Canon succesfully takes a 120 megapixel picture

In a press release, Canon announces the creation of an APS-H CMOS sensore capable of taking a 13,280 x 9,184 pixel image. No word on the direct to YouTube upload feature or smile detection:


TOKYO, August 24, 2010—Canon Inc. announced today that it has successfully developed an APS-H-size*1 CMOS image sensor that delivers an image resolution of approximately 120 megapixels (13,280 x 9,184 pixels), the world’s highest level*2 of resolution for its size.

Compared with Canon’s highest-resolution commercial CMOS sensor of the same size, comprising approximately 16.1 million pixels, the newly developed sensor features a pixel count that, at approximately 120 million pixels, is nearly 7.5 times larger and offers a 2.4-fold improvement in resolution.*3

With CMOS sensors, while high-speed readout for high pixel counts is achieved through parallel processing, an increase in parallel-processing signal counts can result in such problems as signal delays and minor deviations in timing. By modifying the method employed to control the readout circuit timing, Canon successfully achieved the high-speed readout of sensor signals. As a result, the new CMOS sensor makes possible a maximum output speed of approximately 9.5 frames per second, supporting the continuous shooting of ultra-high-resolution images.

Canon’s newly developed CMOS sensor also incorporates a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) video output capability. The sensor can output Full HD video from any approximately one-sixtieth-sized section of its total surface area.

Images captured with Canon’s newly developed approximately 120-megapixel CMOS image sensor, even when cropped or digitally magnified, maintain higher levels of definition and clarity than ever before. Additionally, the sensor enables image confirmation across a wide image area, with Full HD video viewing of a select portion of the overall frame.

Through the further development of CMOS image sensors, Canon will break new ground in the world of image expression, targeting new still images that largely surpass those made possible with film, and video movies that capitalize on the unique merits of SLR cameras, namely their high mobility and the expressive power offered through interchangeable lenses.

*1 The imaging area of the newly developed sensor measures approx. 29.2 x 20.2 mm.
*2 As of August 20, 2010. Based on a Canon study.
*3 Canon’s highest-resolution commercial CMOS sensor, employed in the company’s EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR cameras, is equivalent to the full-frame size of the 35 mm film format and incorporates approximately 21.1 million pixels. In 2007, the company successfully developed an APS-H-size sensor with approximately 50 million pixels.

Roxio Creator 2011 offers 3D Editing

Roxio has just launched the world’s first consumer 3-D media editing tool, it says. Roxio Creator 2011, available for $100, is a suite of software that gives amateur filmmakers the tools to capture, edit, create and share 3-D photos and videos.

It uses the old anaglyph style 3D, so it goes without saying it’s not going to turn you into James Cameron. The real question is this the first step into consumer created 3D or does this only reinforce the idea that 3D is just a fad.

How to create your own 3D movies and turn 2D photos into 3D:

iPad & iPhone App: Celtx Script

Celtx Script is the only mobile screenwriting app that syncs directly with Celtx desktop software, making it easy to write a screenplay from any place at any time.

VIA:  AdoramaTV

Get Celtx Script now at the App Store. Just $9.99 to install on both your iPhone & iPad.

Download Celtx for free.

Also check out: “22 Filmmaking Apps for the iPad & iPhone

Coming Apart at the Themes

By Melanie Ann Phillips

Even when a story has memorable characters, a riveting plot and a fully developed genre, it may still be coming apart at the themes.

Theme is perhaps the most powerful, yet least understood element of story structure. It is powerful because theme is an emotional argument: It speaks directly to the heart of the reader or audience. It is least understood because of its intangible nature, working behind the scenes, and between the lines.

When misused, theme can become a ham-handed moral statement in black and white, alienating the reader/audience with its dogmatic pontifications. When properly used, theme can add richness, nuance, and meaning to a story that would otherwise be no more than a series of events.

In this article, we’ll separate the elements of theme by their dramatic functions so we can understand the parts. Then we’ll learn how to combine them together into a strong message that is greater than the sum of the parts.

