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Spending a week with Vincent Laforet’s Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Jon Carr, a colleague of Vincent Laforet, borrowed his review copy of the Black Magic Cinema Camera to grab some shots around and about LA. He details the post-production workflow in this guest post for Vincent Laforet.

A Week With The BMC (1080P) from Jon Carr on Vimeo.

I have worked with Vincent Laforet for the past year and a half. Over that time I have been involved in many projects including co-writing and co-producing Möbius as well as producing and editing MotoArt.

I wouldn’t consider myself a DP. I work in the world of postproduction as an editor, visual effects artist, and producer. I shot this video to determine a viable postproduction workflow to handle the raw CinemaDNG files produced by the Blackmagic camera and thought it would be a good idea to share what I discovered for those interested in learning more about the camera.

Blackmagic was kind enough to send Vincent a camera, and after his initial review he let me take it out for a spin.

I think Vincent was very accurate and thorough in his review. I believe the BMC is going to dramatically impact the camera industry. We now have an affordable option that allows the masses to shoot RAW video and competing camera manufacturers will be forced to respond.

Much has been made of the small sensor, internal battery, and unique design but my focus will be on post. The one thing I will say is kudos to Blackmagic for providing a solution to those looking to shoot wide angle with their IBC announcement of the BMC MFT (Micro Four Thirds). I love the innovation considering their initial camera is in the infancy stage of the launch.

Vincent Laforet | Read the Full Article

Wuthering Heights Trailer – the return of Academy Ratio?

The new film adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights opens in the U.S.A. in October of 2012 – most notably the use of Academy 4×3 ratio.

Landon Palmer covers some of the history of Academy ratio and how it’s seeing a resurgence in modern cinema including the use for Oscare winning film, “The Artist”

Though never seen in studio filmmaking today, the Academy Ratio is an important piece of Hollywood history. Variations on aspect ratios were experimented with through the silent era and into the early sound era, especially in non-Hollywood filmmaking. Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927) even experimented with what we would deem today “wide screen.” However, while their exact measurements varied, most early films employed some form of square-shaped aspect ratio.

Officially standardized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1932 as the ratio used for Hollywood films, this square provided the exclusive framing through which Hollywood movies were seen by audiences until the 1950s when, in an effort to compete against television (whose images were captured and broadcast in a similar ratio), studio technology experimented with new means of making bigger screens to emphasize the unique spectacle available in the theatrical filmgoing experience. These new, wider aspect ratios then became standardized as the primary frame through which mainstream films are captured and seen, and Hollywood hasn’t looked back since. However, Academy Ratio’s influence on the shape of television screens and computer monit ors was maintained until fairly recently, when wider LCD computer screens and HD televisions became the standard framework for other modes of viewing since the early 2000s.

However, with a few newer films employing the Academy Ratio, the square frame is making a quiet but welcome comeback, and its newfound rarity makes a convincing case that the Academy Ratio offers particular ways of experiencing images that can’t be replicated by other aspect ratios.

Film School Rejects | Read the Full Article

How to Light Your Video on a Budget: Weapons of Mass Production

Learn how to light your movie scene using a limited budget in this episode of “Weapons of Mass Production.” Kevin and John show how to use incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, as well as using work lights from hardware stores to light your scenes by taking a scene and re-shooting it with new lighting.

Submitted by Simon Hosick

The Hellish Production of Six Great Movies

Very rarely does a film go exactly as predicted. Here are six behind the scenes stories from great films where the plan didn’t exactly come together.

6. Eyes Wide Shut

The torment that comes from Stanley Kubrick’s final film was not from the conditions of the set, nor was it even from any complications that arose during shooting. It certainly wasn’t Nicole Kidman’s nude scenes. What made working on this film a living hell was much more elegant than any disaster or ego clash – it was the pure tedium. 15 months of it.

