Pulling Focus: Whiplash (2014)

By Shane Scott-Travis


Are you one of those single tear people?

I saw Whiplash for the first time at the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival, in a packed house with director Damien Chazelle in attendance. I’d heard rumblings of distant thunder about the film earlier that year when it took Sundance by storm, and where it was dubbed “Full Metal Jacket at Julliard’ by juiced up fans.

The premise, about a jazz drummer in a prestigious music academy rehashing the ol’ student/mentor maxim didn’t strike me as novel or this season’s anything. And then I saw the film, expecting the old underdog sports formula, a reiteration of The Damned United or maybe The Karate Kid and that wasn’t what I got at all. What I got was passionately and restlessly reminded of the promise and potential of cinema.

Whiplash is an emotional thriller shrewdly covered as a jazz opera, offering some of the biggest kicks and starts to roll out in a mainstream movie house in some time.

The sophomore film from Damien Chazelle, whose forthcoming ode to the Hollywood studio musical La La Land is already the early-buzz frontrunner for 2017’s Oscar race, Whiplash comes after 2009’s jazz-infused micro budget musical Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, and doubles as a courageous confessional, of sorts.

Chazelle was a dedicated jazz drummer himself, in a conservatory-style orchestra as a teen, and the nerve-shattering misgivings and constant fear he felt there, specifically the performance anxiety and the highly combative state of affairs at school is what forced his unbending understanding and his bold vision. In Whiplash the practice studio is a terrifying theater of war.

“Whether Whiplash tells us much about music, despite a fine rendition of Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan,’ I’m not sure. It’s more about power than it is about jazz, and the fetishistic closeups—of blood and continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

RedShark Review: CrumplePop BetterStabilizer plug-in

By noreply@redsharknews.com (Ned Soltz)

CrumplePop Better Stabilizer footage

We check out FxFactory’s CrumplePop BetterStabilizer plug-in, an improvement over FCP X’s native options, but how does it compare to Adobe’s Warp Stabilizer?

  • Review
  • CrumplePop
  • Better Stabilizer
  • Plug in
  • Adobe
  • Warp Stabilizer
  • FCPX


    From:: RedShark News

    Tutorial: Do You Have $50? Then You Can Get Cinematic Lighting

    By V Renée

    You don’t need a fancy camera or expensive lighting equipment to get cinematic lighting. All you need is 50 bucks.

    Every filmmaker wants to make their movies look cinematic, but some aren’t quite sure how to do it. Many just starting out think that shooting on a sleek new camera will do the trick, but lighting actually plays a much bigger role in achieving that film look. And to debunk another filmmaking myth, you don’t need an expensive studio setup to light a scene—all you really need $50, and here’s Simon Cade of DSLRguide to prove it.

    According to Cade, here’s a list of materials you’ll need to light a cinematic looking scene. All of these things come out to be around $50; less if you have some of them already, which I’m assuming most of you do.

    Read More


    From:: No Film School

    Creative Live's Photo Week starts tomorrow

    Now that Photokina is over and we are impatiently waiting for the latest cameras and gear to ship, it’s a perfect time to hone up on our photography skills. Luckily, our friends at Creative Live are hosting their annual Photo Week this week, September 26 – 29.

    Photo Week 2016 is four days of photo education, brought to you through 24 live classes taught by top photographers and educators. It is geared toward people who are comfortable with the basics of photography and are looking to expand their knowledge base into more advanced techniques.

    Some of the classes we are really looking forward to include Brandon Stanton (the photographer behind the popular photo blog Humans of New York) discussing how his experiences have shaped his work as a storyteller, Vincent Laforet sharing ideas for how to move your business from stills to video, Jared Platt giving tips on a whole range of post-processing topics, and Chase Jarvis opening up about his experiences in the photo industry.

    As with all Creative Live classes, you can watch the live classes online for free. If watching the live class won’t fit into your schedule, you can purchase on-demand access so that you can watch it on your own time. The price for the entire week (including all 24 classes) is normally US $499, but they are offering it for US $199 for a limited time.

    But there’s more! DPReview readers can use the discount code ‘DPR10‘ to receive 10% off of any Creative Live class through December 31, 2016.

    Check out the Photo Week schedule to see what’s available. What looks interesting to you?