What do we really mean by the word, “theme?” In fact, “theme” has two meanings. The first meaning is not unlike that of a teacher telling a class to write a theme paper. We’ve all received assignments in school requiring us to express our thoughts about “how we spent our summer vacation,” or “the impact of industrialization on 19th century culture morality,” or “death.” Each of these “themes” is a topic, nothing more, and nothing less. It functions to describe the subject matter that will be explored in the work, be it a paper, novel, stage play, teleplay, or movie.

Every story needs a thematic topic to help hold the overall content of the story together, to act as a unifying element through which the plot unfolds and the characters grow. In fact, you might look at the thematic topic as the growth medium in which the story develops. Although an interesting area to explore, the real focus of this article is on the other element of theme.

This second aspect of theme is the message or premise of your story. A premise is a moral statement about the value of or troubles caused by an element of human character. For example, some common premises include, “Greed leads to Self-Destruction,” and “True love overcomes all obstacles.”

A story without a premise seems pointless, but a story with an overstated message comes off as preachy. While a premise is a good way to understand what a story is trying to prove, it provides precious little help on how to go about proving it. Let’s begin by examining the components of “premise” and then laying out a sure-fire method for developing an emotional argument that will lead your reader or audience to the moral conclusions of your story without hitting them over the head.

All premises grow from character. Usually, the premise revolves around the Main Character. In fact, we might define the Main Character as the one who grapples with the story’s moral dilemma.

A Main Character’s moral dilemma may be a huge issue, such as the ultimate change in Scrooge when he leaves behind his greedy ways and becomes a generous, giving person. Or, the dilemma may be small, as when Luke Skywalker finally gains enough faith in himself to turn off the targeting computer and trust his own instincts in the original Star Wars (Episode IV). Either way, if the premise isn’t there at all, the Main Character will seem more like some guy dealing with issues, than an example in human development from whom we can learn.

Traditionally, premises such as these are stated in the form, “This leads to That.” In the examples above, the premises would be “Greed leads to Self Destruction,” and “Trusting in Oneself leads to Success.” The Point of each premise is the human quality being explored: “Greed” in the case of Scrooge and “Self Trust” with Luke.

We can easily see these premises in A Christmas Carol and Star Wars, but what if you were simply given either of them and told to write a story around them? Premises are great for boiling a story’s message down to its essence, but are not at all useful for figuring out how to develop a message in the first place.

Arguing to your audience that Greed is Bad creates a one-sided argument. But arguing the relative merits of Greed vs. Generosity provides both sides of the argument and lets your audience decide for itself. Crafting such an argument will lead your reader or audience to your conclusions without forcing it upon them. Therefore, you will be more likely to convince them rather than having them reject your premise as a matter of principle, making themselves impervious to your message rather than swallowing it whole.

To create such an argument, follow these steps:

1. Determine what you want your story’s message to be

We all have human qualities we admire and others we despise. Some might be as large as putting oneself first no matter how much damage it does to others. Some might be as small as someone who borrows things and never gets around to returning them. Regardless, your message at this stage will simply take the form, “Human Quality X is Bad,” or “Human Quality Y is Good.”

If you are going to create a message that is passionate, look to what truly irks you, or truly inspires you, and select that human quality to give to your Main Character. Then, you’ll find it far easier to come up with specific examples of that quality to include in your story, and you will write about it with vigor.

This is your chance to get up on the soapbox. Don’t waste it on some grand classic human trait that really means nothing to you personally. Pick something you really care about and sound off by showing how that trait ennobles or undermines your Main Character.

As a last resort, look to your characters and plot and let them suggest your thematic point. See what kinds of situations are going to arise in your story; what kinds of obstacles will be faced. Think of the human qualities that would make the effort to achieve the story’s goal the most difficult, exacerbate the obstacles, and gum up the works. Give that trait to your Main Character, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see it take on a life of its own.