Kubrick is known for being a rather meticulous director, and for this film he went above and beyond, setting an actual Guinness World Record for “longest constant movie shoot” at 400 straight days. That means that for those 400 days production never took a break. The reason for such a long shoot is of course Kubrick’s extreme attention to detail and perfectionism. At one point he shot a take of Tom Cruise walking though a door 90 times before he thought it was right. Ten whole days were spent deciding whether or not a character should make a certain hand signal. A 13-minute scene with Sydney Pollack took three full weeks of filming to get.

Of course it’s not like they didn’t know what they were getting into – as Vincent D’Onofrio, who had previously worked with Kubrick, told the actors “Rent a house or an apartment, because you’re going to be in England for a while.” And later in an interview Cruise himself expressed both his excitement and awareness of the possible length of the shoot saying “Nicole and I talk about it so much at night. When we’re 70 years old, sitting on the front porch, we’ll be able to look back and say, ‘Wow! We made this movie with Stanley Kubrick!’ We know it may take a long time to finish, but we don’t care.” When asked how long was a long time, he predicted six months. Oh so close!

Not long after the film was finally completed Kidman and Cruse famously separated, no doubt because they were sick of looking at each other.

Film School Rejects | Read the Full Article

Dhondup Wangchen, Prisoner of Conscience, China

Dhondup Wangchen is a Tibetan filmmaker currently imprisoned by the Chinese government on charges related to his documentary “Leaving Fear Behind”

In 2006, Dhondup Wangchen and friend Jigme Gyatso, a senior Tibetan monk, conceived of a documentary interviewing ordinary Tibetan people on their views of the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government in the year leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The documentary was to be called Leaving Fear Behind. The pair coordinated their efforts with a Dhondup Wangchen’s cousin Gyaljong Tsetrin, who remained in Switzerland. In preparation for likely reprisals by the Chinese government, Dhondup Wangchen moved his wife, Llamo Tso, and their four children to Dharamsala, India.

The 25-minute documentary resulting from Dhondup Wangchen and Jigme Gyatso’s footage was described by The New York Times as “an unadorned indictment of the Chinese government”. The documentary premiered on the opening day of the Olympics and was clandestinely screened for foreign reporters in Beijing.

Following Dhondup Wangchen’s March 2008 arrest, he was held for several days in unofficial detention at Gonshang Hotel. While there, Chinese security forces allegedly beat him and deprived him of food, water, and sleep. He was later moved to Xining City No. 1 Detention Centre, where he was held incommunicado until April 2009, when he was allowed to meet with his lawyer, Li Dunyong. Three months later, however, Li Dunyong dropped his case, reporting that he had been ordered to do so by judicial authorities. Another lawyer was reportedly threatened with the closing of his law firm if he chose to defend Dhondup Wangchen.

On 28 December 2009, Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six year’s imprisonment for “subversion”, following a secret trial in Xining. On 7 January 2010, he was reportedly denied the right to appeal his sentence when he was not allowed access to his lawyer.

His family stated that he has contracted Hepatitis B while imprisoned, and his health is said to be failing. In April 2010, he was transferred to Xichuan Labour Camp in Qinghai Province. Work at the camp reportedly includes the manufacture of bricks, concrete, and aluminum-alloy windows. [Source: Wikipedia]

Jafar Panahi: Prisoner of Conscience, Iran

Jafar Panahi (born July 11, 1960 Meyaneh, East Azarbaijan) is an Iranian film director, screenwriter and film editor most commonly associated with the Iranian New Wave film movement. After several years of making short films and working as an assistant director for fellow Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Panahi first achieved international recognition with his feature film debut The White Balloon in 1995. The film won the Caméra d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, which was the first major award won by an Iranian film at Cannes. Panahi was quickly recognized as one of the most influential filmmakers in Iran.

