DJI’s New Consumer Drones Will Get Airplane and Helicopter Detectors

DJI is working to make the skies an even safer place in the drone era.

Yesterday, DJI announced that it will be installing airplane and helicopter detectors in its new consumer drones. Models released after January 1, 2020 that weight more than 250 grams (about half a pound) will come with AirSense technology, which receives ADS-B signals from nearby airplanes and helicopters, to provide alerts to drone users about imminent collisions. AirSense can detect aircraft from miles away and displays their locations on the drone’s remote controller screen.

Check out this video to learn how AirSense works:

The company has even laid out a 10-point safety plan for other drone manufacturers and government officials around the world:

DJI’s AirSense commitment is the first of 10 points in “Elevating Safety,” its new plan for how DJI, other drone manufacturers, and government officials around the world can maintain drones’ admirable safety record. The 10 points are:

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‘Game of Thrones’ Ends, War Against ATA Rages On [Podcast]

We deliver this week’s top stories in filmmaking.

This week on the No Film School Podcast, Host Charles Haine and NFS Editor-in-Chief George Edelman discuss the myriad flaws and wonders of the Game of Thrones finale (is Drogon smarter than we think?) and how Verve made a crucial move in the WGA vs. ATA battle.

They also go over some exciting gear news: the MicroFogger blasting onto the scene, DJI taking on GoPro with the Osmo Action Camera, and why normal-speed scenes in Avengers: Endgame might be shot at 48 fps.

Check back next week for our next episode!

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10 Great Cult Movie Classics You’ve Probably Never Seen

Cult cinema is an extremely broad term. By definition, cult classics are films that have acquired a subculture or a following that keep the film alive for the years to come. These films are often unsuccessful or misunderstood upon initial release, but gain more traction within certain communities of film watchers later on.

Many cult films have attained such a devoted following that they get pushed toward canonized classic movie status, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) or A Clockwork Orange (1987). Other films, meanwhile, develop such an esoteric following by such a finite group of cinephiles that the films face total obscurity.

Once the canon of essential cult films has been seen, it’s hard to know which of the thousands of more obscure films are worth one’s time. This list explores a handful of such lesser known, less acknowledged cult classics that deserve far more attention.


1. Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Godzilla Final Wars

With the inclusion of the newer American series, the Godzilla franchise has been running strong for over 60 years across three distinct periods: the Showa era, Heisei era, and Millennium era.

Godzilla: Final Wars was the last film of the Millennium era, and it was supposed to be the last Japanese Godzilla film ever made (until Hideaki Anno took a crack at the iconic monster with Shin Gojira (2016)). Being the final, true Godzilla film for the time, Final Wars serves as the ultimate send-off for one of cinema’s most iconic characters.

Released 50 years after the original Gojira (1954), the film essentially pits Godzilla against almost every foe he had fought in the past, along with a menacing new one called Monster X. Godzilla even has a hilarious encounter with the pitiful 1998 American Zilla. Meanwhile, the Earth Defense Force of superhuman mutants must help Godzilla in defeating the evil alien race of Xiliens from taking over the earth to harvest humans as a food source.

Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura of Versus (2000) and Azumi (2003) fame, Godzilla: Final Wars is in some ways the ultimate kaiju film. Take every Godzilla film ever made, put it in a blender, shoot it like a 90s nu-metal music video and a live-action anime adaptation, and you’ll get something close to Godzilla: Final Wars. It’s absolutely bonkers.

The film has the campiest setup and the most delirious fight sequences in the entire franchise. It takes all the tropes and clichés of the previous films and pushes them to their logical extreme.

It all may just seem to be two hours of mindless fan service to the uninitiated, but Godzilla: Final Wars is much more than that. It’s the peak of the franchise in terms of sheer audacity and the perfect summation of all 28 films preceding, and it really needs to be seen to be believed.


2. G.I. Samurai (1979)

G.I. Samurai is a 1979 Japanese action/samurai crossover from director Kôsei Saitô, based on a novel by Ryo Hanmura. The film is perhaps most notable for starring the iconic cult martial artist Sonny Chiba… and for its absolutely ridiculous premise.

A group of Japanese soldiers led by Lieutenant Yoshiaki Iba (Chiba) on patrol with a tank, helicopter, patrol boat, and other military essentials are abruptly and magically teleported back in time to feudal warring Japan. The troop befriends a local warlord and together they wreak havoc upon the ancient countryside.

Of course, the troop eventually gets antsy and wants to return home. The solution? Kill a bunch of people to create a time paradox so the gods will send them back to the future… climaxing in one of the longest, most ridiculous and bloody fights in cult cinema history. Samurai vs. army. Genius.

