When the original Profoto A1 entered the on-camera flash market, one huge hiccup that many photographers saw was the lack of a Sony option in the speedlight. Now, with a more robust and tweaked flash being released to address that concern and others, how does the new Profoto A1X stack up to its predecessor?
Jim Jarmusch made a career as an auteur filmmaker but even he knows the future of Hollywood lies in genre movies.
There is no easy way to break into Hollywood. It’s a complicated network full of ideas, egos, and even on a good day you need some magic to get your movie to happen. But what if I told you there was a way to definitely stand out. A way that even auteur directors like Jim Jarmusch were taking to see their projects get greenlit?
The way is thinking and creating in the genre space. And it’s paying off big time.
The Dead Don’t Die
In an interview with Film Comment, Jarmusch described what led him to this genre movie. “I wanted to make something entertaining but with some bite.” The Dead Don’t Die opens the Cannes Film Festival, and then hits at least 500 screens in France. It arrives in the U.S. on June 14.
The movie stars Adam Driver and Bill Murray as local cops who spring into action when a zombies attack the town’s citizens. Jarmusch shot the movie in upstate New York, and Murray went on record saying the director has “written a zombie script that’s so hilarious.”
Portrait Displays updates and expands its extensive line of CalMAN color calibration solutions.
CalMAN color calibration solutions are industry standard tools used by color professionals worldwide to guarantee color accuracy on displays. Their calibration solutions are “custom-tailored to provide all of the necessary tools to deliver extremely-accurate color calibrations on all types of display technologies in a multitude of color-critical environments.”
Portrait Displays offers multiple professional products, filmmakers will be most familiar with the CalMAN Studio calibration suite. It is capable of calibrating an entire production pipeline, from on-set to client review: Grade-1 reference monitors, computer monitors, and client-viewing flat panels or projectors. It also supports advanced 3D LUT capabilities.
There are many screenwriting rules out there. They’re all bullshit, except one. If you plant it early, you better pay it off later.
I love to write. It’s so freeing and when you’re having a good time writing, nothing feels better. Writing is alchemy. More often than not, you’re creating something from nothing. Sure, there are days when the Writer’s Block gets bad, and times when you need to really dig into the beats of your story to get things right, but it’s all about the journey.
The only thing I really hate about writing is how everyone tries to tell you what’s important. There are so many “rules” out there that if you wind up following them you’ll get a garbled mess.
There’s only one rule in all of screenwriting: If you plant an idea you need to pay it off.
Chimera is a top-tier lighting product company (case-and-point, its slogan is “perfect lighting”) known for excellent color rendition and an embarrassingly wide assortment of light modifiers from which to choose. Seriously, just choose a light and then google “Chimera” after it. You’ll be set.
A staple in many medium to large studio productions is access to soft, even, well-designed overhead lighting and more often than not, you’ll probably be working with the Chimera F2X or the Chimera Modular F2. I’ve used them myself for large scale studio vehicle videography (namely, an SUV) and the even exposure from corner to corner is unparalleled.
But…these modifiers required an independent light source. And quite a lot of set-up and planning.
Well…I have some news.
Chimera has announced the F3 Powered by LiteGear
It’s an overhead light bank with built-in LED panels to provide a softbox (in either a 5×5 ft. or 5×10 ft. configuration) that requires no independent source for the modifier.