    From:: DPreview

    The 20 Best Films from The Golden Age of Japanese Cinema

    By Panos Kotzathanasis


    The 1950s are considered the Golden Age of Japanese cinema. The aftermath of World War II and particularly the atomic bomb, and the subsequent American occupation left the country scarred, but filled with inspiration and eagerness to start over.

    As the Japanese economy started to rise once more, five major studios emerged that shaped Japanese cinema. Toho, Daiei, Shochiku, Nikkatsu, and Toei hired the most gifted artists of the era and financed their movies, in a tactic that resulted in a plethora of masterpieces. In the process, they also made a lot of money, as the people, having their pockets filled due to the rapid economical growth, filled the cinemas.

    At the same time, the prowess of Japanese cinema became an international phenomenon, with films winning awards at Venice, Cannes, even the Oscars. Filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, and Masaki Kobayashi were acknowledged as Grand Masters, with their films of this decade still considered among the best of all time.

    Lastly, during this decade, the first color films were presented and a new genre was established that would later become one of the most popular in the country. It was named “Kaiju”, and its most renowned character was Godzilla.

    These are the 20 best productions of the decade. I have made an effort to place the titles in order of quality, but due to the number of masterpieces included, the order could easily be different.

    Note that although the last part of “The Human Condition” trilogy was released in 1961, it is included here, since I regard the trilogy as a single film.

    20. Carmen Comes Home (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1951)


    This musical comedy was the first Japanese film shot entirely in color, and celebrated Shochiku’s 30 years of operation.

    It was filmed using Fujicolor, and the company’s technicians advised that continue…

    From:: Taste Of Cinema

    YETI 1400 Lithium Solar Generator – Power Anything, Anywhere

    By Olaf von Voss

    YETI 1400

    For the last 8 years, US based company GoalZero has been on a mission: to bring power to the people, literally. Their latest product seems to be a real powerhouse for outdoor freaks and filmmakers alike: the YETI 1400 lithium solar generator is capable of storing a massive 1425Whr, and you can recharge it with solar power.

    The GoalZero YETI 1400 Lithium Solar Generator

    Shooting in the field isn’t much of an alien concept to most indie filmmakers. But what about powering some lights? Recharging your camera batteries and power-hungry drones? Keeping your laptop alive? This can be a real issue if you happen to be out, maybe even for a couple of days at a time.

    the GoalZero YETI 1400 lithium solar generator.

    The YETI 1400 might be the solution. It is a giant lithium battery with a lot of handy power outlets, such as:

    • 2x 110V AC
    • 4x 2.4A USB ports
    • 2x 6mm 12V ports
    • 1x car 12V port

    No product is perfect, and the YETI 1400 lithium is no exception. Coming in at 19kg (42 lbs), its downside is certainly its weight, but keep in mind that the YETI 1400 is capable of charging your average laptop 23+ times or running a 300W light for 4.5 to 5 hours. Quite handy indeed! The previous (currently available) models have lead acid batteries build it, that’s why they are even heavier while providing less capacity than these new lithium models.

    Its dimensions are: 10 x 14.7 x 10.5 in (25 x 37 x 27 cm).

    YETI 1400 and it’s smaller brother, the YETI 400 (left)

    There are different methods for charging the YETI 1400. In terms of eco-friendliness, the solar option might be the method of choice, although it is obviously the slowest, and you’ll also need a dedicated solar board by GoalZero. Otherwise, you can juice up continue…

    From:: Cinema 5d

    2017 Sony World Photography Awards accepting entries

    2017 Sony World Photography Award entries

    The Dinagyang Festival is a religious and cultural festival in Iloio City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January

    © Raniel Jose Castañeda, Philippines, Entry, Open, Culture, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

    The 2017 Sony World Photography Awards are open for business and accepting entries in four main competitions: Professional, Open, Youth and Student Focus. The Open competition includes 10 separate categories including Architecture, Street Photography and Wildlife, and Open competition entries are automatically submitted to an applicable National award.

    If you’re looking for some inspiration, you can find how one DPR regular took home a World Photo National prize last year, and flip through a selection of early entries here. Submissions will be accepted for the Open and National competitions until January 5, 2017.