After several years of conflict with the Iranian government over the content of his films (including several short-term arrests), Panahi was arrested in March 2010 along with his wife, daughter and 15 friends and was later charged with committing propaganda against the Iranian government. Despite support from filmmakers, film organizations and human rights organizations from around the world, in December 2010 Panahi was sentenced to a six-year jail sentence and a 20-year ban on directing any movies, writing screenplays, giving any form of interview with Iranian or foreign media and from leaving the country. This led to Panahi’s last film to date: This Is Not a Film, a documentary feature in the form of a video diary that was made despite of the legal ramifications of Panahi’s arrest. It was smuggled out of Iran in a Flash-Drive hidden inside a cake and was screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. [Source: Wikipedia]

Trailer for “This is Not a Film”

Iryna Khalip, Prisoner of Conscience, Belarus

Iryna Khalip (born November 12, 1967) is a Belarusian journalist, reporter and editor in the Minsk bureau of Novaya Gazeta, known for her criticism of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. For her journalistic activities she has been regularly harassed, detained, and beaten by the Belarusian KGB and authorities.

Iryna Khalip

In March 2010, Khalip’s husband Andrei Sannikov declared his intention to take part in the Belarus presidential election of 2010 as a candidate. Along with Uladzimir Niaklajeu and Jaraslau Ramancuk,, he was considered one of the main opposition candidates. With Khalip’s support, he officially registered on November 18, 2010. After the presidential elections took place on December 19, 2010, incumbent Aleksandr Lukashenko was proclaimed the winner with roughly 80% of the popular vote.

On the night of December 19, 2010, thousands of protesters peacefully filled a large square in central Minsk, deeming the election results fraudulent. Many oppositional political candidates were present. The police broke up the rally, beating and injuring people and arresting more than 600. Khalip and her husband Andrei Sannikov were among those beaten by police during the rally, and according to eye-witnesses, were singled out from the crowd. Later, on the way to the hospital to treat Sannikov’s broken legs, their car was intercepted while Khalip was giving a telephone interview to the Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow). Khalip screamed on air that they were being forcibly removed from their car, arrested, and beaten.

Both Khalip and Sannikov were detained in a KGB facility in Minsk. Hours after the arrest, Khalip borrowed a mobile phone from another detainee and called her mother, asking her to take care of her young son. According to Sannikov’s lawyer Pavel Sapelko, he was denied proper medical treatment for his injuries. Sapelko also reported that the couple was officially charged with the crimes of “organizing an unsanctioned gathering and participating in mass disorder” on December 29, after 10 days detention with no charges.

After the protests, Khalip was released from the detention center on January 30, and placed under stringent house arrest.[15] Her husband remained incarcerated. Though reunited with her son, she was expressly forbidden from communicating with the outside world or media in any way,[15] and was not allowed to use a phone or a computer, or to go near windows.[18] She was not allowed to receive any correspondence, though she was allowed to talk with family members.[17] Two KGB guards were permanently stationed in her apartment to ensure compliance;[17] if attempted communication, she would be sent back to prison. [Source: Wikipedia]

On May 16, 2011, Ms. Khalip received a two year suspended sentence. She is no longer under house arrest, but she remains under surveillance and is prohibited from leaving Minsk. [Source: Freedom Now]

Pussy Riot: Prisoners of Conscience, Russia

Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock collective based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it consists of approximately 12 members, who wear brightly colored balaclavas and use only nicknames during interviews. They stage unannounced provocative performances about Russian political life in unusual and unauthorized locations, such as the Yelokhovo Cathedral, Lobnoye Mesto in Red Square, on top of a trolleybus, or on a scaffold in the Moscow Metro. These performances are edited into videos and posted on the internet.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Maria Alyokhina

On February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged an illegal performance on the soleas of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Their actions were stopped by church security officials. By evening, they had turned it into a music video called “Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”

On March 3, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 15.

All three were convicted and sentenced to two years in a penal colony on August 17, 2012. The judge stated that they had “crudely undermined the social order” with their protest, showing a “complete lack of respect” for believers. Defense lawyers said they would appeal the verdict, although they saw little prospect of it being overturned. “Under no circumstances will the girls ask for a pardon [from Putin],” said Mark Feygin. “They will not beg and humiliate themselves before such a bastard.” [Source: Wikipedia]

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