The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #174 – LED Lighting

Today on the podcast we are taking a last look at our series of commercials set in locker rooms, light with all LED lights, and shot on the Alexa LF with Arri Signature Primes.  I know many of you will be happy to see this series of breakdowns come to an end so let’s go out with a bang.

The brief for this ad was a smokey back alley poker game style with a bit of humor thrown in for good mix.  Let’s take a look at what went in to making this look a reality.

Enjoy the episode!

Patreon: Extensive Breakdowns of Your Work

If you enjoy these breakdown episodes and want more of them then Patreon is the place for you.  We are breaking down listener submitted projects and talking about all things lighting and camera.

This week we extend our look at a recent Spec ad shot by one of our Patreon members and go over the good and the bad.

To get your work featured on the show simply leave a link with a description in the comments section over on the Patreon home page.

You can find this week’s Patreon content by clicking the link below:

The Wandering DP Patreon Group

If you are a fan of the podcast and want more video content the patreon group is the place to be.  Each and every week I release an exclusive podcast, video, or live stream just for the Patreon members.

Patreon members also get access to the Private Facebook community for the show.  The podcast couldn’t exist without the Patreon support and I do my best to take care of the supporters.

Full Frame + LED Lighting – Don’t Fight the Funk

This commercial was all about the gear.  A relatively straight forward comedy spot but we tried to lift the level of the images by going with the Alexa LF and the Signature Primes.

Camera Gear:

Check out the gear I use on all of my commercial shoots by clicking the link below:

Wandering DP Commercial Cinematography Gear

The only kit not listed on that page is the set of Signature Primes and the Alexa LF.

For lighting we went all Kino LED.

The Spot – LED Lighting

Set Up #1 – The Moving Master

The Shots

The spot opens on 4 rugby players at a poker table in a dimly lit locker room..

The Lighting

The wide sets up our entire lighting approach for this spot.  The location dictated the fixtures we ended up using because of the lack of space as well as the layout of the locker room.  

We needed low profile fixtures that were easily color tuneable.  Enter the Kino Flo LEDs.  Light(ish) fixtures with enough output to get us to where we needed to be.

We used one Kino 850 over the top as our main light for the table then in the background we used some generic LED tubes as in shot practicals.  It would have been way easier to use the Astera Titan tubes but we shot this before those were out.

For the foreground element we added a smaller 450 Kino to help bring out the table.

Add a bunch of haze and that was it for the wides.

The Result

Behind the Scenes

Alexa LF – Full Frame

Set Up #2 – The 4 Shot

The Shots

We swap sides and punch in for a tighter 4 shot.

The Lighting

The overall lighting is the same with the addition of some smaller Kino 450 LEDs to edge out the players and create some depth plus some flags to keep the practical LEDs from ruining our contrast levels. 

The Result

Behind the Scenes

Alexa LF – Full Frame

Set Up #3 – In Tight

The Shot

The singles is where the DOF on the Alexa LF really starts to stand out.

The Lighting

We adjusted the existing fixtures from the previous set up and added another LED to act as a ctach light in the eyes.

The Result

Alexa LF – Full Frame

Set Up #4 – Another Single

The Shots

Matching the previous set up.

The Lighting

Same fixtures as above adjusted for the new camera position.

The Result

Alexa LF – Full Frame

Set Up #5 – The Last Single

The Shots

Matching the previous set up.

The Lighting

Same fixtures as above adjusted for the new camera position.

The Result

Shot #6 – The Coach Enters

The Shots

Matching the previous set up.

The Lighting

Same fixtures as above adjusted for the new camera position.

The Result

Shot #7 – In Close

Shot #8 – The Table

The post The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #174 – LED Lighting appeared first on Cinematography Podcast & Tutorials.

The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #173 – Jonathan Furmanski

Cinematographer Jonathan Furmanski is our guest on the show today.  Jonathan recently completed the feature film, Good Boys,  with director Gene Stupinksy and we chat about his experience on set, deciding on a camera package, and his specific workflow for getting the images he is after. 

Be sure to give Jonathan a follow over on instagram and check out a small selection of his work below.

Enjoy!

Patreon Podcast – Nothing Lasts Forever

The feature film breakdowns are no more over on the Patreon site.  The powers that be brought it all to a crashing halt but that hasn’t stopped us from pushing ahead with even more educational content.

We have started a new series taking an extensive look at Patreon members own projects.  We will look at the lighting, framing, composition and more just like our regular breakdown episodes but this time it is all about you.

I am excited about sharing Patreon members work with others and getting the word out on these projects.

To get access to the Bonus podcasts and check out the show notes for the breakdowns with all of the images discussed in them head over to the Wandering DP Patreon page.

The Wandering DP Patreon

Featured Guest – Jonathan Furmanski

Personal Website:  Jonathan Furmanski

Instagram: @kosherpork

The post The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #173 – Jonathan Furmanski appeared first on Cinematography Podcast & Tutorials.

The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #172 – Ross Emery ACS

Ross Emery ACS is our guest on the show today.  Ross has an enormous amount of experience at the very highest level of cinematography and we touch on his beginnings shooting 2nd Unit and go right through to the kinds of projects he is currently working on.

It as a real pleasure to chat with Ross and be sure to check out some of his work at the links below.

Enjoy!

Patreon Supporters: A Detailed Breakdown Podcast

This week over on Patreon we are continuing our long form breakdown of how we recently shot a feature film.

We are going over each day, each set up, each lighting challenge and discussing the good along with the bad.  If you ever wanted to know how a feature film gets made from a cinematographers point of view this is the show for you.

To follow along with the Feature Film journey  click the link below to check out the weekly breakdown podcast:

The Wandering DP Patreon

Featured Guest – Cinematographer Ross Emery ACS

Personal Website:  Ross Emery ACS

Instagram: @rossemeryacs

The post The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #172 – Ross Emery ACS appeared first on Cinematography Podcast & Tutorials.

The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #171 – Full Frame Capture

Super 35 who?

Resistance is futile…

With the recent announcement of the Alexa Mini LF and the other camera manufacturers already having their own version of larger than S35 sensors the age of full frame image capture is officially upon us.

While the Alexa LF may have cracked the door open for some productions to embrace full frame capture, the Mini will end up blowing the entire house down.  In this episode we will take an extensive look at a spot I shot using the Alexa LF and the Arri Signature Primes.  

There are pros and cons with any format change and we outline a few of the big ones in today’s show.

Enjoy the episode!

Patreon: Feature Film – The Final Countdown

The breakdowns are now coming thick and fast over on Patreon.  We are plowing through the schedule and looking at exactly what it takes to make a feature film and how the lighting approach chagnes based on scenes, timing, budget restrictions and more.

