Director’s Round Table with Tarantino, Jackson, Cameron, Bigelow, Reitman and Daniels

Film directors Quentin Tarantino (‘Inglourious Basterds’). Peter Jackson (‘The Lovely Bones’), James Cameron (‘Avatar’), Kathryn Bigelow (‘The Hurt Locker’), Jason Reitman (‘Up in the Air’), and Lee Daniels (‘Precious’) talk about the toughest scenes they’ve had to film for a movie.

The Six Things You Must Know to Make it in the Film Industry

Barbara Freedman Doyle offers some tips on how anyone entering the film industry can make sure they stop themselves from saying what they really think and stay in the good graces of those with the power to hire.

REPUTATION IS ALL YOU HAVE. In a business where much of the deal-making and negotiations are verbal, your word and your reputation is EVERYTHING. The film industry is small. Everyone who is established can easily make contact with anyone else or can get the straight scoop by making a few calls. How much you are paid, your title on a project, how hard you work, how honest you are, how you treat people— there are no secrets. The business is populated by talkers. Even “enemies” communicate all the time. There is no place to hide. If you are seen as creative, reliable, capable, and easy to work with, you will find luck. If you are seen as difficult, a primadonna, high-strung, or irrational you will be known that way even by people who haven’t met you. No one cares that you’re tired or have had a rough day. With no track record, it won’t matter how talented you are. When it comes to a decision as to whether or not to work with you, the decision will be negative. They will say, “Life is too short.” If you promise things and don’t come through, that will follow you and you will have damaged your credibility. Delivering what you say you can deliver is key. Extenuating circumstances don’t count. You’re trying to break into an industry of impatient people. Rationalizations won’t work. These people have seen it all and maybe done it successfully themselves. | Read the Full Article

Live Multicam, Copters and Real Life Rocket Engines (the Wrap)

John Hess experiments with live camera switching, crashes his quadcopter and finds real rocket engines in the scrapyards of LA.

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7. Trippy Demo of Focal Length and Spatial Distortion

This quick little gif demonstrates the difference between focal lengths and how they stretch or compress the sense of depth.

6. Star Wars – if it were made by the Internet

Star Wars Uncut is a website that asked people around the globe to recreate a scene from the 1977 film. The Director’s cut, the full feature length recreation below, is the final result.

5. Exploding Photographers, Disappearing Clothes and the Development of Film

Roger Cicala journeys into the 19th century and weaves a tale of explosive cotten, synthetic fabrics and how it all culminates in the true purpose of photography – capturing images of scantily clad women.

4. Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds

Shoot steadier handheld DSLR shots using techniques used by marksmen to steady their rifles.

3. The Three Basics of Photography

Matthew Gore of explains the three parts of getting a proper exposure: Aperture (or Iris – for us video folk), Shutter Speed, and ISO.

2. 2 Techniques for Writing the Masterpiece Genre

John Truby discusses the Masterpiece Genre. Learn two key techniques to master this Genre as well several questions and point to keep in mind while writing.

1. Damnit Jim – I’m a Filmmaker not a RED Camera Propagandist

No camera on the market today sparks as much fan boy bullshit spirited debate as the RED line of digital cinema cameras. Now I present you latest dust-up between RED camera pioneer Jim Jannard and Zacuto’s Steve Weiss.

Spoiler alert, these are the kinds of comments you will hear in my film: I asked 9 ASC cinematographers, if they had to pick between shitty picture or shitty sound what would they recommend to the director if in the situation you could only have one? Every single cinematographer said shitty picture. There reason: You can tolerate shitty picture but shitty sound is intolerable.

I asked a cinematographer if he would be willing to live with a take where the actor didn’t hit his mark and isn’t in their eye light but the performance was better then when they hit their mark and his answer was an astounding yes.

This is what DP’s in a collaborative effort do and I felt it was important for people to hear this as well as well as see what camera are capable of…. If all you want to see is a raw test, they are out there, although, I’m not sure how fair and accurate they are. My film is the hows and whys of how to make your camera look great, plus a lot more. Actually, to be honest, I’m not totally sure what my film is yet because I haven’t even really started it prior to getting the comments from the screenings.

WTF Post of the Week

Actual Cannibal (Shia LaBeouf)

Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds

Shoot steadier handheld DSLR shots using techniques used by marksmen to steady their rifles.

I hope he takes off the lens cap before he fires.

Note that I will assume from here on that everyone is a right-handed shooter, as that will be the least confusing, as well as the most directly applicable to the right-handed ergonomics of most DSLR’s.

With rifles, your hand that is in front of you (i.e. not your “trigger” hand) does most of the weight bearing and pulling. By this I mean that your left arm supports the weight of the weapon system not only by simply keeping it elevated, but you also pull it tight into your shoulder. When you shoot normally (i.e. at 1/50s + shutter speeds and you thus don’t need to apply these so stringently) the majority of the weight of a camera is supported by your “trigger” (right) hand. More specifically the “center of mass” or “center of balance” of the camera is at the body end. This very concept is exactly why lenses that truly require tripod collars, such as 400mm+ primes, have their collars further out to the lens objective (a fancy way of saying the glass end of your lens). This is because that even with a heavy camera body mounted on them, the camera+lens system’s center of balance is still away from the camera body due to the 1) heavier weight of the lens and 2) the length of the lens itself, which acts as a large lever.

Regarding the lever piece, think of Olympic gymnasts, particularly the ones that do the crazy flips and maneuvers. I can do all of them myself, too…before I wake up. But they tend to be short, right? And then they tend to assume the cannonball position when doing flips, yes? What this does is reduce what’s called their “moment of inertia,” or their resistance to rotation. If you have ever watched figure skating, it is even more pronounced – pay attention really closely the next time one does a spin and the skater keeps their legs and arms spread out, and then pulls them in really tight. Reducing the skater’s moment of inertia causes them to go from a gentle, elegant rotation to a spin that quickly resemble more of a blur. With the lens’ center of balance, the longer it is (regardless of weight, although a large front glass element will add significantly to it) the greater the force (i.e. heavier camera body) that needs to be applied to it in order to get it to rotate.

Going back to holding the camera, it is for this reason that with a longer (and usually heavier) lens you tend to hold it further away (you hand closer to the lens objective) than at the lens mount like you would with a pancake lens. In addition, because you are not also pulling it into your shoulder like you would with a rifle, you use your right hand to support the weight of the camera system and your left hand is used to zoom and/or focus, but primarily to aid in stabilization – it does very little true weight bearing.

Well, when you need to apply all of these fundamentals and get that slow shutter speed shot without a mono/tripod, you will switch that. Use your left hand to support the weight of the camera, and if your lens allows (i.e. isn’t a short/pancake lens), open your hand so it is palm up and the length of the lens barrel is resting on your open hand. The base of the palm, also known as the “palm heel,” of your hand should be just before the point your lens and camera connect, so that your main support point (think of the part of your hand that does most of the weight bearing in a push-up) is under the camera body itself.

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