The film is worth watching for the audacity and ambition of its premise alone – and somehow, it totally works. Chiba plays the Lieutenant with a classic tough-as-nails gusto. The relationship between him and warlord Koizumi is sappy and wonderful (cue montage of Sonny Chiba and Koizumi riding horses on the beach in slow motion). It’s a wacky and wonderful exploitation flick that’s unfortunately been forgotten in a sea of other Japanese genre films.


3. Brain Damage (1988)

Though this is an undoubtedly silly film with initially poor critical reception, and though it is easily overshadowed by Henenlotter’s more famous Basket Case (1982), Brain Damage is essential viewing for anyone interested in horror comedy and B-movies as a whole.

A young man named Brian contracts a talking leech-like creature on the back of his neck named Aylmer. Aylmer offers his host ecstatic hallucinogenic trips, which Brian is quickly addicted to, in turn for one small favor: brains. While Brian is under the influence of Aylmer’s trip, he mindlessly prowls the neon night streets, murdering unsuspecting outcasts of society to feed the smooth-talking Aylmer.

Aylmer proves to be an iconic and hilarious horror creature, voiced expertly by John Zacherle. The film is effectively photographed to generate a lush, urban, nocturnal atmosphere – Henenlotter captures the fervent nightlife texture of the big city and the surreal, drugged-out mindscape of Brian.

The film’s special effects, though modest, deliver on the sticky, gooey, gory goods, and there are some very memorable and ridiculous kills throughout the film (i.e. the infamous Aylmer blowjob scene). Brain Damage serves simultaneously as a solid allegory for addiction as well as a fun, stylized ‘80s gore fest.


4. The Streetfighter (1974)

The Streetfighter

This is the film that really put Sonny Chiba on the map as a martial arts star to be reckoned with. While actors like Bruce Lee utilized a level of style and grace to tackle their foes, Chiba takes them down with apathetic brute force and a sneering face, like a wild animal. The film was a success in America, spawning two sequels and a spin-off series called Sister Street Fighter.

The film follows Chiba as an amoral karate master named Terry Tsurugi who, with a rather affecting change of heart, decides to do the right thing and save a businessman’s daughter from the yakuza.

What ensues is a series of brutal and over-the-top encounters with wacky villains and mindless goons. Quentin Tarantino undoubtedly pulled from The Streetfighter in the making of his own films; this is one of the director’s favorite grindhouse films, after all.

The Streetfighter was the first movie to be released in the U.S. with an X rating slapped on it solely for violence, and even if the film is a little tame by today’s standards, it sure does earn the title. Skulls are crushed, limbs are broken, bright red blood flies everywhere.

At one point in the film, Chiba literally rips off a rapist’s testicles and stares at the bloody clot of underwear in his hands like he’s about to explode from constipation and rage. But outside of the hilarity and carnage, The Streetfighter serves as an excellent exercise in catharsis.

Chiba plays the ultimate anti-hero: a heartless man that, just this once, does something good in his own violent way, and goes down fists-blazing in the process. At the end of the day, nothing says badass like Sonny Chiba, dressed in all black, crunching the bones of all that cross his path.


5. Infra-Man (1975)


Though the iconic Hong Kong studio Shaw Brothers historically focused on cranking out iconic cult martial arts films like Five Deadly Venoms (1978) or The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978), they also were not prone to turn down an opportunity for an easy cash grab.

Infra-Man is an example of such a cash grab film, serving as the studio’s answer to Japan’s success with tokusatsu series like Ultraman. A knock-off though it may be, Infra-Man is an absolute blast to watch, and it might even surpass Ultraman in its visceral, candy-colored schlocky goodness.

The plot is simple enough. After eons of slumber, the evil Princess Dragon Mom (yes, you read that correctly) rises again to conquer the earth with her onslaught of mutant goons. Only the super-powered Infra-Man can stop her.

Explosions, acrobatics, earthquakes, laser fights, kung fu, giant monsters, robots, tentacles, skeleton armies… Infra-Man really does have it all. There’s never a dull moment. It’s a ridiculous and campy flick that plays something like the physical manifestation of an ADHD 8-year-old boy’s notebook doodles. It’s childish, goofy, and just loads of fun.

Angenieux Optimo Primes Announced

Angenieux has announced a new range of Optimo prime lenses. The Angenieux Optimo Primes finally allow cinematographers to capture that signature Angenieux look in a complete 12 lens set that will match the companies range of zooms. A long history of making zooms Angenieux has a long history of making zooms. It was founded way … Continued

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FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

It has 102 MP and costs $9,999.95. It’s the new FUJIFILM GFX100, with a 43.8 mm x 32.9 mm sensor able to capture video at 30fps in 4K DCI video. Is this a video camera to consider?