If you are interested in seeing what it takes to get a feature film in the can then this Patreon series is for you.

You can find this week’s Patreon Breakdown Podcast by clicking the link below:

The Wandering DP Patreon Group

If you are a fan of the podcast and want more video content the patreon group is the place to be.  Each and every week I release an exclusive podcast, video, or live stream just for the Patreon members.

Patreon members also get access to the Private Facebook community for the show.  The podcast couldn’t exist without the Patreon support and I do my best to take care of the supporters.

Alexa LF & Signature Primes – A World Apart

This commercial was all about the gear.  A relatively straight forward comedy spot but we tried to lift the level of the images by going with the Alexa LF and the Signature Primes.

Camera Gear:

Check out the gear I use on all of my commercial shoots by clicking the link below:

Wandering DP Commercial Cinematography Gear

The only kit not listed on that page is the set of Signature Primes and the Alexa LF.

For lighting we went all Kino LED.

Alexa LF – Large Format Cinematography

Set Up #1 – The White Wall Wide

The Shots

In the opening shot we see a sole rugby player snacking on something when another player enters from frame left.

The Lighting

This entire spot was LED and the main challenge for all the angles was keeping the ambient levels low enough to actually get some shape on the areas we wanted.

The white walls everywhere made it challenging as did the low ceilings and lack of any windows.

We used a variety of Kino LEDs kitted out with egg crates to help direct the level right where we needed it to sit.

The Result

Alexa LF – Full Frame

Set Up #2 – The First Single

The Shot

A classic single to deliver the comedic lines.

The Lighting

Here the full frame sensor of the LF really becomes apparent.  This is the 47mm somewhere near wide open and look at how much the BG falls away.  The depth of field is millimeters wide.

The lighting was the same as the previous shot but as we get tighter we can fly in some diffusion to help wrap the light to make it more pleasing.

The Result

Tech Scout Reference:

Full Frame Blow Up:

Set Up #3 – The Reverse

The Shot

Straight forward reverse of the previous set up.  Normally we would orbit around more to have a tighter eye line on the dialogue but in this case the more we came around the more we shot straight in to a white, boring wall.

The Lighting

Same set up as the wide but we moved the floor lamp camera left closer and angled it to get more wrap on the shadow side of his face.

The Result

Arri Alexa LF – Full Frame

Tech Scout Reference:

Set Up #4 – In Tight

The Shot

This was the hero shot for the gag of the ad.  

The Lighting

Nothing really changed from the previous single here for light.  It was just a change in distance of the subject relative to camera which then changes the out of focus characteristics.

The Result

Depth of Field

The post The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #171 – Full Frame Capture appeared first on Cinematography Podcast & Tutorials.

The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #170 – Kristofer Bonnell

Cinematographer Kristofer Bonnell sits down with us today to chat about his experience getting started in Canada, we take an extensive look at one of his most recent projects, and we talk about the business side of cinematography.

Kristofer has a range of interesting projects on his website so make sure you scroll down to check out some of the work mentioned in this episode and give him a follow on Instagram.

Hit the Hotline:

Hit the Hotline

Click the link below to leave your question or message for the show and get it featured on next week’s episode 

If you have questions or comments about the show that you want featured on future episodes hit the button below to leave a voice recording.  

We go through and listen to all the messages each week and we will do our best to get your recording featured on next week’s episode.

Feature Film Podcast – The Days Go By

Our detailed look at what it takes to put a feature film together is continuing over on Patreon this week.  For the most in depth cinematography break downs make sure you head over to the Wandering DP Patreon site and check it out.

To follow along with the Feature Film journey the link below to check out the weekly podcast:

The Wandering DP Patreon

Featured Guest – Cinematographer Kristofer Bonnell

Personal Website:  Kristofer Bonnell

Instagram: @kristoferbonnell

The post The Wandering DP Podcast: Episode #170 – Kristofer Bonnell appeared first on Cinematography Podcast & Tutorials.

Otto Nemenz

Take 40

Innovator / Otto Nemenz

ONI_TRIO(2)

Take 40

Innovator / Otto Nemenz

Header Image (l-r): Fritz Heinzle, Marketing Manager; Otto Nemenz, Founder; Alex Wengart, General Manager

Although we like to think of innovation often as a “light bulb” moment for the innovator (perhaps an “LED moment,” in the world of modern filmmaking), for Otto Nemenz, the name behind Hollywood’s legendary camera shop Otto Nemenz International, or ONI, that innovation may have been innate.

Though Austrian by birth, Otto Constantin Nemenz spent the bulk of his childhood in Istanbul, raised by his mother. The multilingual Nemenz helped his grandmother write and translate the real estate offers she did business in – for his own 10% cut. And later, when the American Fleet would arrive, he’d leave school – without his mother knowing – to offer his services as a tour guide and interlocutor. The chocolates and chewing gum they gave him were sold, in turn, for additional profit.

He learned something else growing up near a port, too: that he loved being in sight of the ocean. And now, in the 40th year of overseeing his own company, he gets to enjoy a couple of distinct views of the Pacific: one from his home in Maui (his company also has a Hawaiian location, along with outlets in Utah and increasingly-busy Atlanta), and the other from his backyard atop the hills in Pacific Palisades.

It was there we caught up with him, after just returning from the Islands, while he mused again about how much he cherished those ocean views. He is also cherishing the view looking back on a storied career that has also included the founding of Cine Gear, a Sci Tech Oscar, and an award of distinction from the ASC.

Unknown

Armed with an optical engineering degree after college, Otto and his first wife eventually made their way to America, alighting briefly in New York. But it didn’t provide those balmy beaches that Otto missed from his own childhood, and Hollywood’s siren song lured them further west.

The ambitious young engineer found himself responding to what he thought was an appointment at Panavision in the early 1960s, only to be told – in those days before such responses were emailed – that they’d keep his resume “on file,” but had nothing for him at that particular moment.

Dejected, he made his way back to the battered car he’d parked in the rear of the lot, and our story might have ended there, except that Panavision co-founder and head, Bill Gottschalk, roared into the lot in a 1962 Cadillac which Nemenz recognised, and soon a chat about the car’s specs led to talk about optical and lens specs. Nemenz was now presenting himself as an Austrian engineer specialising in “precision mechanics,” which led to him being taken back into the building, where he wound up with an entry level job cleaning and organising filters.

Unknown-1

A few dropped filters later, they were still willing to nurture Nemenz’s talents, and he spent the next year honing them as a camera technician.

