Roger Deakins on Becoming a Cinematographer

Roger Deakins

I think the best thing to do is to understand yourself, understand why you want to do it, & what you have to offer. You’re own visual way of seeing things. Not necessary a style but just your way of seeing things & develop that & go in that direction rather than just going out & saying ‘Oh, I’ll shoot this film, that film, & any other film.’…And perseverance. A lot of perseverance because it takes a long time for most people.

Roger Deakins

Are Emoticons the Future of Language?

In the digital age, we increasingly use written language in place of face to face chat or phone calls. But the advantages email, chat, and text give us in speed come with limitations in communicating emotional tone. Enter emoticons and emojis. Not just a playful supplement to language, these new tools allow for complexity in tone and emotion never before possible in written language, as well as provide new opportunities for creative expression. Rapidly spreading throughout culture, emoticons and emojis fill a void in written language that few realized we so desperately needed.


A First Look at the Sony FDR-AX1 4K Handycam – BH Photo

The Sony FDR-AX1 Handycam is the first consumer/prosumer camcorder that shoots at stunning 4K resolution at 3840 x 2160. With its 20x zoom lens, the AX1 looks and feels like some of Sony’s professional compact HD camcorders, but under the hood, the camcorder packs the XAVC-S codec, which packages high-quality 4K video at manageable bit rates.



Arrests Over Satirical Video Lay Bare Emirati Sensitivities

The New York Times details the story of 5 young men in Dubai who were put in jail for the following satirical video on charges of threatening national security.

The video was undeniably silly: a 20-minute mockumentary about a fictional martial arts school in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, where grandmaster Saloom Snake trains combatants to throw sandals, strike with the thin ropes of an Arab headdress and summon help on Twitter for fights that never actually occur.

But the authorities in the United Arab Emirates were not amused. In April, the police arrested five men who participated in the video, including an American citizen, Shezanne Cassim, 29, and threw them in jail, where they have been awaiting trial for eight months on charges of threatening national security.

The case has worried American officials and baffled the defendants’ families, who say the video merely pokes fun at Emirati youth who imitate foreign films and rap videos. But the men have faced a legal process set up for grave crimes.

Rights groups say the case is only the most recent example of the extreme sensitivity of Persian Gulf monarchies to the power of social media as a forum for critical — and uncontrollable — social and political discourse. Satire, especially of the political variety spread on social media, is treated as subversive. A number of Persian Gulf countries have laws against so-called cybercrimes, and in recent years a string of people have been jailed for content posted online.

The New York Times | Read the Full Article

Metabones Works Some More Magic With Its New Speedboosters for Blackmagic

Roger Cicala, founder of LensRentals, looks at the Metabones Speedbooster options for Blackmagic Pocket Camera and Cinema Camera MFT mount.

BMPCC Metabones

Metabones, maker of the impressive Speedbooster adapters is back at it again. When the Speedbooster first came out, I wrote about it being like magic, increasing the aperture and field-of-view of Nikon and Canon full-frame lenses mounted to NEX and micro 4/3 cameras, while maintaining or even improving image quality. Now they’ve brought the Metabones magic to the Blackmagic cinema and pocket cinema cameras.

The original Metabones Speedboosters are available in several versions adapting various full-frame lenses to NEX, micro 4/3, and Fuji-X cameras. They offer a magnification factor of 0.71X; meaning the lens focal length changes by this factor and the aperture increases by one stop. For example, a 100mm f/2.8 full-frame lens becomes a 71mm f/2.0 lens when mounted on an NEX camera by a Speedbooster.

For people shooting video on micro 4/3 and APS-C size sensors, the Speedboosters give them an opportunity to shoot with full-frame lenses and reduce the ‘crop factor’ associated with shooting on the smaller sensor size. The also increase the aperture of the lens, letting in more light.

Peta Pixel | Read the Full Article

There will probably be no 8K. In fact, there will probably be no pixels at all in the future

 explains how the future of video may in fact be pixel-less.

End of Pixels

There’s a seemingly unstoppable trend towards more and more pixels. Greater resolution is heralded as the future of video. David Shapton doesn’t think it is. He thinks there is another way. It’s a radical suggestion, but completely plausible

Living memory is a wonderful thing. For anyone born in the last sixty years, it encompasses more change than any other successive generations have ever seen. And one of the things that we’ve got used to is increasing resolutions.

From our perspective, today, it all seems to have happened very quickly. Anyone working in professional video today will have very clear memories of Standard Definition video. Some of us still use it! But the current working paradigm is HD.

Next on the horizon

Next on the horizon is 4K. And, with almost unseemly haste, we’re already talking about 8K. In fact, some organisations, like Sony and the BBC, kind-of lump together any video formats with greater than HD resolution, using expressions like “Beyond Definition” (although in Sony’s case, that also means that resolution isn’t everything and that there are other factors like increased colour gamut and contrast that matter as well).

Everyone wants better pictures. There’s nothing wrong with the principle that – all things being equal – if you can record your images in a high resolution format, then you probably should.

The idea of digital video is now so well established that it’s virtually passed into folklore. At the very least, the word “Pixel” is bandied around as if it’s always been part of the language.

In reality, it’s not been around for very long. Cathode ray tubes don’t use pixels, and nor do VHS recorders or any type of analogue video equipment.

Red Shark News | Read the Full Article

The Revolution Won’t Be Televised – 4 Reasons the Future of Filmmaking is Online

 offers up 4 reasons why web content is the present and future of independent filmmaking.


With the likes of Harvey Weinstein turning his eye (and funds) online, there has been a noticeable change in the coverage of the web series. Industry websites have gone from ‘Is this the destroyer of Broadcast TV?’ to interviews with creators and tips for producing and promoting.

The future is online.

In the years since the rise of big name web series like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog following the 2007 writer’s strike, when writers wanted to keep working on professional, quality productions while still supporting the unions, the medium has become legitimate platform for creators of original pieces to both showcase their talent and engage with their audience. It is this sense of community that sets the medium apart from the more traditional options.

The Ready and Willing Audience

This willingness of the audience to venture outside television shows that it is the quality of the programming that matters most to the audience and not the medium it is shown on. This is where accessibility becomes central to online programming. It needs to be as accessible, if not more so, than television and film. Web series largely rely on word of mouth. You’re not going to stumble upon shows by flicking around. The most well known web series have big names associated with them while other smaller channels and filmmakers may struggle to get those views and exposure. But even if a channel doesn’t reach a high volume of people, the instant feedback, a sense of immediacy and indeed intimacy that can achieved online can be just as important to the maintenance and future of the series. Like the premium cable channels, it can be more about the quality of the audience you are reaching than the quantity when it comes to the likelihood of survival.

Raindance | Read the Full Article

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