The rumors are finally confirmed. After all, it was difficult to hide a camera as big as this, and FUJIFILM announced the FUJIFILM GFX100 mirrorless digital camera (“GFX100”) will arirve in late June 2019. The GFX100 is a flagship model of the GFX Series of mirrorless digital cameras, which have won strong praise from professional photographers and photo enthusiasts alike for the use of a large image sensor, boasting approximately 1.7 times the size of the 35mm full-frame sensor.

With this sensor FUJIFILM has a world’s first, but the resolution of the sensor also brings some other world first that the company was eager to mention. So, with a sensor larger than the 35mm full-frame format, this is the world’s first model that offers  a back-illuminated sensor with phase detection pixels,  in-body image stabilization (IBIS) mechanism and 4K/30P video recording capability. The innovative mirrorless digital camera fulfills photography’s intrinsic mission of “capturing and recording precious moments that are never to be repeated again.”

FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

Designed for premium video production

If you look at the GFX100 from a photographer’s perspective, the camera looks as an overkill solution for many users. As a stills camera, it is, no doubt, a great tool for photographers who want the maximum in terms of sensor size and resolution, but one has to wonder how many will buy it. One has to look at the information provided by FUJIFILM, though, to better understand what the GFX100 represents. The company, mention more than once that the video recording capability featured meet the needs of premium video production, an evident suggestion that this model is also designed to be used as a video machine. The specifications are there, some of them at least, and they are the main focus of this note here at ProVideo Coalition.

FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

The GFX100 supports 4K/30P video recording, capturing, says FUJIFILM, “smooth motions at 30fps in ultra-high-definition 4K video. The camera allows users to enjoy beautiful bokeh with shallow depth-of-field and wide tonal reproducibility, enabling premium video production while reproducing detailed textures, three-dimensional definitions and even capturing the atmosphere of the scene.”

FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

Sensor bigger than high-end cinema cameras

The new image sensor with high-speed readout and the high-performance “X-Processor 4” image-processing engine are behind the camera’s video capability. FUJIFILM says that when “the DCI (aspect ratio of 17:9), a standard format for digital cinema cameras, is selected, the GFX100 records video with a sensor area measuring about 49.5mm diagonally”. The size, bigger than that of large sensors increasingly adopted by high-end cinema cameras, continues FUJIFILM, “results in outstanding high ISO performance, shallow depth-of-field capability and wide tonal reproducibility. This makes it easier than ever before to produce FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI videopremium-quality video footage with more detailed textures and three-dimensional definitions while even capturing the atmosphere of the scene.”

The GFX100 uses oversampling with the amount of data equivalent to approx. 50.5 million pixels to render video with, adds the company, “exceptionally high resolution”. It also supports the highly efficient H.265/HEVC compression codec as well as the “F-Log” mode that reproduces rich tonal gradation and the “Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG)” for recording HDR (high dynamic range) footage with ease. For the first time in the GFX Series, GFX100’s Film Simulation options, which allow users to enjoy a variety of color and tonal reproductions, include “ETERNA” for simulating the colors and tones of Fujifilm’s cinema film. This enables faithful reflection of videographers’ artistic intentions to video production.

FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

A panel for info, another for the image

Despite featuring the large format image sensor and IBIS, the GFX100’s camera body is compact and lightweight measuring just 48.9mm at the thinnest part and weighing approx. 1,400g. The compact form factor, equivalent to that of digital single-lens reflex cameras with a 35mm full-frame format sensor, ensures excellent mobility.

FUJIFILM points also to the camera body, which “is highly robust due to the use of magnesium alloy and the ‘inner frame’ structure of coupling the image sensor, IBIS and lens mount into an integrated unit. Weather-sealing is applied to 95 locations to make the body highly resistant to dust, moisture and low temperatures, catering to the tough shooting conditions of professional photography.”

One interesting feature is the presence of a new 2.05-inch sub monitor on the rear panel in addition to the main 3.2-inch LCD monitor that can be tilted to three directions. Exposure settings and various other shooting data can be assigned to the rear-panel sub monitor so that the main monitor can be dedicated to checking framing, allowing you to concentrate on composition. It’s a solution that reminds me and seems like and evolution of the two LCDs present in the FUJIFILM FinePix  S2 Pro DSLR from 2002, 17 years ago.

The top panel now features another new 1.80-inch sub LCD monitor, which can be set to the “Virtual Dial Mode,” displaying a virtual dial for simulated operation. This is a perfect function for users who prefer dial-based operations, adopted in GFX Series’ current models.

FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

A whole new ultra-high definition EVF

The number of dials, buttons and levers on the camera body has been kept to the minimum for simplicity in camera operation. The top panel features the Drive Mode Dial, which enables instantaneous switchover between the Still Image, Video and Multiple Exposure modes. Each of these modes can store settings such as exposure settings, white balance and Film Simulation selection. That means it only requires just single dial action to recall optimum camera settings, ensuring ease of camera operation.

The GFX100 features an ultra-high definition EVF, newly-developed for this model using the world’s top-class 5.76 million-dot OLED panel and five optical glass elements including aspherical elements. With the viewfinder magnification of 0.86x and 100% viewfinder coverage, the EVF enables accurate focusing for the 102 million pixels sensor, which requires extreme focusing accuracy. The GFX100 inherits FUJIFILM GFX50S’s popular detachable EVF system. When the optional EVF Tilting Adapter EVF-TL1 is attached, the EVF can be tilted to variable angles to provide flexibility accommodating user preference.

FUJIFILM GFX100: a medium format camera with 4K DCI video

Charging batteries on camera

In terms of power, the GFX100 can accommodate two GFX Series batteries (NP-T125), extending the number of frames per charge to approx. 800 when the rear LCD is used.The camera can also be powered and charged through USB connection. Connecting an external battery that supports USB Power Delivery enables even longer continuous shooting and simultaneous charging of the two batteries in the camera.

This is the first GFX Series model that has a supporting IEEE802.11ac 5GHz, enabling even faster wireless image transfer. For RAW processing and tethered shooting, similarly to previous GFX Series models, the GFX100 is compatible with “Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom” and “Capture One Pro FUJIFILM” to accommodate the diverse workflow of professional photographers.

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Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2 – Precise Distance Measurement for up to 3 Subjects

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2 is a distance measurement device capable to measure the distance of up to 3 subjects, even in dynamic scenes when camera and/or subjects are moving. It uses ultrasonic measuring and two mobile radio reflectors –  tags.

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2

To achieve certain shots, DPs sometimes put focus pullers in very difficult situations. With increasing focal length and low aperture numbers, the depth of field gets very thin. It is then real challenging to keep for instance a moving subject in focus. The Smart Ranger 2 from Qinematiq can be a great help (not only) for such situations.

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2

Smart Ranger 2 is a dual distance measurement tool. It automatically measures the distance of up to 3 subjects, even in a dynamic scene – when the camera and/or subjects are moving. The resulting distance values are always available on its screen for the focus puller.

Smart Ranger 2 is based on two different technologies. First, as a traditional ultrasonic measuring instrument, it measures the distance to a subject in front of the camera by an ultrasonic signal. Second, the smart instrument is also a base unit for two mobile radio reflectors – so-called tags. The tag can be fixed to a subject or positioned in the working area, while the base unit is mounted on the camera. Distance measurement between subject and film plane is performed automatically and independently.

Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2 – Base Unit and Tags.

Smart Ranger 2 allows the simultaneous measuring based on an ultrasonic signal and a measured distance of up to two radio tags. All three measurement results are shown at a small display at the base unit. Switching between tag measurement and ultrasonic measurement is always possible. Using tags also enables distance measurement through obstructions between camera and subject, like glass panes, walls of leaves or clothes, behind a corner, etc.

The base unit and tag are connected via a highly robust but harmless radio connection, which works well both indoor and outdoor. The transmission power of the system is much smaller than those of a mobile phone, wireless lens control system or wireless video link. Smart Ranger 2 works parallel to these radio systems. They are not impacted or disturbed, and do in turn neither impact nor disturb the distance measurement.

Smart Ranger 2 Base Unit Specifications. Source: Chrosziel

The base unit has a Lemo 6p serial interface that can be used for connecting a lens control system (LCS). This makes it possible to display the distance value on the LCS hand unit. This option is available for all lens control systems supporting the ultrasonic measurement systems cinetape or Arri UDM, for example systems by Arri, cmotion, Preston or Chrosziel.

Smart Ranger 2 Radio Tag Specifications. Source: Chrosziel

What I find interesting is the possibility of automatic focusing. When connected to the Chrosziel MagNum follow focus system, the distance values will be displayed on its screen. Via the assignable user keys on the MagNum hand-unit, the autofocus function can be activated. The measuring device then takes over the focus motor based on its built-in lens tables.