This not only led him to purchasing his first Eclair camera – the nub of the business he’d launch by decade’s end – but also to a job on the James Garner-starring Grand Prix (1966, dir. John Frankenheimer, DPs Lional Lindon/Saul Bass) to be shot in Europe. “I sold myself as an optical technician,” he says, and went on to help wrangle the 20 or so Panavision cameras deployed on the shoot, along with the 65mm zooms being used.

“I started freelancing after that,” he recounts, but what he also did was start gathering up equipment – tripods, film heads, and a fleet of 16mm Eclairs. “Mine were the best maintained, and the quietest, too.” And he began renting them out from his garage. That is, “until my neighbours got upset.”

Tom Hanks presents Otto Nemenz with an Academy Sci Tech Award for the Canon/Nemenz Zoom Lens
Tom Hanks presents Otto Nemenz with an Academy Sci Tech Award for the Canon/Nemenz Zoom Lens

“An ongoing industriousness [from Otto] has included, among other innovations, customising a Canon stills photography lens that the legendary Haskell Wexler ASC brought to him, saying he loved it, “but I can’t zoom with it.””

From there, it was a move to 1,000 square feet on Sunset Boulevard, in 1979 – thus making this the 40th anniversary year. And Nemenz notes that his first employee, Alex Wengart – still the general manager of ONI – “has been there longer than me, because I was late the first day!”

But as the second-longest tenured worker in his own company, Nemenz has more than made up for it with an ongoing industriousness that has included, among other innovations, customising a Canon stills photography lens that the legendary Haskell Wexler ASC brought to him, saying he loved it, “but I can’t zoom with it.”

Machining their own parts, the eventual Canon/Nemenz Zoom Lens would be the one that brought the company its Sci Tech award. Numerous film credits include classics like Terminator: Judgment Day (1991, dir. James Cameron, DP Adam Greenberg ASC), Fargo (1996, dir Joel Coen, DP Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC), which started a relationship with the Coen Bros. that continues through The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs (2018, dirs. Ethan & Joel Coen, DP Bruno Delbonnel AFC ASC), various Fast & Furious installments, and TV shows too numerous to mention.

Otto_Cake_Cut

As for the future – the next forty-plus years – ONI will be leaving its storied Vine Street locale, having maxed-out the space, for 40,000 square feet in booming Culver City, closer to where the former MGM, now Sony, is located, and where an expanding Apple – which also started in a garage, just like Otto – will be joining an ever-expanding array of other tech and showbiz brands.

And of course, there’ll be an expanded machine shop, which Nemenz says he “loves having.” They may not manufacture cameras as such, but they can “make the camera the way you want it.”

And people have been wanting them for a very long time. And the company will still be “part of the Westside,” Nemenz allows. “It’s a good place to be.” He also allows that they’ll even be that much closer to the ocean – where the view keeps pointing to new journeys ahead.


The post Otto Nemenz appeared first on British Cinematographer.

Aaron Rogers

Cooking up looks

Meet the New Wave / Aaron Rogers

Sara's Fav

Cooking up looks

Meet the New Wave / Aaron Rogers

Filmography (so far): Shorts – Pommel (2018), Last Christmas (2018), Thinking In Time (2018), Pollution Of The Heart (2016), Last Leg (2015)

When did you discover you wanted to be a cinematographer?

When I was 16, I studied film and TV production at South Downs College in Portsmouth. I watched an Australian short film called Apricot, directed by Ben Briand and shot by Adam Arkapaw. It’s beautiful and the cinematography stood out to me. I then wanted to know everything there was about the role.

Where did you train?

Ravensbourne, but I was the worst student. I spent the whole three years working in the industry as a spark, working on everything I possibly could, whilst doing most of the coursework online.

 What are your favourite films, and why?

Se7en (1995, dir. David Fincher, DP Darius Khondji AFC ASC) – my No.1 movie. The stunning lighting and unique compositions blew my mind.

True Detective – season one (2014, multiple dirs., DPs Nigel Bluck, Adam Arkapaw, Germain McMicking) – the most captivating performances and filmmaking in a series.

Tyrannosaur (2011, dir. Paddy Considine, DP Erik Wilson) – a brutal but somehow beautiful account of a character, played by Peter Mullan.

Screen Shot 2019-01-26 at 09.29.08

What’s the best advice you were ever given, and from whom?

“The role of a DP is 70/30. 70% diplomacy, politics and communication, 30% skill and ability. So, be nice, work hard and play the long game, because people will remember if you are unpleasant.” Aaron John Walters, gaffer.

Who are your DP/industry heroes?

Darius Khonji AFC ASC – Se7en is a remarkable piece of work, and every time I watch it, it still blows me away. Darius’s lighting is impeccable along with his ability to capture intense moments within a story with class and intimacy.

Seamus McGarvey BSC ASC – there is an elegance to Seamus’s lighting and camera-work that I find mesmerizing.

Eben Bolter BSC – Eben grew up in the same area of South East England as me and I’ve always looked up to his wonderfully varied and beautiful cinematography, along with his work ethic. I’d love to follow a similar path.

Khalid Montaseb – the visceral and atmospheric imagery that Khalid creates encourages me to push for my own sensibilities, and to be proud of my voice as a cinematographer.

Have you won any awards or received any nominations?

I won my first award as a 2018 BSC Emerging Cinematographer for the short film Pommel, directed by Paris Zarcilla.

What’s your proudest moment?

BSC Emerging Cinematographer Award. Getting signed to Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, and this article.

Pommel” itemprop=”image” height=”1124″ width=”2000″ title=”WhatsApp Image 2019-01-25 at 13.35.38″ srcset=”https://britishcinematographer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/WhatsApp-Image-2019-01-25-at-13.35.38.jpg 2000w, https://britishcinematographer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/WhatsApp-Image-2019-01-25-at-13.35.38-300×169.jpg 300w, https://britishcinematographer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/WhatsApp-Image-2019-01-25-at-13.35.38-1024×575.jpg 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 2000px) 100vw, 2000px”>
Shooting the short Pommel

What’s the worst knock-back/rejection you ever had?

There have been many. However, I always try to convert them into constructive learning experiences.

What have been your best/worst moments on-set?

Best: I shot the short Pommel, a year or so ago and loved every minute of it. It was extremely challenging but definitely the most rewarding film I’ve had the pleasure to work on. Pommel was based upon a true story and we were working with two young gymnasts, Michael and William, who played our protagonists. On more than one occasion I remember being in the middle of a scene and welling-up in the eyepiece. The atmosphere on-set the moment we ran a take was extraordinary and my director, Paris Zarcilla, was exceptional to work with.

