A Chat With Roger Corman: 60 Years of Filmmaking and Still Going Strong

Xaque Gruber talks with 88-year old Roger Corman about his take on new media and what it’s like making low budget films in the digital world.

Roger Corman

XG: Let’s talk about what being a new media filmmaker means to you.

RC: I think of the term ‘new media’ in two ways. First with production, the move from film to digital. There are so many production advantages with shooting digitally with the savings, especially when making lower budget films. Then there are the advantages of the lighter weight cameras, which are easier to use on location, and all the computer effects give you a whole new toolbox. The other aspect of new media is in distribution, which has undergone even more sweeping changes than the production side. You have newer outlets like Netflix and Hulu, and that’s exciting, but on the flip side, we used to go out with a $100,000 film and open it in big theatres all around the country and compete with major studio films with almost comparable figures in a short period of time. All of that has disappeared.

XG: And yet you’ve survived, and thrived. So for the young filmmakers out there who say I want to be the next Roger Corman – what advice do you have?

RC: My advice for the beginners is if you can go to a film school, do it because it can really give you a great foundation and propel you. And if you can’t go to a film school, well then do it yourself. There is so much no budget filmmaking going on around the country, and most frankly is not very good (laughs) but a couple of them are. The other bit of advice is to get a job or work for free on a movie set, and observe and learn something from seeing how it all goes. You never know, but you might get promoted.

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via Go Into the Story

Histograms for Dummies & Experts

Get the basics as well as in depth on the Histogram – one of the most often used tools for judging exposure and color cast in digital filmmaking.


What is a Histogram?

The histogram is a representation of the number of pixels at a specific brightness indicated by the height of the line scaling from dark pixels on the left (shadows) through all the brightness levels (mid-tones) to bright pixels on the right (highlights).

The histogram is usually computed after color interpolation and the gamma/ISO curve is applied to the image so it represents what appears on the monitor.

When you change your ISO – the histogram will change it’s representation – even though what the camera records will be the same.

On Scarlet/Epic-MX/Epic Dragon – when in RAW view – the cameras monitor paths and histogram are now* locked to ISO 800. RED could (and hopefully will) optimize how the histogram is mapped when in RAW view as the RAW view’s purpose is to try to give the most unprocessed representation of what the camera is capturing – which is a bit of a challenge since the camera is capturing and recording linear light.

* In DSMC firmware builds v5.1.47 and later – RED has re-calibrated the RAW view mode to RLF (REDlogfilm), RC2 (REDcolor2), 5600K, 800 ISO, 0 TINT.

Can you describe it more technically?

To generate a histogram the camera looks at each pixel in the image and increases a counter in a list from 0 (Black) to 4096 (bright) corresponding to the brightness.

The values in this list are then normalized by the maximum value to the display height and width and drawn from dark (left) to bright (right) using the value in the list to draw the height of the line.

Off Hollywood Reporter | Read the Full Article

Loving The Alien. The Shooting Of ‘Under The Skin’

Take a Hollywood starlet and get her to drive around the streets of Glasgow in a black wig and a van with eight hidden cameras inside talking to real people and asking them to climb aboard. No not a new reality programme but a new movie from Jonathan Glazer.

The film’s camera style is all ‘about witnessing’,” says  Under The Skin Director Jonathan Glazer. “The camera’s not excited. You know. This allows the alien to witness things we do and watching her reaction to those things.” If you were the DoP of this movie you might think this type of comment could limit your own vision of the movie. 

As it turned out the ‘witnessing’ took the form of eight specially designed cameras hidden in a van to covertly capture conversation between the star Scarlett Johanssen and unsuspecting man she picks up. The One-cam (see the box out for more details) shot a third of the movie and had to knit cinematically with the current favourite choice of movie makers, the Arri Alexa.

Dirty Looks, the London colour grading studio specialising in Baselight grading for independent movies, carried out the finish of Under the Skin. Visual effects were completed by Dirty Looks’ creative partner, One of Us; sharing the same building made collaboration even easier to realise the director’s vision.

Definition Magazine | Read the Full Article


Adapting a Book Into a Screenplay

Daniel Manus looks at what it takes to adapt a novel into a sellable screenplay.

Adapting a Screenplay

Writing novels and writing screenplays require two very different skill sets, both learnable with time and practice. And with the flourishing amount of books turned into films these days, it’s something you should probably look into.

Before you try adapting a book into a screenplay – your own book or someone else’s – you need to know the difference between the markets.

First, online estimates say there are over 250,000 books published every year worldwide. In contrast, there are only about 270 movies released every year domestically, and much fewer scripts actually sold (and FAR fewer sold for real money). So, just using those numbers, it is about ONE THOUSAND times more difficult to sell a screenplay than to get a book published – and quite frankly, it’s probably even harder than that.

The book market is widespread and has many niches. There are hundreds of publishers and each have a different type of project they’d like to publish. There are only 7 studios and they all want exactly the same thing. Most books just aren’t adaptable – or rather – they SHOULDN’T be adapted. Most people’s true stories AREN’T cinematically interesting or commercial. You have to be realistic about your material and realize if that biography about the man who created the soybean you wrote – is really commercial or visual or cinematic enough to be worthy of an adaptation (it isn’t). Novels can be 200-500 pages while screenplays are usually 85-130 pages. Therefore, novels can give a much more detailed, intricate description and explanation about stories, settings and characters and really explore – in words – what the characters are thinking, imagining, pondering, remembering, feeling, etc.

ScriptMag | Read the Full Article

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