Chrosziel MagNum Wireless Follow Focus Kit

The base unit features a compact body with a 2.4″ TFT display on the side. It can be powered directly from the camera’s battery via D-tap. Additionally, 2 Lemo 4p CAN bus interfaces are available to link the system. On a special display unit, the distance values are even easier to read. The display unit is available as an additional device. The “Betz lens motor” can be directly connected to this interface.

Smart Ranger 2 Versus Image+

Both Smart Ranger 2 and Image+ are distance measurement devices for film sets. Their areas of applications are different. For more information about the Qinematiq Image+ system, make sure to check our video article from IBC 2017.

Smart Ranger 2 provides automatic distance measurement between the base (anchor) unit and a reflector (tag). It works without manual operation or manual adjustment. Prior to the shooting, the operator determines the reference markers by placing the tag in space or fixing them to a subject.

Image+, on the other hand, creates a 3D image of a scene that contains an unlimited number of distance values. There is no need to have markers on set. Before or during the actual shooting, the operator can decide which area is to be focused. Via auto-tracking function, the subject is followed automatically. The measurements carried out by Image+ are performed in real time and the resulting 3D image can be used for further processing (post-production, computer graphics, etc.).

Price and Availability

The Smart Ranger 2 will be first presented at Cine Gear Expo in LA next week. Chrosziel is taking care of distribution and so the Smart Ranger 2 will be available in Chrosziel Kit. The kit includes one base unit, two radio tags, D-tap power cable, battery charger, and Chrosziel custom made case. The list price for the whole kit is $7,115 in the US and €6,350 (plus VAT) in Europe.

What do you think about the Qinematiq Smart Ranger 2? How do you measure distances on set? Could this ease your workflow? Let us know in the comments underneath the article.

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Prince Harry Wins Damages From Photo Agency Who Released Helicopter Photos of His Home

Prince Harry Wins Damages From Photo Agency Who Released Helicopter Photos of His Home

An LA-based photo agency has apologized and agreed to pay “substantial” damages to Prince Harry after they flew a helicopter over his home, taking images of his living room and bedroom.

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Google Suspends Android Support After Huawei Is Blacklisted by US Government

Google Suspends Android Support After Huawei Is Blacklisted by US Government

Trouble is brewing for Huawei, after the phone brand immediately lost access to Google’s Android operating system updates. The action followed as a result of Trump and the US government attempting to blacklist Huawei around the world.

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4K Medium Format Video Is Here: Meet the Fujifilm GFX 100

Fujifilm skips over full-frame and goes straight to medium format with the GFX-100 coming in under $10,000 this summer.

It’s not secret we are excited about the promise of medium format mirrorless cameras. Between our tests with the Hasselblad platform and our general appreciate for all things large sensor, we’ve known that we were getting closer and closer to having useable medium format cinematography solutions.

Why is that so exciting?

Well, as seen with the popularity of “full frame” cameras like the Alexa LF, Sony VENICE, and RED Monstro, a larger sensor really does create a different image. You get better low light performance, and you get a whole different view on the scene. Of course nothing good comes without drawbacks; you need lenses that are designed to cover the sensor, you have a smaller depth of field, and generally, things cost more.

A lot of those drawbacks are about to be overcome with the new GFX-100 from Fujifilm, shipping this summer for under $10,000.

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Gradients Help You Fake the Look of Colored Lighting Gels in Photoshop

Gradients Help You Fake the Look of Colored Lighting Gels in Photoshop

Colored lighting gels can take the illumination in your images from standard to outstanding by adding color for a touch of interest and depth. And while nothing can create that look quite like the real thing, you can fake an interesting colored gel effect for your images using some simple tricks in Photoshop.

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5 Low-Cost Tips to Help You Solve Common Green Screen Problems

These helpful tips will help you navigate those difficult green screen situations on your low-budget, indie film productions.

Using a green screen isn’t all that hard, especially considering how many resources are out there teaching you how to do it.

But sometimes stuff comes up…bad stuff…tricky stuff that needs a little more finesse and know-how, like how to deal with light-colored hair, green clothing, and using a vectorscope to get a good key.

So, if you want to safeguard yourself in case you run into one of these challenging green screen scenarios, watch this video from Cinecom. In it, Jordy Vandeput goes over 5 tips that will help you pull the perfect key (or close to it) when working with the green stuff.

The Basics

Okay, before you jump into using a green screen, it’s important to know a few essential techniques that will ensure that you’re able to pull a good key. Let’s run through them really quickly.

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After Four Years in the Making, Is This the Most Compact Travel Tripod Ever?

After Four Years in the Making, Is This the Most Compact Travel Tripod Ever?

Known for their innovative products, Peak Design has announced their latest brainchild. The Travel Tripod is designed to be one of the most compact and easy to transport tripods ever.