Worst: On one of my first productions as a spark trainee, I ran 100ft of 63a cable the wrong way round, in a slate quarry in Wales in the sideways rain. Then had to swap the ends around with everyone watching. Luckily, the DP thought it was funny.

What was the biggest challenge on your latest production?

Attempting to track an ECU of an Olympic rower, on the tightest end of the Optimo 24-290, with a doubler, whilst he was rowing at full pelt along a canal in Manchester, with no time to practice as the wind was picking up.

Tell us your most hilarious faux pas?

On my first feature we were doing a lot of long days and early starts. I woke up one morning feeling delirious and I had a moment of utter madness. I thought it would be funny to pour a splash of boiling hot water from the kettle on the hand of my loader, Austin Phillips at breakfast. Somehow, we are now really great friends and he tells me he still sees the funny side!?

Away from work, what are your greatest passions?

My wife, and our miniature Dachshund.

Screen Shot 2019-01-26 at 09.34.05

“I adore lighting – when you spend X amount of time prepping a lighting set-up based upon notes and references from your director and then move on to developing that into a reality with your trusting gaffer.”

– Aaron Rogers

What one piece of kit could you not live without?

Light metre (for finesse), and Easy Rig (to save my back).

Which films are you most proud of to date?

Pommel. Last Leg. And the music video for Metaxas titled “Sirens”.

What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever shot in?

Kliptown in Johannesburg, at an outdoor bar location which also served as a barber shop, chapel, scrapyard and small farm for animals yet to be thrown on the BBQ.

What’s the hardest shot/thing you’ve had to light/frame?

I shot a Polish speaking short in Warsaw where I had to light a staircase for an aerial night shot from the top looking down. We wanted it to be dramatic and the whole film was super-stylised so we chose a mixture of Peacock blue (moonlight) and Hi Sodium (urban street light) as our palette. We employed an array of Tungsten Fresnels (300-2K) either direct or bounced into mirrors/poly to hide the fixtures in the little space that we had on each floor.

Tell us your hidden talent/party trick?

I know my way around a pre-1970s narrowboat engine (used to live on one).

In the entire history of filmmaking, which film would you love to have shot?

Se7en (1995, dir. David Fincher, DP Darius Khondji AFC ASC)

What are your current top albums?

‘Hounds Tooth’ – Dope Lemon; ‘Chiaroscuro’ – Ocean Alley; ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ – The Wombats.

AAR_Headshot

Can you tell us your greatest extravagance?

Food… so much food!

What’s the best thing about being a DP?

I adore lighting. When you spend X amount of time prepping a lighting set-up based upon notes and references from your director and then move on to developing that into a reality with your trusting gaffer. It’s the moment the director sees my interpretation of their vision on the monitor for the first time, and their reaction, plus my relief, once they tell me how much they love it.

What’s the worst thing about being a DP?

When the above doesn’t have the desired outcome…!

Give us three adjectives that best describe you and your approach to cinematography?

Adaptive. Supportive. Emotive.

If you weren’t a DP, what job would you be doing now?

Chef. I will go to culinary school some day. 100%.

What are your aspirations for the future?

To continue to do my absolute best on every project and remain open-minded, positive and respected by my peers and heroes.


The post Aaron Rogers appeared first on British Cinematographer.

Mike Eley BSC “Works Of Heart”

Works Of Heart

President’s Perspective / Mike Eley BSC

TWC_D01_128.CR2

Works Of Heart

President’s Perspective / Mike Eley BSC

The greatest film ever made? For much of the twentieth century it was universally acknowledged to be Citizen Kane. And in the making of that classic, Orson Welles recognised the essential truth of cinema by paying Gregg Toland ASC the highest industry compliment in sharing his screen title card with his cinematographer.

The new genius of cinema grasped instinctively an essential fact; that it’s all about where you put the camera, frame the action and light the story. Orson discovered very quickly that he wasn’t in the theatre anymore. Fade to black.

Fade up. The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences had been making not-so-discreet plans to cull technical categories from the live broadcast of the 2019 Oscars to bring the televised show in under three hours and, therefore, boost viewing figures and increase advertising revenue. Like its plan to create a whole new category (Best Popular Film), it had been hoped by many that this idea would fall by the wayside. Sadly, it didn’t.

Thus, we had the Academy announcing, just two weeks before the event, that the categories of cinematography, editing, live-action short and make-up & hair-styling would not be broadcast live but, instead, be recorded, edited and inserted into the live broadcast at some juncture of the evening (the ceremony would be available later on-line ‘uncut’, apparently).

Cue, a heartening and gut-led response to what, at best, could be termed an unconscious slight toward those who have devoted their lives and passions to their profession.

I don’t think we can doubt the Academy’s best intentions to please everyone involved. Every editorial sleight-of-hand would have made it appear as if the ceremony was one continuous live broadcast, slipping seamlessly from one category to another. “The viewing public would never have noticed the difference”, was a phrase used to defend AMPAS’s move. Perhaps not, but symbolically it was depressing and, for cinematographers especially, a marker as to where we sit in the purview of those overseeing our industry.

It was always about the showbiz, of course, but didn’t Hollywood use to revel in the reputation of its technicians and artists alike? The catalogue of movies depicting, often self-consciously and self-referentially, Hollywood’s backlot culture is evidence of that. The Dream Factory knew its entirety was its allure, its magic. And it was all shot through the prism, literally, of the camera.

“Now is the time, surely, that the BBC and BAFTA, inspired by AMPAS’s moment of reflection, get their act together and face up to their responsibilities. Honour and recognise properly and publicly, the men and women who create the images that make up the industry they represent.”

– Mike Eley BSC

It’s worth noting that AMPAS’s move, had it gone ahead (although they reversed their decision within a week of publicising it), would have been far less clumsy (and, quite frankly, more respectful) than BAFTA’s annual end-of-show debacle where it fast-shuffles through what it deems items still outstanding.

Now is the time, surely, that the BBC and the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, inspired by AMPAS’s moment of reflection, get their act together and face up to their responsibilities. Honour and recognise properly and publicly, the men and women who create the images that make up the industry they represent.

Both corporation and Academy should do this if only for the sake of diversity. If honoured equally, the position, be it cinematographer, production designer, editor or any other deemed below-the-line, becomes more visible and more likely to spark enquiry from those curious about a place in the industry (they’ll learn soon enough it isn’t all red carpets and call-ups to the stage, but by then they’ll be inspired by something more substantial). How many young women, for instance, are aware of the legion of women editors in the annals of moviemaking?