There are many movies about making movies, far fewer about film school. Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir (the first in a diptych—part two is supposed to shoot this summer) grounds itself in the early ’80s at the UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS), where Hogg herself went to school. It was there that she experienced a tumultuous relationship, dramatized here as the story of clean-living Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne), a student who falls for Anthony (Tom Burke) after they meet at a party. All well and good, but what Julie doesn’t clock is that Anthony is a heroin addict. A real-life […]
Cannes opened its 72nd edition last night with Jim Jarmusch’s self-reflexive and divisive zomedy The Dead Don’t Die, a movie that reunites the American filmmaker with the horror genre he flirted with in 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive, and serves to further clarify his late digital style. Though reportedly not the festival’s first choice for the slot, it’s easy to see why Cannes was content to offer it this year’s first red carpet; Jarmusch stacked his cast with A-listers—Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Danny Glover, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Selena Gomez, and I really could just keep on going—while the title […]
Evan Louison last wrote about Abel Ferrara for Filmmaker‘s 25th anniversary issue in his report, “Letter from Rome.” Given the assignment to interview Ferrara in conjunction with his month-long MoMA retrospective, Louison responded with a five-part personal memoir that tracks the impact of the director and his work on his own life. Check back each day this week for the next in the series, and read Part One and Part Two. III. Alive and WELL “The nature of evil is that it’s seductive. If evil presented itself to us as it really is… no one would be lured. No one […]
Three of current American independent cinema’s most prominent filmmakers recently came together at the Miami International Film Festival to impart some of the hard-earned knowledge they’ve acquired. Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, If Beale Street Could Talk), musician, activist, and storyteller Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You), and journalist-turned-screenwriter Aaron Stewart-Ahn (Mandy) were honored at the festival as the first trio of guests to be part of the inaugural Knight Heroes masterclass and symposium. Ahead of their presentations in front of a crowded Olympia Theater in Downtown Miami, the three creators sat down with Filmmaker to discuss a wide range of topics: the […]
Film Independent announced today the six screenwriters selected for its 21st annual Screenwriting Lab. Mikki Crisostomo, Billy Luther, Haitham Dabbour, Anya Meksin, Sontenish Myers and Andrew Huang will all received story and career development from the non-profit organization’s annual program for their first fiction screenplays. Notes FIND in a press release, “One hundred percent of this year’s participants are from communities underrepresented in film and half the participants are women. This year’s projects, selected from 550 submissions, explore a range of compelling fictional topics from ancient magic to widespread pandemics and tiger spirits.” More from the press release: “Being a […]
If you’re fortunate enough to be somewhere in the world where you have the chance to photograph the northern lights, you’ll want to be prepared to take some beautiful images. Hopefully, the tips and tricks in this video help to set you up for success.
What to make of the story of JT Leroy, an elusive, brilliant author of such books as The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and Sarah who turned out to be an author-in-disguise?
JT Leroy is a story of sleight of hand, of what interests the reading public, of consumption, but it’s also a story about hard work, about vision, and about how very difficult it can be to execute a vision that one thinks has truth to it, even if that truth doesn’t correspond to everyone’s definition.
JT Leroy examines the author’s story from numerous angles, and as a result, keeps revealing dimension after dimension until you realize you’re watching a life, rather than a story. The actors chosen to enact this life, Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, both apply acute intelligence and contemplation to the roles they do, which makes them apt choices here. There’s a level of nuance, or personalization, to a Dern or Stuart performance–the sense that they’ve worked out a lot of backstory before appearing onscreen.
A screenshot of the new ‘Texture’ setting under the ‘Presence’ module inside Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Camera Raw.
Adobe has announced the addition of a new Texture slider to the latest updates for Lightroom, Lightroom Classic and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). According to Adobe, Texture is the result of user requests for a way to smooth skin without reducing image quality or spending large periods of time making adjustments.
‘Photoshop may still be needed for some workflows,’ Adobe’s Max Wendt said in a blog post about the slider, ‘but we think that Texture will be great for many of your images.’
Texture, according to Wendt, was first developed as a smoothing slider that eventually expanded to cover both smoothing and texture enhancement. Positive texture — that is, enhancement rather than smoothing — is described as something like a cross between positive Sharpening and Clarity. Negative Texture for smoothing is comparable to Noise Reduction.
Texture reduces or enhances what Adobe calls ‘mid-frequency’ areas of an image, which enables the tool to boost or reduce important details generally without amplifying noise or producing a flat, plastic appearance. Specifically, Texture is great for smoothing skin without obliterating fine details that are key to its realistic appearance.
Texture and Clarity can be used together to adjust different aspects of the image, as well; Adobe provides examples, beyond the ones we’ve included in this article, involving both portraits and landscape images. Those are ultimately just samples of different ways Texture can be utilized, however, with Wendt explaining in his post:
The best way to discover your vision is to experiment. Texture is fully non-destructive, so don’t be afraid to explore and just try things. Go too far, pull it back, go too far again. You’ll find what values work for you. It’s all about your own vision.