Of course, you may already know your message before you even get started. You may, in fact, have as your primary purpose in creating the story the intent to make a point about a particular human quality.

No matter how you come up with your message, once you have it, move on to step 2.

2. Determine your Counterpoint

As described earlier, the Counterpoint is the opposite of the Point. So, if your story’s message is “Being Closed-Minded is Bad,” then your Point is “Being Closed Minded,” and your Counterpoint is “Being Open Minded.”

Similarly, if your message is “Borrowing things from others and not returning them is Bad,” then your counter point is “Borrowing things from other and returning them.”

Note that we didn’t include the value judgment part of the message (i.e. “Good” or “Bad”) as part of the point or counterpoint. The idea is to let the audience arrive at that conclusion for themselves. The point and counterpoint simply show both sides of the argument. Our next step will be to work out how we are going to lead the audience to come to the conclusion we want them to have.

3. Show how well the Point does vs. the Counterpoint

The idea here is to see each of the two human qualities (point and counterpoint) in action in your story to illustrate how well each one fares. To this end, come up with as many illustrations as you can of each.

For example, in A Christmas Carol, we see Scrooge deny an extension on a loan, refuse to allow Cratchit a piece of coal, decline to make a donation to the poor. Each of these moments fully illustrates the impact of the thematic point of “Greed.”

Similarly, in the same story, we see Fezziwig spending his money for a Christmas Party for his employees, Scrooge’s nephew inviting him to dinner, and Cratchit giving of his time to Tiny Tim. Generosity is seen in action as well.

Each instance of Greed propagates ill feelings. Each instance of Generosity propagates positive feelings. As the illustrations layer upon one another over the course of the story, the emotional argument is made that Greed is not a positive trait, whereas Generosity is.

4. Avoid comparing the Point and Counterpoint directly

Perhaps the greatest mistake in making a thematic argument is to directly compare the relative value of the point and counterpoint. If this is done, it takes all decision away from the audience and puts it right in the hands of the author.

The effect is to have the author repeatedly saying, “Generosity is better than Greed, Generosity is better than Greed,” like a sound loop.

A better way is to show Greed at work in its own scenes, and Generosity at work in completely different scenes. In this manner, the audience is left to draw its own conclusions. And while showing Greed as always wholly bad and Generosity as always wholly good may create a rather melodramatic message, at least the audience won’t feel as if you’ve crammed it down its throat!

5. Shade the degree that Point and Counterpoint are Good or Bad

Because you are going to include multiple instances or illustrations of the goodness or badness or your point and counter point, you don’t have to try to prove your message completely in each individual scene.

Rather, let the point be really bad sometimes, and just a little negative others. In this manner, Greed may start out just appearing to be irritating, but by the end of the story, may affect life and death issues. Or Greed may have devastating effects, but ultimately only be a minor thorn in people’s sides. And, of course, you may choose to jump around, showing some examples of major problems with Greed and others that see it in not so dark a light. Similarly, not every illustration of your Counterpoint has to carry the same weight.

In the end, the audience will subconsciously average together all of the illustrations of the point, and also average together all the illustrations of the counterpoint, and arrive at a relative value of one to the other.

For example, if you create an arbitrary scale of +5 down to -5 to assign a value of being REALLY Good (+5) or REALLY Bad (-5), Greed might start out at -2 in one scene, be -4 in other, and -1 in a third. The statement here is that Greed is always bad, but not totally AWFUL, just bad.

Then, you do the same with the counterpoint. Generosity starts out as a +4, then shows up as a +1, and finally ends up as a +3. This makes the statement that Generosity is Good. Not the end-all of the Greatest Good, but pretty darn good!

At the end of such a story, instead of making the blanket statement that Greed is Bad and Generosity is Good, you are simply stating that Generosity is better than Greed. That is a lot easier for an audience to accept, since human qualities in real life are seldom all good or all bad.