    2017 Sony World Photography Award entries

    Bear Apartment Six. © Alexandra Cearns, Australia, Entry, Open, Enhanced, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

    Little bears can be very busy and the cub residents of Free the Bears Fund’s enclosure number six in Cambodia are no exception. ‘Bear Apartment Six’ is a composite print made up of 16 photographs taken by photographer Alex Cearns. The single images have been meticulously pieced together to form a visually enthralling scene of bustling bear activity, indicative of an apartment building. Photographed over 90 consecutive minutes in June 2016, three sun bear cubs are the stars of the show as they climb in and out of their den entrance. Cheeky, joyful and adorable, sometimes they’re solo and sometimes they’re with their bear buddies. Each bear was rescued from the illegal wildlife trade when they were only a few months old, and will now be in the care of Free The Bears for the rest continue…

    From:: DPreview

    Ep. 110: The Photokina 2016 Mega Episode – Part 2

    By Mike James

    Episode 110 of the PetaPixel Photography Podcast.
    Download MP3 Subscribe via iTunes or RSS!

    Featured: Brad Smith, former Sports Illustrated Director of Photography

    In This Episode

    If you subscribe to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast in iTunes, please take a moment to rate and review us and help us move up in the rankings so others interested in photography may find us.

    Sponsor: FreshBooks. Get your FREE 30 day trial at FreshBooks.com/PetaPixel and enter PetaPixel in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section.

    Former Sports Illustrated Director of Photography, Brad Smith opens the show. Thanks Brad!

    Lightroom gets a much-needed speed boost with Smart Previews. (#)

    Amazon ditches its $12/year unlimited storage…and finally launches a photo printing service to Shutterfly’s chagrin. (#)

    Panasonic reveals its upcoming GH5 body with stills and video features. (#)

    500+ million Yahoo! passwords were hacked…and why you need to change yours on Flickr and elsewhere ASAP. (#)

    Alien Skin releases its Exposure X2 software. (#)

    Flickr throws its Marketplace stock service overboard. (#)


    Connect With Us

    Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we continue…

    From:: Petapixel

    Medium Format the New 35mm?

    By Jon Fauer Medium Format for Still Photography cropped up as a major theme at Photokina 2016 in Cologne. This is the world’s largest photo trade fair in the world. It’s helpful for cineastes to watch what’s happening in the still world. After… read more… continue…

    From:: FD Times

    Watch: The Half-Haunted Creative Style of DP Darius Khondji

    By V Renée

    The best cinematographers are the ones that find balance.

    If you look at the filmography of DP Darius Khondji you’ll soon realize that has not only worked with some of the greatest directors of our time, including Woody Allen, David Fincher, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, but he has shot pretty much every genre imaginable. From horrific psycho thrillers (Seven) to quirky romantic comedies (Midnight in Paris), Khondji has brought his own unique creative sensibility, as well as his adept collaborative efforts, a half-haunted style that is explored in this video essay by Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow.

    Read More


    From:: No Film School

    Winners Announced! The cinema5D Photokina 2016 Audience Choice Awards.

    By Nino Leitner


    Photokina 2016 is coming to an end and what a show it has been for filmmakers! We asked you to chose your favourite filmmaking related products from a list of nominees. Now the voting is over and we have clear winners!

    Here are the results:

    We handed over the prizes to the representatives of the companies who we spoke to.

    1st Prize: Panasonic GH5

    We are happy to announce that Panasonic with their GH5 announcement won first prize. It’s true that technically it’s not a finished product but rather an announcement of some few specs – but the exciting thing about this is definitely Panasonic’s willingness to put 10-bit 4:2:2 color space in such a small interchangeable lens camera package.

    2nd Prize: Syrp Slingshot


    People also got very excited about the Syrp Slingshot, an affordable wirecam setup that many haven’t seen yet. Other more high-end solutions have been used on sports and nature films for years now, but this makes such a system more attainable for a lot of users.

    3rd Prize: GoPro Hero 5 & Karma System


    GoPro is back with their new Hero 5 camera and a whole system of usages for that camera (or their new Hero Session). The Osmo-like Hero-5-Grip is an additional use, as is their Karma drone, but how the GoPro products compare to the smart stuff coming out continue…

    From:: Cinema 5d

    The 30 Best J-Horror Films of All Time

    By Panos Kotzathanasis


    Probably the genre of Japanese cinema that has produced the most well-known contemporary Japanese films, J-horror brought to the forefront the style and aesthetics of the country, which have been somewhat forgotten after the V-cinema era. In the process, franchises that are still present were created, with their impact reaching Hollywood, which produced a number of remakes.

    However, the genre has been thriving in the country since the 1960s, although in a very different fashion and without the title that made it famous.

    Here is a list with 30 of the best films of the category, with a focus on diversion.