It cannot be just about the stars. Look up the definition of ‘academy’ and you will see the word ‘promote’. Where is the promotion in “… and other awards given out earlier in the evening included…”?

As I write, the 91st Academy Awards have yet to happen, but the first BSC Awards have. I was unable to attend due to work commitments but I sincerely wish I had been there. By all accounts it was a memorable and successful evening which saw the society’s honours presented in a fashion that I hope will become the norm. It was a proud night for the BSC and testament to the hard work and diligence of the BSC’s Events Committee that played midwife to what, I’m sure, will become a date of note in the awards season.

The society’s motto, ‘Preserving The Vision’, could have been coined for the film that picked up Best Cinematography In A Feature Film that night. Roma, photographed by its director, Alfonso Cuarón, is a loving recreation of a childhood – beautiful, elegant, human and humane. A worthy winner among a startlingly strong nominee list, the sort of shortlist that gives one heart for the state of cinematography today.

I’ll give the last word to Alfonso’s compatriot, Guillermo del Toro, who commented the week of the AMPAS controversy. It’s worth seeing in print again, and perhaps should be engraved on Academy walls: “Cinematography and editing are at the very heart of our craft. They are not inherited from a theatrical or literary tradition: they are cinema itself.”

Mike Eley BSC
President
British Society Of Cinematographers


The post Mike Eley BSC “Works Of Heart” appeared first on British Cinematographer.

Inside The New Issue: 93

Feast your eyes on the new edition of British Cinematographer magazine – digitally* via our website, or in print**, from 16th May 2019 onwards.


On the Cover
George Richmond BSC
on Rocketman

In our latest cover feature, George Richmond BSC speaks to us about teaming up again with director Dexter Fletcher to style the visuals on the musical fantasy of Elton John’s life, Rocketman.

Richmond, son of the renowned cinematographer Anthony Richmond BSC ASC, tells us about the movie’s journey of colour, the joy of being free to be whacky and experimental during the production, and the challenge of shooting the entire film in just 60 days.


Alan Stewart on Aladdin

Having served his time on a variety of second unit work and shooting under many leading cinematographers, Alan Stewart has taken the lead to create the visuals on the live-action remake of Disney’s 1992 animated film Aladdin.

He reveals his thoughts on stepping up to the top role, how a variety of locations were utilised for shooting, and why he and his crew graded as they went along.

 

Gavin Finney BSC on Good Omens

Having previously worked on three other Terry Pratchett fantasy novels adapted for TV mini-series, Gavin Finney BSC took on Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s collaborative novel Good Omens for Amazon Prime/BBC.

Finney tells British Cinematographer why the look is best described as ‘hyper-real’, how the sheer complexity of the story required numerous period moods in the grade, and the situations where Lester Dunton’s projection system proved invaluable.

 

Maja Zamojda BSC on The Spanish Princess

A graduate of NFTS and a former British Cinematographer ‘New Wave’ inductee (BC72), Maja Zamojda BSC took on the role of shooting Starz’s production The Spanish Princess.

She discusses the inspirations of Atonement, The Revenant and Marie Antoinette, how a tricky tonal balance was achieved, and the benefits of using a lot of colour contrast.

 

Don’t Miss…

Plenty more soundbites, comment and opinion from productions by Nancy Schreiber ASC, Michael Coulter BSC and former ‘New Wave’ inductee David Procter.

Learn more about gaffer Lee Knight, aspiring cinematographer Ann Evelin Lawford, Jeremy Braben’s Helicopter Film Services and LED fixture-maker LiteGear.

And that’s not mentioning opinion from Roy H Wagner ASC, BSC president Mike Eley’s column, a round-up of the 2019 NAB show, our regular comprehensive guide to which DPs are shooting who and where, and more…

A subscription is still the only way to read the complete British Cinematographer, so buy one today to fully experience Europe’s No.1 cinematography magazine.


ISSUE 93:
AVAILABLE ONLINE* AND IN PRINT** FROM 16TH MAY 2019 ONWARDS.

* With an active ‘Digital Only’ subscription, or the digital part of an active ‘Print & Digital’ subscription.

** Issue 93 will only be received in printed format by those with an active ‘Print’ or ‘Print & Digital’ subscription purchased before 7th May 2019. Any new ‘Print’ or ‘Print & Digital’ subscription purchases made from 7th May 2019 onwards, will NOT receive this issue in print as part of their purchase. Eligible subscribers should expect to receive their copy within 7 days of the release date if in the UK, and 14 days if overseas.

 

The post Inside The New Issue: 93 appeared first on British Cinematographer.

Roy Wagner ASC shoots Stand! with Blackmagic Design cameras

Cinematographer Roy H. Wagner ASC shot the upcoming musical drama Stand! using several Ursa Mini Pro cameras for principal photography, along with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K for select shots.

The story of Stand! revolves around the general strike that occurred in Winnipeg in 1919, an event that inspired such modern causes as the Occupy movement, as well as many union efforts throughout history. Directed by Robert Adetuyi, the movie uses a musical format to tell a “Romeo & Juliet” style love story set in the violent events of the era. Starring Gregg Henry, Laura Wiggins, Marshall Williams and Hayley Sales, Stand! is slated for release in 2019.

Shot on location in Winnipeg, Wagner knew he would need a reliable camera system that could withstand the rigours of location shooting, whilst also being easy-to-use.

“This is a camera I’ve done extensive tests with and have found it incredibly competitive with the most expensive camera systems,” he says. “The crew had never used the camera before, and yet were able to pull a brand new camera out of its case and have it fully-prepped within three days.”

The style of photography called for dynamic lighting contrast, deeply detailed shadows and brilliant highlights, requiring a camera with enormous exposure latitude.

“What amazed me when shooting with the Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro,” said Adetuyi, “was that it allowed us to get into low-light situations and still capture really thick, rich blacks. We went for a very aggressive style, and the images allowed us a lot of latitude for interpretation in post production.”

Wagner was also happy with the detail in the shadows. “The resolution, the sharpness, the dynamic range, will please any demanding cinematographer. We were filming with atmospheric smoke, filming through layers of lace and open weave material that would have caused aliasing with other cameras.”

The project put a high demand on unique imagery, both for its period setting and also its musical style. “It was a great challenge to capture 1919 in its fullness, yet tell a poignant and dramatic story, and Roy created such beautiful images,” says Adetuyi. “There were a lot of typical issues with time that meant the cameras were under combat style conditions. We never waited for camera problems nor was I ever told I couldn’t accomplish a difficult task. The cameras were incredibly light and small enough to place wherever I needed.”