But there is more you can do with this. What if Generosity is mostly good, but occasionally has negative effects? Suppose you show several scenes illustrating the impact of Generosity, but in one of them, someone is going to share his meal, but in the process, drops the plate, the food is ruined, and no one gets to eat. Well, in that particular case, Greed would have at least fed one of them! So, you might rate that scene on your arbitrary scale as a -2 for Generosity.

Similarly, Greed might actually be shown as slightly Good in a scene. But at the end of the day, all of the instances of Greed still add up to a negative. For example, scene one of Greed might be a -4, scene two a +2 and scene three a -5. Add them together and Greed comes out to be a -7 overall. And that is how the audience will see it as well.

This approach gives us the opportunity to do some really intriguing things in our thematic argument. What if both Greed and Generosity were shown to be bad, overall? By adding up the numbers of the arbitrary scale, you could argue that every time Greed is used, it causes problems, but ever time Generosity is used, it also causes problems. But in the end, Greed is a -12 and Generosity is only a -3, proving that Generosity, in this case, is the lesser of two evils.

Or what if they both added up Good in the end? Then your message might be that Generosity is the greater of two goods! But they could also end up equally bad, or equally good (Greed at -3 and Generosity at -3, for example). This would be a message that in this story’s particular situations, being Greedy or Generous doesn’t really matter, either way, you’ll make the situation worse.

In fact, both might end up with a rating of zero, making the statement that neither Greed nor Generosity has any real impact on the situation, in the end.

Now, you have the opportunity to create dilemmas for your Main Character that are far more realistic and far less moralistic. And by having both point and counterpoint spend some time in the Good column and some time in the Bad column over the course of your story, you are able to mirror the real life values of our human qualities and their impact on those around us.

Source with permission: The Writers Store

DIY Tripod Steadicam

This video will show you a technique for converting a tripod to a “steadicam”, or MerriCam using only a screwdriver. The Sunpak Platinum Plus 7500 Pro tripod was used for this video, along with the Canon HV20. This technique is not meant for very large or heavy cameras, but is ideal for consumer-sized camcorders like the HV20.

VIA: SundogPictures

How to Work the American Film Market

The AFM (American Film Market) is a great place to pitch your project or film – if you have a plan. Use these steps to increase your chances of success.


If you have a project or script, the most effective use of your time and money is to purchase an AFM Half Market Industry Badge which allows access to all offices and most screenings beginning Sunday, Day 5. It costs $295 which is a big savings compared to the $795 Full Market Industry Badge. Buy your badge before October 15. After that date, the fees go up.

STEP 1: Homework – Create a List of Target Companies

Over 400 production / distribution companies have offices at the AFM but not all are right for your film.  You will need to focus your time and effort on companies best suited for your project.

Begin on opening day (Wednesday) by walking into the lobby of the Loews (no badge required) and collecting the Bumper issues of the key trades.: Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Screen International, and Business of Film.  (The trades are free at the AFM.)  These publication have profiles of most companies at the Market.  Take the trades home or sit at the pool and read, read, read.  Find the companies that look best for your film.

Do further research on the web.  Most AFM companies list their projects and films in The Film Catalogue.  Many are members of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), producer of the AFM, so you can read additional profiles on the IFTA website.

Once you have created a target list, count the companies on it. If there are less than 10, you’re being too picky. [“No distributor is right for MY film!”] If there are 100 or more, your homework grade is “incomplete.” Keep working. The target list for most projects is 30 – 50 companies.

STEP 2: More Homework – Create a List of Target Executives

For each of your target companies, create a list of key executives. Most important is the person or people who are in charge of acquisitions, development and production. Look for their names in the trades and company websites. If you can’t find the right names, call the company’s main office (not their AFM office) and ask.

Finding out who’s who is critical. You will never get anywhere by walking into an office and saying “Hi, who is your head of acquisitions? I’d like to meet with him… or her.” This makes you look too lazy to do advance work and might cause the company to question your work ethic as a potential producing partner.

