mount only. Doesn’t really seem like much when you think about it. A bit of back story here; when the Cinema Camera was first introduced Blackmagic was targeting those who were looking for a step-up from their DSLR. Since Canon had dominated the DSLR world it made sense for Blackmagic to release a camera with the Canon EF mount. For people like me, it meant using my existing canon lenses on my new camera. No longer would someone have to sell their camera and all their lenses to move to a different system. What happens if your a Nikon shooter and you want to shoot with the 4K Blackmagic Production Camera? Thankfully, lens adapters have been a go to method of mounting different manufacturer’s lenses on the camera you want to use, but this isn’t necessarily a full proof plan.

What other lenses are Blackmagic Camera users able to use? It really depends on which camera you’re shooting. I shoot on a BMCC with an EF mount so I’ll start there. My girlfriend, who’s a die-hard Nikon shooter, opened my eyes to Nikon lenses and showed me the difference between a G mount and F mount. Not to start a Nikon VS Canon war here, but I feel like both manufacturers make great lenses. I mean, just like the Chevy VS Ford argument, the Nikon VS Canon battle has been a war waged for years. Photographers championing one specific system over another. Alliances were made, battle lines were drawn, and the war has been on-going… and with these type of debates… no one system is really better than the other.

For me, I am open to using any system that gets the job done well and makes it easy to shoot great footage. Fortunately for me, my girlfriend has just about every Nikon zoom made and she lets me use them… occasionally, which was enough to get me thinking.

ProVideoCoalition | Read the Full Article

Does Fiction Exist? (ft. Harry Potter) | Idea Channel

We all know who Harry Potter is, and can conjure an image of him in our minds. There are specific properties that make a Harry THE Harry (glasses, scar, wand, etc), so it’s safe to say that we’re all sharing a consistent idea. But do these physical properties mean that Harry Potter EXISTS? Harry Potter doesn’t have a physical referent, but the fact that we collectively KNOW Harry Potter (or Hermoine, Ron, or even Batman for that matter), doesn’t that mean there’s SOME SORT of existence?

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