Wagner’s experience helped him to develop a unique style that was not afraid of contrast, yet embraced the story within the imagery. Wagner has driven the visuals of such diverse and innovative shows as CSI, House and Elementary. He is a multiple Emmy Award-winner, and is a member of both the ASC as well as being an honorary fellow of The British Royal Photographic Society.

Wagner has seen the transition from photochemical film to digital, and was deeply involved in early development of high definition imaging, photographing Pasadena, the very first dramatic episodic network television series in HD. Whilst always eager to embrace new technologies, he has not always been pleased with the results.

“I’ve done extensive tests with the Ursa Mini Pro and knew I was able to let the highlights overexpose and then bring them back in post production,” explained Wagner. “I could expose for the shadows and print for the highlights, which is what we used to do with the photochemical process. I was astonished at how it reproduces skin tone. I’m not having to use cosmetic rouge on the keylight, like I’ve had to do with virtually every other digital camera.

“Most modern cameras are like using medical devices. I’m having to put a great deal of diffusion in front of the lens, or something between the lens and the sensor in order to protect the actors. That was not the case with this camera. The filtration choices I made were creative.”

Wagner concludes, “This camera loves what’s in front of it, and gives me a chance to be an artist again. It can compete with any camera on the market now. But most of all, I’m excited about Blackmagic Design team because they love cinematography as much as I do.”

 

The post Roy Wagner ASC shoots Stand! with Blackmagic Design cameras appeared first on British Cinematographer.

My Journey in Photographing the Northern Lights

In December 2014, I decided that I wanted to practice shooting the night sky in order to expand my photography skills. Of course, I made every possible mistake. My compositions were completely off, I severely underexposed or blew out the sky and the images were not sharp.

At the end of that month, I headed out again determined to fix all my mistakes. I had learned that in order to nail my compositions, it was wise to shoot a few seconds at highest possible ISO and use those exposures to adjust my comp. When I examined my first shot from that evening, I saw greens in-camera. My first thought was: “What have I done wrong now?” Then it hit me like a hammer — aurora! I had no idea we could get aurora this far south in Norway. Fresh as I was, I had no knowledge about Kp values or aurora forecast services.

To say that I cried when it dawned upon me that I had stumbled upon aurora would be an exaggeration, but that my eyes became filled with tears is true.

My first aurora image:

*Moonlight Shadows.’ ISO 3200, f/4–30 secs, 16mm

There was moonlight that evening, but I, of course, blew out the moon. The moon here is added in post, placed approximately where the original moon was located in the sky. If I had edited this image today, I would have done things differently — with more subtlety. And there is too much magenta in the snow.

During my first night’s outings, I had learned the hard way that if I underexposed I would have a hard time picking up the shadows without being left with a lot of noise and magenta color cast. After each shot, I now carefully examined the histogram making sure I hadn’t blown out the highlights and that I had enough shadow detail to play with.

Those evenings out training, I had also been reminded about my fear of the dark. That fear somehow vanished or was forgotten when I now stood in the midst of something so amazing it defied words.

A little later that evening:

‘Double Cross.’ ISO 3200, f/2.8–25 secs, 16mm

My first attempts at editing this image were small catastrophes. Back then, photographer Ivan Maigua did very well on 500px and was one of my great inspirations – it was beyond me how someone could create such striking and beautiful images. So when he said yes to edit one of my images from this evening I was super happy. Of course, Ivan had a few tricks up his sleeve and made this scene come alive. Most importantly, he generously shared his approaches with me. Enlightened, I again embarked on the project editing this image.

After that day, I learned to keep a keen eye on aurora forecasts and headed out every time we had a clear sky and the forecast predicted Kp5 or higher.

Fast forward to the beginning of September 2015, and the forecast predicted around Kp6. That evening offered the strongest display of aurora I had ever witnessed up to that point. The colors were breathtaking. I could see the greens and now and then outbursts of magentas, but the bluish/purple tones were hidden in the dark something which resulted in not few ‘wow’ moments when I later examined the raw files. The camera sensor picked up the colors I couldn’t see.

‘The Embrace.’ ISO 3200, f/2.8–25 secs, 15mm

We also had a very strong outburst in December. That evening the moon cast a golden glow across the landscape. The snow fell late that year, but patches of ice had formed on the lake.

‘Ethereal.’ ISO 100, f/2.8–20 secs, 15mm

By now I had learned to blend exposures in Photoshop and always shot extra exposures for the shadows making sure that my main exposure hadn’t blown out highlights. It was often hard for someone who still struggled with paranoia in the dark waiting for a two-minute, or at times four-minute, exposure for the shadows to run its time.

One of my most popular aurora images to date was shot in the middle of March 2016. I had spotted an opening in the ice a week prior and hoped that I somehow could take advantage of it. Great was my luck when the forecast predicted aurora. I had the moon behind me. It opened up the shadows, but also to a certain degree unfortunately washed out the colors in the sky.

‘Euphoria.’ ISO 3200, f/4–20 secs, 15mm

April 2017. The aurora wasn’t very strong but I headed out anyway. I had gotten the Pentax K-1 a few months before and I was curious if it, like my former camera, would leave me with tons of magenta in the shadows if I pushed the files. It didn’t.

‘Polarization.’ ISO 6400, f/2.8–30 secs, 15mm

Approximately half a year later, and I was on my way to bed. The forecast had predicted a possible aurora but I wasn’t motivated to head out, not in the least because I had classes the next morning. Before wrapping myself in the duvet I peeked out the window. Was it greens I saw above the hill? I ran down, grabbed my camera, ran up the stairs again and shot an ISO 24600, 2-second handheld exposure to check if my eyes served me right. They did.

I got dressed again, said goodnight to my wife, and drove as fast as I could to the lake. It was interesting to note how swiftly motivation returned.

‘Visitation.’ ISO 6400, f/2.8–20 secs, 15mm. Shadows: ISO 3200, f/2.8–80 secs

The last time I shot the northern lights was at the beginning of May 2018. Around 30 minutes after midnight, it was sufficiently dark to get decent shots. I intentionally underexposed this image with around two stops to see what the Pentax K-1 Mark II was capable of. It did very well.

‘Final Visitation.’ ISO 1600, f/2.8–25 secs, 15mm

This past year could be summarized like this: Kp5 or higher: overcast. Clear sky: Kp1/Kp2.

But there is something utterly magical about standing under an aurora-colored sky, and one can easily become addicted to such magic.