Users can access the new Texture slider by updating their software to the latest versions of Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Camera Raw available in Creative Cloud.
Camtraptions has unveiled a new weatherproof camera housing that’s designed for time-lapse, remote-control, and camera trap applications. It’s a universal housing that’s designed to fit a wide range of camera and lens combinations while providing convenient access to the gear within.
“Prior to this, photographers had to build their own weather-sealed housings or get an expensive bespoke housing to fit one camera size and lens length,” Camtraptions founder Will Burrard-Lucas tells PetaPixel.
The housing is made of strong molded plastic and features weatherproof seals that completely protects camera gear from rain, humidity, and the elements. Cameras of all sizes, from small compact cameras to large DSLRs in the style of the Canon 1D X or Nikon D5, can fit inside the housing.
On the front is a screw-in lens tube system that photographers can swap in and out to use lenses of different sizes and lengths — there are currently four lengths (25mm, 50mm, 75mm, and 100mm) available.
The tube features a peak that shades the front of the lens from sun and rain, and a high-quality glass window helps protect your lens with minimal effect on image quality.
When you need to access your camera, you can do so through the back door that’s held closed by two quick-release catches. When you know you won’t need to access your camera, you can reinforce the catches using cable ties or even a padlock to keep your gear secure.
To get to your batteries and memory cards, or to adjust your camera settings, you can slide the camera base plate out of the housing.
There are tripod sockets on both the bottom and the side of the housing, allowing you to leave your camera in both landscape or portrait orientation. Dual tripod screw sockets are available to help prevent the housing from twisting while deployed.
With the 25mm lens tube attached, the entire housing weighs 4.85 pounds (2.2kg).
“I have been using this new camera housing in my projects for almost a year and it has revolutionized my camera trap workflow,” says Burrard-Lucas, who’s well-known for his camera trap wildlife photos. “Setting up new traps and accessing the camera is now a breeze!”
It’s time to name names. I’m going to tell you what lenses you’ve been looking at for the last few days, and offer my own impressions.
Disclosure: after several decades as a director of photography, I now work for ARRI, Inc. as Cinema Lens Specialist.
Last week, I posted this article and asked you to take a look at four lenses in a direct comparison:
And now, the names:
Lens A is an 85mm Zeiss Supreme Prime.
The Supreme Prime is a classic example of a Zeiss lens. It’s contrasty and sharp, which emphasizes textures and resolution. Of the lenses in this test, this one emphasizes skin tone texture the most. It doesn’t show the deepest shadows (that award goes to C) but it’s close.
In the still world, a lens like this would be described as having “3D pop.” Many still photographers like to see a lot of high-frequency detail in their images as the texture makes them feel more “real.” Another description for this might be “high micro contrast.”
Support ProVideo Coalition
Filmmakers go-to destination for pre-production, production & post production equipment!
Micro contrast describes how quickly tiny structures in the image transition from bright to dark. It’s similar to photographic contrast, but refers specifically to fine detail such as clothing textures and skin. High micro contrast generally means such textures appear crisp and sharp, while low micro contrast means they appear soft and smooth. (“Micro contrast” is a poorly-defined term with no scientific basis, but it’s useful and we generally understand what it describes.)
Something to think about going forward: is this lens cool, or is it neutral in color?
Lens B is a 75mm Cooke S7.
This is, for me, the softest lens in the test. This is probably why it’s considered to be so flattering to actors: skin tone is very smooth. The shadows show a lot of detail, and it ties with lens D in this regard. Hair detail is not as crisp as on the Supreme.
What’s opening the shadows, though, appears to be flare. The fill side has a cool cast to it, which I think is flare from the mural in the background. I’ve seen this happen with other models of Cooke lenses (S4s and Speed Panchros) where soft sources at the edges of the frame can add a bit of veiling glare.
The Cooke reputation for being kind to actors appears to be related to how it handles high frequency detail and contrast. It could be described as having low micro contrast, as fine details aren’t rendered as crisply as in a Zeiss lens.
