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.
Alex Garland wrote The Beach, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Never Let Me Go, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd, and now, his first film a a director, Ex Machina. Alex Garland is passionate about art, high and low. And with his first film as a director, he has hit a subtle home run. He spoke to David Poland about the film, the process, and his artistic ambitions.
Three costume designers with projects at the Tribeca Film Festival walk us through their methods.
Movie magic doesn’t just happen. Certainly it doesn’t for the wardrobe department, and certainly not when the costume designer is operating on the sort of shoestring budget enjoyed by many independent film teams, which is to say a relatively small one.
“The standard [costume design budget], depending on the requirements, is anywhere between $9,000 and $20,000. I don’t remember exactly, but this was on the lower end,” said costume designer Ciera Wells of her new film, “The Wannabe.” ”But it’s always hard; it’s never enough money.”
“The Wannabe,” which documents the cocaine-fueled rise and fall of a couple (played by Patricia Arquette and Vincent Piazza) chasing a mob lifestyle in early ’90s Queens, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last week. Malgosia Turzanska said she too was working on a sub-$20,000 budget for “When I Live My Life Over Again,” a family drama focused on an aging crooner (Christopher Walken) and his musically gifted but professionally stymied daughter Jude, played by Amber Heard.
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