About the author: Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a landscape photographer and math teacher from Norway. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Skjelstad’s work on his website, Flickr, 500px, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

Yes, The Huawei P30 Pro Can Shoot the Milky Way (and Even Meteors)

My Huawei P30 Pro arrived at 4:30 pm on April 6th, and I knew the night sky in Mersing would be amazing for me to try out this low-light beast. I had read a lot of good reviews on P30 Pro, but I was still skeptical, so I booked a room at my regular resort on the same day and drove 3 hours to get there.

I arrived at midnight and waited patiently for 2.5 hours before I whipped out my P30 Pro and took a snapshot of my resort. Lo and behold! The Milky Way was visible!

Milky Way above my resort, taken with Huawei P30 Pro

To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be so easy! All I did was to point and shoot handheld in Photo mode (Master AI enabled automatically) and let P30 Pro perform its magic. Many of my friends asked me what I did to the image, and some even thought I had brightened it, but nope! I did nothing. Nothing at all. Here are more images of my attempts, handheld and unedited.

I also decided to try shooting star trails with it, and I’m happy with the result. I had to stop the shoot after around 32 minutes because I saw a car turning in.

Star Trails with Huawei P30 Pro

I’ve also tried shooting the Milky Way in Night Mode but the image quality is not as good as those taken in Photo mode.

After I proved to myself that Milky Way can be photographed handheld with my Huawei P30 Pro in Mersing, Malaysia, I convinced myself that it would be worth bringing the smartphone on my astrophotography trip to Mount Bromo from May 3rd through 6th. And because I think capturing Milky Way and auroras with it is a little too mainstream now, I decided to try and see if I could capture faint meteors and produce a near-DSLR quality Milky Way images with it so I can fill my camera bag with snacks instead.

I’ve captured many Eta Aquarid meteors with my trusty DSLR at Bromo over the past 8 years but I haven’t done any yet with a smartphone, so it would be a first for me.

While my friends were busy setting up their DSLRs, I was busy setting up my P30 Pro on my tripod (which didn’t take long). You might be wondering why I didn’t try to shoot the meteors handheld. Well, photographing the meteors is unlike photographing the Milky Way, for obvious reasons. I don’t know when and where the Eta Aquarid meteors will appear and so I have to mount my P30 Pro on a tripod as I can’t hold it with my hands all night.

So, I installed an app called Intervalometer and activated it, causing my P30 Pro to keep shooting according to the exposure time and interval I set. At around 4:33 am on May 5th, a faint Eta Aquarid meteor finally appeared above the active volcano, Mount Bromo, during the blue hour before sunrise and my almighty P30 Pro managed to capture it! I used its ultra-wide angle lens on Pro mode (ISO 3200 and shutter speed 30s) to do the job.

The bright “star” near the Galactic Center of the Milky Way is actually the planet Jupiter. The light pollution below the fog came from the jeeps making their way to the peak to catch the beautiful sunrise.

Eta Aquarid Meteor above Mount Bromo with Huawei P30 Pro

It’s extremely noisy, but it’s never an issue to me because most unprocessed astro images are noisy anyway. So I took 20 images taken with P30 Pro and stacked them to reduce the noise and you can see the result below. It’s amazing.

Comparison between a noisy and a denoised Milky Way image taken with Huawei P30 Pro.

Now, this is acceptable to me considering that I’ve only used 20 images to denoise it. I didn’t remove the little vegetation below so as to show you that the image was taken from the same spot as the noisy image above. And here’s the final denoised image

05 May 2019 – Milky Way above Mount Bromo with Huawei P30 Pro – Denoised.

The faint Eta Aquarid meteor is not in the image now, and that’s because I used the ‘median’ stacking mode — an object that is moving and only visible in one frame will likely ‘vanish’. Any object that’s not moving or moving very slowly, like the light pollution from the jeeps below the fog, will likely remain there.

Milky Way above Mount Bromo with Huawei P30 Pro
Mount Bromo Star Trails with Huawei P30 Pro
Comet Star Trails above Mount Bromo with Huawei P30 Pro

Overall, I find the astrophotography images from P30 Pro to be acceptable, but I would still prefer to use a DSLR for a serious shoot. But then again, the best camera is the one you have with you.


About the author: Justin Ng is an award-winning photographer based in Singapore. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. His work has been published in publications such as BBC, CNN, National Geographic, Yahoo!, Space.com, EarthSky, and UniverseToday. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here and here.

This iPhone Slow-Mo Shot from a Car Makes the World Look Frozen

Here’s a neat slow-motion video shot on an iPhone from inside a moving car. The birds in the sky are seemingly frozen in time, making it look like the world outside has come to a standstill.

Davi Junior of Brazil was traveling from Orlando to Miami on Florida’s Turnpike when he noticed the birds circling overhead. He pulled out his iPhone 8 and shot a clip at 1080p and 240 frames per second, and this video is what resulted.

And in case you’re wondering, the car wasn’t shattering the speed limit for the video: Junior says the driver was only going about 70-80mph.


Image credits: Video by Davi Junior and used with permission

Review: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 is a Portrait Zoom with Endless Flexibility

Back in February, Tamron announced the development of three new lenses: the 35mm f/1.4 for DSLRs, the 17-28mm f/2.8 for Sony FE, and the 35-150mm f/2.8-4 for DSLRs. We just received the 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD for Nikon F mount to test out for a few days. It’s always exciting to test out new gear, and especially exciting when it’s a unique lens like the 35-150mm.

The 35-150mm is marked as a fast and compact “portrait zoom” that can cover a broad range of shooting, from environmental portraits to tight headshots. With the wide zoom range, the lens is also perfect for travel and street shooting and has an impressive close focus distance.

The Specs

  • 4.9” long
  • 27.9oz
  • Minimum focusing distance – 1.48’
  • 77mm filter thread
  • Low Dispersion glass to minimize chromatic aberration/color fringing.
  • Aspherical elements for optimal sharpness edge-to-edge, and flare reduction
  • Optimized Silent Drive (OSD) motor for quieter autofocus
  • Dual Micro-Processing Unit (MPU) for fast and precise AF performance.
  • Vibration Compensation (VC) to minimize camera shake when shooting handheld.
  • Moisture Resistant Construction for all weather use.
  • Fluorine Coating and Broad-Band Anti-Reflection (BBAR) Coating for reduced ghosting and flare.
  • TAP-in Console compatible.

Lens Design

The 35-150mm is relatively compact but has a solid feel in the hand. The exterior design is similar to most modern Tamron lenses with a satin finish and the gold-like trim around the lens mount. The buttons are minimal – an AF/MF switch, and a switch for the VC. Unlike some of the other Tamron zoom lenses, there is no VC Mode selection on this lens. The only other switch on the lens is a barrel lock that can be locked when the lens is at 35mm and at its most compact size.