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Did Stanley Kubrick Predict The Future of Entertainment?

As technology evolves, branded content soars, and screens pop up all over the place, the future of film and TV has become the Wild West. But how did Kubrick see this as an opportunity? And how did he predict it?

In an early interview, Stanley Kubrick talked about audiences needed an economy to a movie’s statement. As you know as a filmmaker, it can be hard to capture the attention of the audience. The greatest crime in entertainment is being boring. But what does that mean for the future of film and TV?

Today we’ll go over what new formats and new buyers mean as you begin or extend your filmmaking career.

In this video essay from Must See Films, Darren Foley goes through Stanley Kubrick’s words on the economy of a statement.

Inside the video, Kubrick states:

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Leica and Lenny Kravitz produce limited edition ‘Drifter’ M Monochrom with snakeskin finish

Rock star and keen photographer Lenny Kravitz has produced another limited edition camera in partnership with Leica Germany, this time with a rock n roll feel—and a snakeskin covering.

The Drifter is a Leica M Monochrom kit that comes with Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, and an APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH lenses and a case to carry them. All the items in the kit are finished with a sepia brown paint and the camera and strap use a synthetic snakeskin that is designed to reflect Kravitz’s wardrobe.

Leica says the result is an ‘attention-commanding and soulful Leica camera made for global touring,’ with Kravitz adding ‘I’m a drifter […] That has been my life since I was 15-years-old; I’m always on the road.’

Other than the finish the camera is a standard M Monochrom, but will also feature untreated brass on the hotshoe rails, the thumb wheel, the shutter button and the soft-release button to lend it a stylish vintage look over time.

This is the second limited edition M camera Lenny Kravitz has been involved with, coming up with the design for the Correspondent version of the M-P in 2015 in memory of his reporter father. The Drifter kit will be limited to only 125 globally, and will cost $23,950 / £20,500. Kravitz’s accompanying “Drifter” photo exhibition is currently being showcased at the Leica Gallery in Wetzlar, Germany. For more information see the Leica website.

Press release:

One for the road: new limited-edition Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ is Lenny Kravitz’s ode to touring

Leica Camera AG and Kravitz Design have collaborated on a camera built for rock n’ roll nomads who can be found on either side of the lens. The look of the Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ has been created by Grammy-winning musician, actor and artist Lenny Kravitz, who is no stranger to bold style and individual expression. The result is an attention-commanding and soulful Leica camera made for global touring. The name is inspired by how Kravitz sees himself, “I’m a drifter. That has been my life since I was 15-years-old; I’m always on the road.”

This limited edition camera is designed with an eye-catching ‘synthetic python’ snakeskin covering, made from premium-quality vegan leather which looks straight out of the rockstar’s wardrobe. Kravitz was made aware of this synthetic material by his close friend, fashion designer and animal rights activist Stella McCartney, who uses it for many of her own creations. The matching carrying strap made of woven fabric is coated with the same vegan leather as the camera. The camera’s monochrom body is luxuriously retro in special sepia brown paint, and the hotshoe, thumb wheel, shutter and soft-release buttons are made from untreated brass, which will allow a stylish vintage look to develop over time.

Two state-of-the-art lenses are included, both finished in sepia brown; a Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, and an APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. In a departure from the standard production model, the Summicron-M 28mm f/2 features a built-in extendable lens hood to match the design of its 75mm counterpart.

This camera demands five-star accommodation; a smart brown leather-like ‘Drifter Traveller’ bag, two pouches and cases for both lenses are included, so your kit is always protected.

Lenny Kravitz was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964 to an Afro-American mother and a Ukrainian-Jewish father. He is not only a world-famous musician, songwriter, producer and actor but also an accomplished photographer. As a musician, Kravitz is a multi-instrumentalist who uses analogue recording technology to underline the retro-character of his songs. As a visual artist, he has enjoyed success with his design studio, Kravitz Design, and has also become an accomplished photographer publishing ‘Flash’, a book of his black-and-white photographs in 2015. “I love the quality of the Leica’s monochrom system’ says Kravitz, “it’s exquisite. I tend to see things in black-and-white. It looks more real to me, and timeless.”

This is the second time Lenny and his design team have collaborated with Leica on a limited-edition masterpiece. In 2015, he was inspired by the life of his father, a Vietnam War reporter and TV news producer, to create the ‘Correspondent’, a vintage-look Leica M-P. This time, Lenny has looked within himself and authored a design which reflects the lifestyle of a cosmopolitan artist and travelling musician stopping to capture his or her unique experiences.

With production limited to 125 units globally, the Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ is incredibly exclusive and highly collectable; RRP is £20,500.