STEP 3: Prioritize Your Target List

Separate your list into two groups: companies with an office in the city where you live and those from everywhere else. Focus first on the companies that aren’t based where you live. If you are unable to meet with a company from your home city during the AFM, you can always follow-up with them after the Market. Use other factors (i.e. the budgets and genres of the company’s AFM lineup) to create an A and B list with 20 to 30 companies on each list. This will help prioritize your time near the end of the Market.

STEP 4: Work on Your Pitch

A good pitch can get a bad film made and a bad pitch can leave a terrific project languishing on the shelf. Pitching is part art (it’s a creative process), part science (pitches need to be organized and follow a tight script) and part salesmanship. There are many experts and resources on pitching, so our only advice is:

  • If you are madly, deeply in love with your project, if it’s your only child and the AFM is its first day of school, get someone else to do the pitch. Pitching it yourself will definitely convince people that YOU love the project, but it probably won’t do much more.
  • In the pitch meeting, remember that you are being evaluated along with your project. When a company commits to your project, they are also committing to work with you.
  • Your mission during each pitch meeting isn’t selling your project. You won’t get a deal in one brief meeting. Your mission is simply: Get the second meeting!
  • Consider attending the AFM’s “Pitch Me!” seminar on Saturday morning.

STEP 5: Make Appointments

On Thursday and Friday, call each target company’s AFM office and request a 15 minute meeting with the key executive you identified in Step 2. AFM office phone numbers are listed in the AFM Show Directory – it’s available at the Information desk in the Loews lobby. Don’t use a cell phone. Use a land-line in a quiet place. Ask for a meeting on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday as most companies will be too busy during the first few days and your Half Market Badge begins on Sunday. For companies that won’t set a meeting (prepare yourself – there will be many), see Step 8 below.

STEP 6: Prepare Materials

Here are some thoughts on what to leave behind after every meeting:

  • Your business card.
  • A synopsis.
  • A summary of the film’s unique creative and financial attributes. This could include a list of all people attached or committed to the project, a budget abstract that’s less than half a page, any rights that aren’t available, investors that are committed, production incentives that you know the film can utilize, etc.
  • If the script is done, bring one or two copies with you but don’t leave it behind without first consulting with your attorney.

These are just our suggestions – every film and situation is different. Be prepared, but don’t bring copies of letters or documents that “prove” anything. It’s too soon for that.

STEP 7: Work The Show Before You Go

Done with your homework? Made your appointments? Confident with your pitch? Materials ready? Great. There’s still plenty you can do at the AFM before you get your badge on Sunday:

  • Go to Seminars.
  • Attend the AFM Finance Conference.
  • If this is your first AFM, attend the AFM Orientation. You will receive an invitation after you register.
  • Purchase your AFM Half Market Badge in advance so you will be ready to go on Sunday morning. Register online.
  • Read the trades to stay on top of trends and deals.

STEP 8: It’s Showtime!

Here, in order, are your priorities for Sunday – Day 5, Monday – Day 6 and Tuesday – Day 7:

  • Arrive at every scheduled meeting on time. Be prepared to be “bumped” or delayed. Don’t take it personally – selling comes before buying.
  • Visit the companies that wouldn’t schedule a meeting with you on the phone. Remember, always ask for an appointment with a specific person.
  • Visit companies on your B list and those you couldn’t easily profile in Step 1. Get a feel for the product they handle and the culture of the company to see if they are right for your film. Consider being a “stealth participant” by picking up brochures and business cards without introducing yourself. Don’t ask for a meeting while you are there. (If you’ve just walked in and asked a bunch of questions, stuffed your bag with their collateral and grabbed every business card, it isn’t likely you’ll get a meeting.) Instead, wait half an hour and call the company to schedule a meeting . . . with a specific person.