    30. Ringu 0: Birthday (Norio Tsuruta, 2000)


    The prequel of this story deals with Sadako’s story, as she tries to become a theater actress, after advice from her doctor who tries to find a cure for her constant nightmares. Due to her beauty and charisma, she soon becomes the star of the troupe, but strange occurrences start to happen as her powers are revealed.

    Hideo Nakata had already abandoned the trilogy, disappointed by the sequel, leaving it to Norio Tsuruta. However, the film was even worse than the second one, filled with clichés and drawing excessively from the original story. The result was, once again, quite horrifying, but the movie lacked the depth and originality of the first one.

    29. Carved: The Slit Mouthed Woman (Koji Shiraishi, 2007)


    Based on a Japanese urban legend, “Carved” is one of the most cult entries on this list, and part of a large franchise that currently features seven films.

    Decades ago, a spirit of a woman wearing a surgical mask terrorized a Japanese suburb, by asking people “Am I pretty?” before slaughtering them. Currently, similar incidents start happening again, and teachers and continue…

    From:: Taste Of Cinema

    I am a Dolly Grip

    By D I am a Dolly Grip. This means that I am an expert in camera movement. I have a highly developed sense of spacial relationships. I can stand an actor up and sit them down consistently. I can repeat a move down to the millisecond. I understand blocking. I know where a camera has to be to make the shot work even without staring into a monitor. If a camera operator asks me,”Can you boom up and push in at the same time?” my answer is, “Can you pan and tilt at the same time?” I can swing a Technocrane arm around inches over an actor’s head, land on a mark and repeat it precisely. That’s what I do. If you can’t do these things consistently, you are not a dolly grip. If your signature move is to park the dolly, grab an apple box, sit down and open a paper or Facebook, but you can’t stand up an actor, you are not a dolly grip. You are a pretender. And you make my job harder .Pushing dolly is a craft. It takes years,YEARS of work. You don’t learn it overnight. You don’t learn it by being the only guy available so you get the job. You learn it just like you learn anything else: repetition and time. It’s not about a bigger paycheck. It’s about the craft. Learn your craft. Learn your craft. LEARN YOUR FUCKING CRAFT. If you are too lazy or too stupid to learn the craft, then do something else. I am tired of going onto jobs with operators I have never worked with before and having to audition because they are used to working with crappy Dolly Grips. I should start each job with at least the assumption that I am a competent Dolly Grip. continue…

    From:: Dolly Grippery

    Pulling Focus: Johnny Guitar (1954)

    By Shane Scott-Travis


    “Johnny Guitar is surely one of the most blatant psychosexual melodramas ever to disguise itself in that most commodious of genres, the Western.”

    – Roger Ebert

    Anyone can play guitar

    “I’m gonna kill you,” spits a venomous Emma Small, played with evil élan by Mercedes McCambridge, to the legendary Joan Crawford (Forsaking All Others, Mildred Pierce) as Vienna—in a full blast conquering turn as a saloon proprietress in the centre of a cyclone of misgivings and bad blood in an Arizona cattle town. “I know,” she gamely quips,”if I don’t kill you first.”

    Their dealing is amidst several armed deputies and town folk eager to mete out frontier justice over a stagecoach robbery, with a controversial railroad project, a murder, and whispers of a long-since doomed love triangle all feeding into a fire of ferment and jealous suspicion that will likely reduce many to ashes.

    All this is only the flying-start to Nicholas Ray’s (In A Lonely Place, Rebel Without a Cause) avant-garde and oft-maligned revisionist Western from 1954, the singularly strange and impossibly cool Johnny Guitar.

    The two women, bête noire dames in an ancillary reversal of gender archetypes, abandon the typical Western forecast in roles heretofore deemed solely by men—as hero and villain—just one of many volte-face deviations in Ray’s misunderstood masterpiece.

    Vienna and Mercedes are to-the-death antagonists who, at a time prior to our story’s telling, shared a lover, the Dancin’ Kid, played by veteran tough guy cowboy actor Scott Brady (Canon City, He Walked By Night).

    There’s another inamorato gunslinger in the film, too, Sterling Hayden (Dr. Strangelove, The Godfather) as the eponymous Johnny “Guitar” Logan, and like his opposite number, Dancin’ Kid, these dominator male figures are little more than commodities; objects of female fancy in another annulment of societal norms, these recognizable leading men here are merely continue…

    From:: Taste Of Cinema