Lens C is a 70mm Leitz Thalia.
This lens appears to show a bit more micro contrast than the Cooke, but not so much as the Supreme. Skin texture falls somewhere between the two. When I look at her hair, once again the resolution falls somewhere between the Supreme and the Cooke.
This lens has the deepest shadows of all four lenses. In the other lens images, I can see her ear on the fill side. On this lens, I can’t.
The Thalia can also be said to have high micro contrast, although not as much as the Zeiss.
Lens D is a 75mm ARRI Signature Prime.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, as I shot this test to try to quantify where it falls in relation to the others. I have a lot more to say about this lens as I know it the best, and I’ve also learned quite a lot about lenses in general by trying to quantify its qualities. So… if I sound biased, I likely am. That’s why I posted the images above, in the largest files PVC would reasonably allow. You’re welcome to your own opinions.
This lens appears warm, and—until recently—that’s what I believed. I’ve long thought that Zeiss lenses were neutral in color and that Cooke lenses were warm, but a chat with people who know better than I disabused me of this notion. According to them, Zeiss and Cooke lenses are actually on the cool side, while Signature Primes have the tiniest degree of warmth.
I think this is apparent in the images above. A, B, and C are all cooler by comparison. The Signature Prime is either objectively warmer (by design) or subjectively warmer (by comparison). Based on my observations, the Supreme seems to be the coolest. The Thalia is cool but less so than the Supreme. The Cooke is the closest to neutral, but still a touch on the cool side. The Signature Prime is either neutral or slightly warm. The best place to look for this coolness is in our model’s lips, which the Signature Primes render as a warm red, but the other lenses show as a cooler, duller red.
In a separate test, I shot color charts with an ARRI/Zeiss Master Prime, a Cooke S7, a Leitz Thalia, and an ARRI Signature Prime. At 3200K preset on an ARRI camera, I saw that the other lenses were slightly blue or cyan, and the Signature Prime showed a hint of yellow. This may be why the skin tone seems to pop so nicely.
The other reason skin tone pops is because Signature Primes appear brighter than the other lenses by about 1/3-1/2 stop. This is consistent across the entire lens line. In my tests I’ve seen other lens types that are consistently dark by comparison, so there does seem to be some variability in how lenses are calibrated. I don’t yet have an explanation for this, but we generally do things right (ARRI is a hard-core engineering company) so I’ll be curious to see how our methodology differs from that of other manufacturers. I do know we use the same calibration machines that everyone else does.
The Signature Prime shadows look to be as open as the Cooke S7, but I don’t see any obvious flare. I certainly don’t see the same blue-tinted veiling glare on the fill side. I’d say this lens can be described as having moderate micro contrast: it captures very high resolution images, but renders that detail in a very natural way that’s not sharp or soft.
In general, my overall impressions are:
The ARRI Signature Prime is the warmest, or the least blue, depending on your perspective. The Cooke S7 is second up in the warmth category. The Leitz Thalia is cooler, and the Zeiss Supreme is coolest.
The Leitz Thalia and Zeiss Supreme Prime show the least shadow detail. The ARRI Signature Prime and the Cooke S7 show the most shadow detail, although in the case of the Cooke this may be due to flare.
The Cooke S7 is the softest lens of this group. The Zeiss Supreme appears to be sharpest, likely due to contrast. Her hair doesn’t seem as finely resolved as I see in the ARRI Signature Prime, but the lens feels sharper, and that’s likely due to higher micro contrast.
The Leitz and ARRI lenses are close in sharpness, but when I look at the model’s hair the Signature Prime seems to resolve more detail. At the same time, it renders skin more smoothly, which I think is due to its lower micro contrast. The Leitz seems sharper because it renders shadows and dark tones the darkest of any of the lenses tested, but it doesn’t appear to resolve hair detail as well as the Signature Prime. The Signature Prime captures more detail, but it feels less sharp because it renders that detail without strong micro contrast.
This comparison was certainly a bit of a surprise. I hope you found it as informative as I have.
Art Adams is Cinema Lens Specialist at ARRI, Inc. He can be reached here.