The zoom ring is wide and easy to turn, with a moderate amount of resistance. The focusing ring is near the front element, and just like the recently released 17-35mm f/2.8-4, the focus ring turns as the lens autofocuses, which can be an annoyance from some photographers who hold the lens near the hood. Speaking of the hood, unlike some sub $1,000 lenses, it was nice and tight and locked on without any issues or concerns of it becoming unlocked.

The lens was clearly designed for portrait photographers in mind, with popular portrait prime focal distances on the lens barrel (35/50/85/105/135/150).

The Nitty Gritty

Being a variable aperture lens, the Tamron 35-150mm stops down as you zoom in, though not nearly as much as some lenses with this much zoom. Below is the breakdown of focal length and aperture.

35mm: f/2.8
42mm: f/3
50mm: f/3.2
62mm: f/3.3
75mm: f/3.5
98mm: f/3.8
122mm: f/4

Using calibration software, we ran an aperture test to at what aperture the lens is sharpest. Focal lengths used were 35mm @ f/2.8 and 150mm @ f/4. At the wide end, peak sharpness was at f/5.6, though it’s very similar from f/4-8, and at 150mm, peak sharpness was at f/7.1, with results being fairly close between f/4 and f/11. The red DLA line signifies where the lens may begin to show signs of diffraction.

Vignetting is present when wide open, at both ends of the zoom range, though starts to become very minimal at f/4 @ 35mm, and f/5.6 @ 150mm. No Lightroom lens profile corrections are available yet, but should easily be able to fix any vignetting once it is updated.

Samples

The images below were taken with the Nikon D750 and D500.

The first day of using the lens, the weather overcast, foggy, and with occasional rain. Even after getting a bit wet, the lens performed flawlessly. The AF motor noise is minimal – not as silent as some of Tamron’s G2 fast zooms like the 70-200 or 24-70, but not overly distracting, though videographers might not be a big fan of this lens if using on camera mics. The wide zoom range makes it great for capturing full-body portraits as well as those tight headshots without having to swap glass.

The focus is fast and accurate, though we didn’t get a chance to test it out in any fast action scenarios on day 1. It should be more than sufficient for portrait and street photographers. The sharpness is impressive for a lens with about 4.3x optical zoom. For someone looking to replace their “kit” lens on their full frame Nikon (24-120mm /4) or Canon (24-105mm f/4), this is a great choice that gives you a faster aperture and a bit more zoom length, with the tradeoff being that it starts at 35mm instead of 24mm.

Original vs Cropped

Action Shots

The next day, in order to put the autofocus to the test, the lens was used during a track & field event. Though no the fastest, the autofocus kept up for the most part, with minimal out of focus photos during high-speed bursts with the D500. A 70-200 f/2.8 would be a better option for this situation, but for those looking for a one lens solution, it’s definitely capable of capturing the moments you want.

Final Thoughts

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 is a unique lens that appeals to consumers, prosumers, and professionals alike. With its $799 price tag for a relatively “fast” lens that is sharp, small, and extremely versatile, it’s a great bargain. Paired with the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4, it’s a great 2 lens combo to cover the wide to medium telephoto range, with a fast aperture, and compact size.


The Nikon mount Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 will be available at the end of May and can be pre-ordered here. The Canon mount will be available in early June and can be pre-ordered here.


About the author: Ihor Balaban is a photographer and store manager of the camera store Pixel Connection in Avon, Ohio. To learn more about the store, head over to the Pixel Connection website. This post was also published here.

Olympus Made This Video to Celebrate Its 100th Anniversary

Olympus turns 100 years old this year, and to celebrate the milestone, the company has just released this 6.5-minute mini-documentary dedicated to the history and evolution of its camera and imaging business.

Titled “A Great Moment,” the video features Olympus execs, a camera store technician, and Pulitzer Prize-winning National Geographic photographer Jay Dickman sharing their perspectives on how Olympus cameras impacted the world of photography.

Olympus was founded in Tokyo, Japan, back on October 12th, 1919, by a man named Takeshi Yamashita. Originally called Takachiho Seisakusho, the company was focused on making microscopes for the domestic market.

The trademark ‘Olympus’ was registered in 1921, and the company was renamed to “Olympus Optical Co., Ltd.” in 1949.

17 years after it was founded, Olympus launched its first camera: the Semi-Olympus 1.

In 1959, Olympus launched the PEN, a groundbreaking half-frame film camera.

In 1972, Olympus launched the OM-1, a lightweight and compact SLR that challenged heavier and bulkier SLRs on the market.

Olympus first jumped into digital cameras in 1996 (with the C-800L/C-400L), DSLRs in 2003 (with the E-1), and mirrorless in 2009 (with the PEN E-P1).

The company was renamed to “Olympus Corporation” in 2003, and today its business has three main branches: Medical, Imaging, and Scientific Solutions.

A century after its birth, Olympus now employs roughly 36,000 people across 99 group companies in 36 countries around the world.

What’s the Deal with Those Lens Flares in ‘Game of Thrones’?

Among the many things fans found to be frustrated about with the newest episode of “Game of Thrones”, #FlareGate is possibly the most contentious.

Game of Thrones has traditionally avoided lens flares. Despite their popularity when the show launched in 2011 (which was peak period for Abrams flare, right between Star Trek and Into Darkness), the show has gone for less self-conscious cinematography style that calls less attention to the artifice of filmmaking.

Not that the imagery is never stylized; the blue imagery of the northern army against the red and gold of the southern is clearly a deliberate artistic and cinematographic choice. But elements that call attention back to the nature of lenses, cameras, and other postmodern meta-reflexions on filmmaking don’t appear that often in Game of Thrones, until last night.

Read More

13 Film Lighting Techniques Every Filmmaker Should Know

Film lighting techniques make your commercial, movie, or TV show look cinematic. It will help your story pop off the screen. We break down every major technique.

Lighting techniques are invaluable for filmmakers at every level. For a director, they can help you communicate with your cinematographer. For a writer, they can help you craft words on the page that set the tone, and for the rest of the jobs on set, you’ll spend most of your time waiting for everyone to get the film lighting right. So don’t you want to know some lighting techniques so you can help out?

Here at No Film School, we’re always trying to create handy guides to help beginning and experienced filmmakers achieve the look and feel they want for their projects. We’ve talked about types of film lights before and deconstructed lighting at every level. But today we’re going to take you through some basic lighting techniques that can help you make your work look and feel more cinematic, no matter what aspect ratio you shoot in.

So let’s fire up those bulbs and take it from the top!

Read More