Directors Roundtable with Jonze, McQueen, Hancock, Chandor, Holofcener and Greengrass

Epix and the Los Angeles Times bring together Spike Jonze (Her), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks), J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost), Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said) and Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), with the crew of directors talking about their early inspirations, reacting to criticism, luck, failure, casting, and far more.

Click on the image below to watch the roundtable.


The Way She Haunts My Dreams – Creating the Look of “Her”

Learn about the techniques and strategies used to capture the soft but unique look of Spike Jonze’s “Her”


Hoyte van Hoytema, NSC, FSF, finds much more than ghosts inside the machine for the genre-busting love Story, Her. By David Geffner. Photos by Sam Zhu.

Once upon a time the gold standard for cinematic love was a gauzy close-up of Fred Astaire cooing Cole Porter’s ineffable lyrics in Ginger Rogers’ ears: “The way your smile just beams. The way you sing off-key. The way you haunt my dreams. No, no, they can’t take that away from me.” Nearly a century later, as envisioned in Spike Jonze’s daring new romance, Her, shot by Hoyte van Hoytema, NSC, FSF, a pair of sweethearts still whisper longingly about the eternal nature of love, even if only one of them actually has ears with which to hear.

Joaquin Phoenix, in a brilliant piece of casting-against-type, plays Theodore, a lonely writer whose post-break-up days are spent composing intimate letters for others on the Internet. Drifting dreamily through a futuristic Los Angeles that feels close at hand, Theodore’s world is as warm and fuzzy as a puppy in from the rain. Voice commands, spoken into his ever-present ear-mic, yield emails, holographic video games, phone sex, freshly brewed coffee – everything save for that one soul mate to mend his broken heart.

That is until he meets Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), an “intuitive” operating system whose feelings and emotions grow in tandem with Theodore’s. Spunky and whip-smart (she does have a computational advantage), Samantha exalts in every glorious new moment with Theodore – her first sunset, her first picnic, her first… (oh, yes they do) orgasm.

“When I was writing the story,” Jonze shares, “the big concepts about technology, isolation, and how we’re changing as a society took a back seat to the relationship. Like a lot of people, [Theodore] is yearning for a connection and love, but is maybe afraid of it at the same time. Samantha was created to evolve, so once she’s set in motion, there’s no limit to where those feelings might go. And when you fall in love, that’s the risk you take.”

ICG | Read the Full Article

First Impressions of the Digital Bolex – Philip Bloom

Early backer Philip Bloom delivers first impressions of the Digital Bolex – a Super 16mm CCD digital cinema camera with a traditional bolex shape:

Digital Bolex

 I backed the Digital Bolex on Kickstarter back on March 13th last year. It was a very nerve-wracking thing to do. Despite the legendary name of Bolex attached to it, itself not exactly doing much these days, this was a camera being made by people with no apparent experience in making cameras. It was also a fair amount of money to put down, around $3000, especially with Kickstarter’s scary way of operating in that you give all the money straight away and HOPE a product one day turns up with no comeback if they don’t.

Why was this of interest to me? Super 16mm is a lovely format to shoot with. With a much deeper depth of field than S35, it has its pros and cons. The pros being it’s a hell of a lot easier to keep stuff in focus! I had shot a little with the lovely but very quirky Ikonoskop, it produced lovely images, but at around 10,000 Euros it wasn’t cheap. This camera however was cheaper, it had the Bolex name, would shoot raw and looked lovely and retro design wise, it looked like a Bolex.

It helped that I spoke to Joe and Elle from Digital Bolex for my post  to put them the questions that I needed to the answers to. The answers helped a lot so I backed it. I was worried still, as me backing it meant others followed…that’s a lot of responsibility.

It has felt a lot longer than just over 18 months waiting for the camera, as so much has happened in the camera world.  In that time I have met Joe and Elle a couple of times and spoken to Joe on email many times. But, as I’m sure you are all aware, we now have a very cheap Super 16mm raw camera on the market and two slightly larger sensor versions from Blackmagic. Massive competition for Digital Bolex and very importantly…you could get them more or less immediately (Pocket Camera is still in short supply) which made me, and I am sure many other patient backers, worry about out investment. 21 months later a very valid question to ask is “do we REALLY need a Super 16mm video camera anyway? Don’t we all love Super 35mm and larger?” An important question, and one I will ask myself a lot in my video review.

Philip Bloom | Read the Full Article

How to Keep Clients Happy in the Video and Photography Industry

Andy Baker, the Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director for National Geographic Channel explores how to keep clients happy in the high stakes video and photography industry.

Brain Games


Once you’ve been hired by a client, there is a little bit of a dance that goes on. Everyone feels great – the agency is excited no doubt, after all they have a new client, and new possibilities abound. It is important, in those first few days after the job has been awarded, for the agency/creative to do one thing – prove that they are ON IT to that client, so that the client feels as if they made the right decision, and can begin to trust that new creative partner. And the first place/stage to do that is with The Brief. Now, briefs can sometimes not be brief at all. Charts, graphs, audience studies, positioning statements, what to do, what not to do…it can be information overload. But information overload always trumps those briefs that are so brief that they don’t actually exist. If a client doesn’t give a brief at all (or it’s just verbal) it is incumbent on the creative agency/partner/production team to ensure that they are all on the same page. I recommend writing your own brief if you don’t get one from the client – listen, ask questions, then come back with a written mini-brief that encapsulates what you heard. What is great about that is that in many cases, even if you come back with a brief that isn’t at ALL what they wanted, you’ll get more information, and more details and specifics about what that client DOES want. The more communication between both ‘sides’ the better, especially in those early stages where the briefing occurs. In the case of ‘Brain Games’ season 2, we had a great deal of information to share with the agencies involved. We actually conducted a pitch process on this project – something rather rare for us, as we generally don’t do a great deal of pitching due to budget issues, or because we have a pretty good idea of who we want to work with, and what sort of partner will fit the idea we may already have. But in this case, we were fortunately in the position to offer a real creative brief with our goals and objectives for the campaign.

The Client Blog | Read The Full Article

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