How People Around You Can Hurt Your Screenwriting Dreams I wanted to do an episode on this subject for a long time. “You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.” – Jim Rohn I wish I had someone to tell me this early on my screenwriting journey. In…
Please head to our DJI Osmo Action Versus GoPro HERO7 by clicking here:
DJI has just announced the Osmo Action, their first action camera and a direct competitor to the GoPro HERO7. It brings some innovative and unique features, like RockSteady stabilization, HDR, De-Warp, and dual full-color screens. Let’s take a close look at the Osmo Action in this hands-on review!
DJI is currently one of the most innovative camera gear companies in the market. They have been dominating the drone market in the last few years and are also very successful with their line of gimbal stabilized cameras, called Osmo. Many filmmakers have been waiting for this and today is the day – DJI announces the Osmo Action – their first action camera and a direct competitor to the current king of action cams, the GoPro HERO7.
If you are interested in a side-by-side comparison to the GoPro HERO7, we are publishing a separate article with a video on this exact topic very soon. In this article, I will focus on all the specs and features of the Osmo Action by itself.
DJI Osmo Action – How Good is it?
First of all, the DJI Osmo Action has dual full-color screens – one large touchscreen at the back and one smaller front screen right next to the lens. This is the first action cam that actually lets you see yourself when you turn the camera around. This is perfect for vloggers or action sports enthusiasts, who point this back at themselves while doing some crazy stunts. The front screen is square and you can select if the image should fill the screen – of course by cutting of the sides – or if it should show a 16:9 version of the video, with black bars on top and at the bottom.
DJI Osmo Action has full-color front screen
Another innovative feature is the HDR mode. When switching it on, the camera gives you considerably more details in the shadows and especially highlights. This is a great feature to have in an action cam, because very often, you will deal with bright sunlight and harsh shadows within the same shot, or quickly changing circumstances. The colors in HDR mode are nice and vivid, and you can really see a lot of details that are not visible in standard mode, even if you use the “flatter” Cinelike-D mode.
Big downside with HDR mode, however, is that the image stabilization does not work in this mode at all. This makes it less suitable for point-of-view action scenes, as the image will be quite shaky. To make matters worse, the rolling shutter distortion is considerably worse in HDR mode, compared to normal filming mode.
DJI Osmo Action has a small tally light on top.
Talking about image stabilization, that’s the third huge innovation of the Osmo Action. DJI calls its image stabilizer “RockSteady”, and the name really does the technology justice. When you switch RockSteady on, the need for a gimbal literally disappears. It’s clear that DJI is leveraging their experience from drones and gimbals in this technology, and they do it very well.
You can take a look at our side-by-side comparison video of the Osmo Action and the GoPro HERO7 to see how the stabilisation technologies compare. I can already tell you that GoPro’s Hypersmooth is very good, but RockSteady is better. DJI’s stabilization comes at the expense of some wide angle, and you can clearly see the difference in field-of-view once you switch RockSteady on. Having a less wide image has its down- and upsides, but with action cams you usually want a wider image to get close to the action.
The image distortion can be repaired with the in-camera de-warp function.
Because of the wide-angle lens, action cameras suffer from massive image distortion. It is the typical fish-eye look, which can be corrected in post-production. To tackle the distortion automatically, the DJI Osmo Action has a so-called De-Warp feature built in. That’s very convenient and it saves the time of doing image correction in post-production. The de-warp effect can be combined with the RockSteady stabilizer, which is nice, but it again crops the image slightly.
DJI Osmo Action – Image Quality
Image quality in general is very decent and appealing, and the Osmo Action supports a range of resolutions and frame rates. It can shoot at up to 4K 60p, 2.7K resolution for up to 60p, and up to 240 frames per second slow motion in 1080p. However, because the video bitrate never goes higher than 100Mbps in H.264 codec, you can see considerable artifacts – especially in the super slow motion modes.
DJI Osmo Action tops at 60fps in 4K.
In general, despite the available D-Cinelike mode of the Osmo Action, the image looks a bit over-sharpened in high contrast situations. The over-sharpening also amplifies noise in the shadows, in some situations. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to decrease the sharpening in the Osmo Action. In fact, there are no additional image control features apart from changing from a contrasty, colorful “Standard” to a flatter, less saturated D-Cinelike picture profile. You can, however, change the shutter and ISO and set those manually.
