10 Auteurs and the Typefaces They Love

Directors don’t just have a visual style – sometimes their cinematic identity is tied to a style of typography as well.

Submited by: Martine Keston

Typeface design has played a crucial role in cinema from the very beginning, when silent films relied on intertitle fonts that were both stylistically memorable and easy to read. Today, there’s an entire industry dedicated to movie title design, and typography plays a crucial role. But rather than tailor their typefaces to explicitly depict a film’s content graphically or pictorially (as many of Hollywood’s big blockbuster producers like Spielberg or Disney are wont to do), some directors prefer to make a more understated use of type design that reflects their artistic vision. Here’s a list of some of the most iconic love affairs between bold directors and the fonts that we can’t imagine seeing their movies without.

Ingmar Bergman

The master of heartbreakingly bleak Swedish cinema took the typeface of his titles and credits very seriously. Bergman typically used simple title sequences that, often like the films themselves, drew an intense power from their quiet minimalism and unobtrusive beauty. Perhaps the most notable font favored by Bergman and used with relative frequency in his films is Windsor, which was more famously adopted by Woody Allen. The custom Scandinavian styled typeface featured above, however, is used in several of Bergman’s most personal and devastating works, including Persona and Hour of the Wolf.

Flavorwire | Read the Full Article

Perhaps the Earliest Color Motion Picture Ever – from 1902

The past wasn’t in black and white, but it’s easy to forget that because all our representations of that era are in sepia and tinted monochrome. Here is an early test film by Edward Turner, using an experimental color process from way back in 1902.

In 1899, just five years after British audiences first saw moving pictures, Edward Turner, a photographer and, and Frederick Marshall Lee, his financial backer, patented the first colour moving picture process in Britain.

A complicated process, it involved photographing successive frames of black-and-white film through blue, green and red filters. Using a special projector (which you can see in the gallery) these were combined on a screen to produce full-colour images.

Turner died in 1903 and Charles Urban turned to early film pioneer, George Albert Smith, to perfect the process. After working on it for a year, Smith deemed Turner’s process unworkable and it was abandoned in favour of his own, simpler, colour process. Marketed by Urban as Kinemacolor, this became the first commercially successful colour moving picture process and made a fortune.

Between 1901 and 1903 Turner had created a number of short test films which Urban kept. By using digital technology and following Turner’s method exactly, we have been able to reveal the full-colour moving images on these films so that they can be seen for the first time in 110 years.

National Media | Read the full Article

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A Panoramic View of China’s Cultural Revolution

Li Zhensheng trained as a cinematographer but Mao Zedong’s disasterous Great Leap Forward (1958-61) put his filmmaking career on hold. But he never stopped taking photos eventually getting a job in photojournalism – his photographs of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (started in 1961) are perhaps the most complete and nuanced pictorial account of the decade of turmoil. Hiding the negatives under a floorboard, he has now released the photos in a book as he notes in this interview with the New York Times.

Ouyang Xiang, son of the former first secretary of Heilongjiang’s provincial party committee, was dragged outside the North Plaza Hotel, persecuted for sending an unsigned letter to the provincial revolutionary committee defending his denounced father. Three days later, he was pushed out of a third-story window of the building where he was held. The official report called his death a suicide. Harbin, Heilongjiang province, Nov. 30, 1968.

On National Day, schoolchildren carried red-tasseled spears and wore Red Guard armbands, parading past a Russian-style department store. Harbin, Heilongjiang province. Oct. 1, 1966.

Most events I went to there were positive pictures and negative pictures. Some slogans were actually not all that positive but as long the crowd’s mouths were open and fists pumping air — that looks positive in the photographs. And I’d leave some film for “negative,” “useless” pictures.

We were given film each month according to a ratio: for every picture published, we earned eight frames. I would process all my own film. And I did all my own enlargements. I would have to process all the film for the other four guys in the paper too because I was the youngest and the newest on the job. When I was unhappy in the darkroom, I would sing.

I knew I had lots of “negative” frames, so I would quickly dry them and clip them off, to not let other people see them. The only fear I had was the others would complain that I was wasting public resources, shooting pictures that the newspaper couldn’t use — and I would leave the positive ones hanging to dry.

I would put the “negative” negatives into brown envelopes in a secret compartment in my desk. In the spring of 1968, I sensed that I would be [searched] soon, I took batches of the negatives home every day after work. I sawed a hole in the parquet floor at home under desk and hid them there.

My wife stood at the window, watching out. I sawed the floor slowly, for over a week. It wasn’t like now when we have electric drills. I sawed it bit by bit. I needed to hide my things. My negatives, plus two Chiang Kai-shek and Yuan Shikai coins, my stamp collection which had images by Goya of naked women — they were all valuable. Not just my negatives.

Later, I took the negatives with me when I moved to Beijing in 1982 and became director of photography in the journalism department of a local college. I just kept my negatives and kept quiet about it until 1988, when there was an exhibition of Chinese photography and they asked me for images from 1966, 1967, because that’s what they were lacking. I gave them 20 pictures — both “positive” and “negative.”

The New York Times – Lens Blog | See More Images and Read the Full Article

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

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