ADDITIONAL STEPS: Producers with a Finished Film

The steps above were written for producers, filmmakers and writers with projects and scripts. If you have a completed film and are looking for global distribution, congratulations! Everything above generally applies but you will need to move-up the timetable:

  • One month before the AFM, prepare a 5 – 7 minute reel of selected scenes. Do not create a consumer type trailer. Acquisition executives will want to see complete scenes to get a feel for the film. Put the reel on a website so companies you contact can see it before committing to a meeting.
  • Do your homework (Steps 2 & 3) and contact your target companies three to four weeks in advance of the AFM. Include the link to your reel.
  • Set your initial meetings with each company in the first four days of the Market. Let them know you are arriving on Wednesday and will close a deal before the market is over.
  • Purchase a Full Market Badge. (You’ve invested a lot of time and money – don’t get cheap now!)
  • Make sure your attorney will be available to you throughout the AFM.


We can’t give you personal advice on how to pitch your project or film but we’d like to know how this information worked for you. After the Market, please send your thoughts to [email protected], Attention: Work the AFM Feedback.

Good Luck!

Copyright 2010 IFTA. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this website may be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of IFTA.

Stay connected with American Film Market on Facebook

5 Facebook Tips For Filmmakers

No one needs to tell you Facebook is a powerful social network, but how do you leverage the sites hundreds of millions of visitors? Social Media expert Linda Nelson can help with these 5 tips for filmmakers on getting the most out of Facebook.


LindaNelsonFacebookSeminar by madderlake

How do I Treat my Treatment?

by Michael Halperin

Question: I have completed my screenplay, but I never wrote a treatment. I met a producer who wants to see a treatment only. Some people say a treatment should be three pages long, some say 12. Any advice?

Michael Halperin, author of ‘Writing the Killer Treatment,’ responds:

Before starting out on a treatment based on a completed screenplay, you have to ask questions. Does the producer actually want a treatment, or does he want a synopsis of the screenplay? Some producers continue to confuse one with the other. Writers go off and write their treatments and deliver them. Producers wonder how come they have a document, instead of a paragraph.

Assuming this producer understands the difference, you have to determine how long your treatment will run. There is no firm answer. Some treatments run a few pages while others run almost as long as the screenplay itself. A good rule of thumb is ‘the shorter the better,’ considering that most producers are incredibly busy and might be more receptive to a concise treatment

It’s much harder to write a short treatment because you need to express all the feelings, emotions, direction of the story, sense of characters and their relationships in a foreshortened manner.

Outline the beats of the screenplay to give yourself a guide before writing the treatment. Once you have the beats winnowed down to the basics, develop the treatment.

Begin with the story line (the so-called TV Guide-line) that encapsulates your story within one or two exciting sentences. For example, if I wrote the story line for Tolstoy’s gigantic tome ‘Anna Karenina,’ it would read: ‘A woman forced into a loveless marriage has a child, falls desperately in love with another man she cannot marry and commits suicide by throwing herself under the wheels of a train.’

Start your treatment with the inciting incident and the protagonist’s reaction/relation to it. Write with active verbs and try to avoid inactive verbs (any form of ‘to be’). The treatment should hold the reader’s interest and move the producer through it very fast. Avoid detail that gets in the way of telling the story. The less written, the less there exists for anyone to shoot it down.

Treatments express story, action, character and plot points. Therefore, almost every paragraph should propel all four of those elements toward a dynamic conclusion.

It may take several rewrites before you’re satisfied with the treatment. Hone it; polish it until it bounces off the page with confidence. Never be satisfied with a treatment or a screenplay that’s good. It must be the absolute best work you can do in this highly competitive field.

Author, playwright and screenwriter Michael Halperin teaches screenwriting and broadcasting at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles as well as a writing seminar at the American Film Institute and screenwriting seminars at UCLA’s Writers Program. He has written for popular television programs, among them ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ ‘Falcon Crest,’ ‘Quincy’ and the animated series ‘Masters of the Universe.’ He is the author of three books on writing and co-author of the best-selling novel for children, ‘Jacob’s Rescue.’

Source with permission: The Writers Store

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