Script Coverage: Why You Need and Where to Get It

Script Coverage: Why You Need and Where to Get It

Content is king, and you know it — that’s why you wrote a script. But if you don’t get script coverage before you send your baby out to prospective buyers, you might not be putting your best foot forward. If you just wrote your first screenplay, you already know script writing is a great place to get started in the film and television business. It costs nothing and all you need to invest is your precious time… (and perhaps some cash on script coverage — but we’ll get to that). That said, it’s an incredibly competitive field and the number of scripts that are written vastly outnumber the scripts that get produced. You need to stand out. If someone requests to read your script, you might just get one shot to show them what you can do. If your idea is great but it is poorly structured and under-developed, you might be perceived as a hack, and be quickly dismissed. On the other hand, if you hand in a polished beauty of a script and they aren’t hot on the idea, they are more likely to look at something else you have.

By now you’ve probably done your homework. You’ve read every book on script writing, you’ve listened to podcasts, you’ve given birth to a draft, and have suffered through many re-writes. You’re so close to success you can taste it. But until your script has an audience, you really have no idea if it is working or will have your intended effect on people. This is why you don’t want to send it out, yet. You don’t want a very busy Script Analyst, Producer or Manager who holds the key to your future to be your guinea pig. Let someone else do that, someone who will give you constructive feedback and make your script better. And the best person to do this is a professional – someone who analyzes scripts for a living. But before you dole out money for script coverage, I would take a look at other ways to get feedback on your script before you spend the big bucks.

In this article, we’ll look at the following options for script coverage:

  1. Writers groups
  2. Film festivals like Slamdance and Blue Cat Screenplay Competition
  3. Websites that give feedback like The Blacklist and American Zoetrope
  4. Script coverage services like
  5. Writer career sites

Writers Groups

The safest place to get feedback is from your friends. They are so supportive and want nothing but success for you. They also rarely tell you the cold, hard truth. They will focus on the good stuff and not mention what isn’t working for them. So you may want to start there, but move on quickly!

The best way to begin the torture of getting criticism is to find other Writers. Even if they are not seasoned professionals, they can tell you if something isn’t clear. If you are open to it, they can also suggest something that might help make it better. It might not be something you agree with, but it might lead you to the right solution. Make sure you choose people who have the same sensibilities and are equally as motivated as you. You won’t get everything you need here, but it’s a great place to warm-up.

There are loads of script coverage services out there. Here’s what you need to look for: have these people, indeed, worked in the industry doing studio coverage for industry insiders? Have they worked in development? Are they in the Editor’s guild as a story analyst? Check their credentials before you fork over hundreds of dollars.

Film Festivals

Another place to get objective feedback is through film festivals. Two of the most popular places where they offer decent feedback are Slamdance and Blue Cat Screenplay Competition. It may not be too detailed, but it will be anonymous, which has its benefits. They don’t know you, so their critique is formed solely by the words on the page. These people, however, are rarely industry professionals, so it won’t be as constructive as in-depth coverage. Nevertheless, it’s a great stepping-stone that costs less than script coverage services. Screenplay competitions otherwise don’t do much to advance your career so be careful about spending money in this arena. There are exceptions, but do your research. By choosing festivals that offer feedback it’s easier to justify the fee. At $35 and up a pop, I’d submit to a few and save your money for something that can be more beneficial to your writing career or getting your script in tip-top shape.

Websites That Give Feedback

There are two kinds of websites where you can get feedback – peer critique and industry critique. Both have value. You just need to take the feedback with a grain of salt. There are a number of these sites, but two of the most popular ones are The Blacklist, which is industry review and American Zoetrope (of Francis Ford Coppola fame), which is peer criticism.

The Blacklist website was designed to give writers “industry access.” There are a number of sites like this, so make sure you know what you are getting into. They often dangle a carrot: if you sign up with them and your script is up to snuff, it could get the attention of Producers or Managers, who can search the site to see if anything grabs their attention. This might happen, but don’t hold your breath. The Blacklist touts that six scripts have been produced in three years… out of 55,000 scripts submitted!

American Zoetrope is a peer review site, which is an expanded version of a writers group. In order to get reviewed, you must give a review, so it’s a bit tricky. You don’t know how experienced the Writer who gives feedback on your script is, and not everyone is good at constructive criticism. You have to have tough skin with these sites. They both can hit you in the gut.

First of all, it’s ok to disagree with a note. I have a five-time rule. If five people say it, I need to think about it.