DJI Osmo Action tops at 240fps at 1080p.
I hope that DJI will give us controls over these settings – like in the Osmo Pocket or their Mavic drones – via a firmware update soon. It’s really needed and I think there is room for optimization with the overall image, especially the sharpness settings.
The Osmo Action can connect to a smartphone via wi-fi. In the DJI Mimo app, which was updated to support the Osmo Action in addition to the Osmo Pocket, you get a nice preview screen of the camera. There are, however, no additional camera settings that you can’t already access via the camera itself – except for a Denoise option.
The DJI Mimo app gives a live preview image.
DJi Osmo Action – Build Quality
As for the build quality, the DJI Osmo Action lets little to be desired. It has almost the same size as the GoPro, and the design overall is quite similar. It feels very rugged and is shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters depth. What’s also great, is that it shares the same accessory ecosystem with GoPro. So, if you were to upgrade from a GoPro, you are able to use the same mounts. I would have preferred to see a default 1/4″ tripod thread to be freed from custom accessories, though.
The glass element in front of the lens can be unscrewed and replaced with a custom filter of choice. DJI will offer ND filters (ND4, ND8, ND16, and ND32 density) as well as orange seawater and purple freshwater filters to use with the Osmo Action. Unfortunately these filters were not yet available for our review, so we could not test them in the field.
DJI Osmo Action front glass element can be easily unscrewed.
Apart from the square-shaped front color screen, there is also a quite large 2.25″ touchscreen at the back of the camera. It uses the whole width of the body because it’s 16:9 (different from the GoPro screen which is 4:3). The touchscreen interface works quite well, although not every function can be found easily at first try.
Good news is that the Osmo Action uses a custom battery with 1300 mAh, and in our test, the battery lived up to the manufacturer’s claims. We were able to get almost 90 minutes of battery life out of one fully charged battery (when shooting 4K/25p or 30p with RockSteady stabilization enabled). However, if you use higher frame rates in 4K, expect battery life to be reduced.
Resolution and frame rates in HDR mode: 4K, 30, 25, 24fps; 2.7K: 30, 25, 24fps; 1080P: 30, 25, 24fps
Codec and Maximum bitrate: 100Mbps at H.264 (with MOV or MP4)
Supported SD cards: microSD up to 256GB
Battery: LiPo 1300mAh
Dimensions: 65 x 42 x 35 mm
Front screen: 1.4″, 300ppi, 750cd/m²
Back screen: 2.25″, 325ppi, 750cd/m²
All in all, DJI truly impressed us with the Osmo Action, which is their first attempt at an action camera – an area where GoPro, despite all its problems in recent years, is still the market leader. For the first time, with the DJI Osmo Action, I have a feeling that GoPro is getting a contender that can truly be problematic for their core business. The Osmo Action is not perfect, and despite the fact that I still prefer the image from a GoPro, there are a series of mighty impressive innovations in the Osmo Action that could convince a lot of existing GoPro users to upgrade to the new DJI camera, rather than another GoPro. If DJI manages to optimize image processing, GoPro will have a very serious contender with the Osmo Action.
Price and Availability
As with other DJI products, the Osmo Action is available right now at the moment of its announcement. Links to our partner shops can be found below the article. By buying via our links you support cinema5D in creating reviews like this one. The MSRP for the Osmo Action is US$349 (€379 including VAT in Europe).
If you are considering getting the Osmo Action, you might take a look at DJI’s Trade up program. It can get you a discount on new DJI gear when trading-in your old equipment. You can check more details here.
Last but not least, DJI Care Refresh is now available for Osmo Action. For a certain additional fee it offers comprehensive coverage as well as up to two replacement units within one year. More information about this program can be found here.
Music Courtesy of MusicVine.com Get 25% off your next music license with code C5D25 (valid for one use per customer).
What do you think about DJI Osmo Action. Get it give a fight to GoPro HERO7? Let us know in the comment section below