What is a reflector and why is it an important tool for photographers (and filmmakers)? If you’re new to photography you might understandably have a few questions about how to use a reflector. In our latest layman’s guide we answer some of the most common questions new photographers have.
Whatever we do in photography, we need light to make our images happen. A reflector is simply a tool that helps us put that light where we want it. A reflector allows you to bounce available light – whether natural or artificial – back towards your subject, so you can change the way the light illuminates it.
Reflectors come in various shapes and sizes, although the most common shapes are circular and rectangular. They are made from reflective material, usually in white, silver or gold for different effects. Some have handles or can be folded together for easy storage, while others are large and difficult to handle. You can even make your own reflector from white card.
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Kylee Wall explains how she landed her first job in the industry and how cold calling isn’t enough anymore.
It’s something we’re all asked all the time: how do I get the first real job in the industry? It’s almost always a question coming out of a young, wide-eyed, innocent looking baby deer of a human being who is graduating from university very soon and for the first time realizes that they’re going to have crushing student debt AND no actual plan to get from here to Oscar-worthy filmmaker.
I recognize that look of panicked curiosity because I saw it in the mirror an awful lot, not that long ago. I graduated from Indiana University in 2009, so I feel like the modern approach to getting a job in video production – an approach that includes things like websites and social media that older people didn’t have to deal with when video was in its infancy – is still very fresh in my head. I think I still look young and hip and millennial enough to be considered one of the young folk that “made it” and has experience to share.
When you ask experienced industry pros how to break in, I think a lot of people might tell you to keep knocking on doors and cold calling until you wear someone down. That was the best and only way to get in the door when video production was specialized big business that was rapidly growing. There weren’t THAT many skilled editors because getting in front of an NLE wasn’t easy.
But the reality right now is that there are a lot of people like you out there – like maybe more than ever – coming out of media programs super qualified and ready to go. Video production has matured into something more than .0005% of the population can understand. Software is accessible and hardware is affordable, so competition is high. Companies can have their choice of candidates by posting a job online and getting a thousand applications if they want, and narrow the few people that match their narrow expectations by cross referencing an internet presence. So cold calls and random emails aren’t nearly as effective as they used to be for soliciting entry level jobs – as a random person, you aren’t fulfilling a very specific need that can be met with some googling.
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How long did one of film’s most famed tracking shots take to pull off? It was in the can before lunch — which isn’t to say it was easy. With a 25th Anniversary screening of Goodfellas set to close the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25th, McConkey spoke to Filmmaker about the formative days of Steadicam, the newest generation of camera stabilizers and, of course, The Copa Shot.
Filmmaker: You’ve talked about the revelatory experience of seeing your first Steadicam shot in Hal Ashby’s Bound for Glory (1976) while you were a graduate film student at Temple University. How did you discover that the shot was done by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, who just happened to be based in Philadelphia like you?
McConkey: I actually didn’t know who the operator was for a couple of years. I just knew that what I saw on that screen in Bound for Glory, that was what I wanted to do. I had been doing a lot of handheld camerawork and trying to be the best handheld operator the world had ever seen, but it was always limiting. What I saw up there was what I wanted to do.
McConkey: I had a friend from Temple, Chris Wilkinson, who also was crazy about the idea of Steadicam and the two of us decided that we were going to find one somewhere and use it on one of (Chris’s) films. Back then it was (initially) the notion held by Garrett and Cinema Products, who made the Steadicam, that it would be something that anybody could pick up and use. You’d need a little instruction but that would be it. For Garrett, using the Steadicam was like riding a bike, but when other people would try them out it would be horrible, so they’d just leave it at the rental house. Very few people were renting them after a while because it was too hard to do. But (Chris and I) were determined.
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Tested met up with modelmaker Steve Neisen to geek out over his new studio scale replicas of ships, droids, and mechs from Star Wars! Steve has spent years hunting down the original model kit components that the ILM modelshop used for the filming miniatures, and the resulting Y-Wing, Imperial Probe Droid, AT-ST, and Tantive IV Escape Pod look incredible!
Bill details the engineering choices underlying the design of a beverage can He explains why it is cylindrical, outlines the manufacturing steps needed to created the can, notes why the can narrows near it lid, show close ups of the double-seam that hold the lid on, and details the complex operation of the tab that opens the can.