Script Coverage Services

There are loads of script coverage services out there. Here’s what you need to look for: have these people, indeed, worked in the industry doing studio coverage for industry insiders? Have they worked in development? Are they in the Editor’s guild as a story analyst? Check their credentials before you fork over hundreds of dollars. Also, check out what they offer. Some will just give you “studio coverage,” which is the kind of coverage they would give to their bosses; others give you more constructive criticism. I prefer the latter. Studio coverage will get in the weeds and let you know what is working and what is not, and give you a “recommend,” “consider” or “pass” grade, but detailed feedback will give you more tools to jump into a rewrite. See if they offer a phone consultation so you can clarify things and ask questions.

Writer Career Sites

Another resource for Screenwriters are sites like the International Screenwriters Association or Roadmap Writers. There are others, but these are the most popular. Both of these sites offer coverage, but also offer ongoing support for Writers. Roadmap Writers, in particular, will work with Writers not only on developing great scripts, but they also help Writers develop their careers. They, too, offer to hook you up with industry professionals, but they help you hone your craft first, then pair you with industry professionals they know and who would be a good fit for you. With these sites, you get more attention and they offer a solid sounding board for Writers who toil away alone in the dark. They can also be your champions. The more Writers they shepherd to the top, the better their reputation is and the more business they get.

What to Expect With Notes

First of all, it’s ok to disagree with a note. I have a five-time rule. If five people say it, I need to think about it. Also, sometimes people will respond with their taste. If it’s not their favorite genre, they may not be hot on your story. Or if the character is someone they don’t like, well, you’re out of luck – with them. Let it roll off you and move on.

However, there are times to pay attention. If something isn’t clear, make it clear. It might make sense in your head, but not to a reader. What information did you forget to put on the page? Character notes are also important. If the character is misunderstood or has no depth, you really need to take heed. We watch movies to identify with characters so dig into these notes to make sure you have created a character an audience can latch on to. The same goes with the character motivation. These things are the backbone of your script.

Structural notes are also important. I’m not keen on the three-act structure, or things happening on a certain page, but if your reader can’t follow the story, that’s a legit problem. One somewhat ambiguous note you might get is, “the stakes aren’t high enough.” To address this note, a good question to ask is, why do we care about what happens to these characters? The more your character has to lose, the more engaged your audience is.

The most important thing about getting notes is to remember that they are not personal. The more you get notes, the more you will be able to decipher what is critical and what is opinion. Don’t let your ego get in the way.

Ultimately your goal is to sell or produce your script. So you absolutely want it to be rock solid or it will be tossed in the garbage after a few pages, or, if you made it yourself and got it on a screen, it will be turned off in two minutes. Your work will get better with notes. Notes are a part of the life of any filmmaker. Quite frankly, the more successful you are, the more notes you will get – Director notes, Producer notes, studio notes…. Get used to them and make them work for you!

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Samsung researchers create AI that transforms still images into talking portraits

Researchers with the Samsung AI Center in Moscow and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have published a new paper detailing the creation of software that generates 3D animated heads from a single still image. Unlike previously detailed AI systems capable of generating photo-realistic portraits, the new technology produces moving, talking heads that, though not perfect, are highly realistic.

‘Practical scenarios’ require a system that can be trained using only a few—or even a single —of a person rather than an extensive image dataset, the newly published study explains. To satisfy this requirement, researchers created a system for which ‘training can be based on just a few images and done quickly, despite the need to tune tens of millions of parameters.’

Using generative adversarial networks, researchers were able to animate painted portraits in addition to images, producing, among other things, a talking, moving version of the Mona Lisa. As demonstrated in a video detailing the study (below), final results vary in quality and realism, with some being arguably indistinguishable (at least at low resolutions) from real videos.

The researchers explain in their paper that the use of additional images to train the system results in life-like final results:

Crucially, only a handful of photographs (as little as one) is needed to create a new model, whereas the model trained on 32 images achieves perfect realism and personalization score in our user study (for 224p static images).

Some other issues remain with this type of system, the researchers note, including a ‘noticeable personality mismatch’ between the person featured in the still image(s) and the talking individual used to animate the portrait. The researchers explain, ‘if one wants to create “fake” puppeteering videos without such mismatch, some landmark adaptation is needed.’

The technology remains viable for purposes that don’t necessarily require a personality match, but rather the simple animation of a character that exists only as a small series of still images. Thus far, the technology only works on faces and the upper parts of one’s torso. It’s unclear whether the researchers plan to expand the system to include other body parts.

Samsung’s study joins past AI-based portrait work from NVIDIA, as well as non-portrait AI image generation, including the system NVIDIA debuted earlier this year — one capable of rapidly converting simple sketches into complex landscape images.