Lessons From My First 8 Months as a Fulltime Freelance Photographer

Lessons From My First 8 Months as a Fulltime Freelance Photographer

Last October, I finally made the jump from part-time freelance into the world of being a full-time creative. It has been a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions, but here are the things I have learned so far.

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Teradek RT CTRL.3 Deluxe Kit Review

The Teradek RT wireless FIZ system is an interesting concept that leverages technology from multiple brands. With products increasingly becoming a combination of both hardware and software, I was interested to see just how well Teradek’s RT wireless FIZ system blends both of them together. For this review, I am going to be looking at … Continued

The post Teradek RT CTRL.3 Deluxe Kit Review appeared first on Newsshooter.

Vice Squad: Director Abel Ferrara on Screenwriter Zoë Lund on Bad Lieutenant

Bad Lieutenant was the cover story for the Winter, 1993 edition of Filmmaker — this magazine’s second issue. This feature by Scott Macaulay, with quotes from director Abel Ferrara and screenwriter Zoë Lund, appears online for the first time. ***“No one can kill me. I’m blessed. I’m a fucking Catholic.” — Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant. “The title is so ironic, Bad Lieutenant. Because of course it doesn’t mean he’s bad. You have the semantic irony of the “baaad” lieutenant and the central irony of ‘Is he bad or is he not bad and perhaps one needs to be bad […]

Looking for a Better Video Tripod? You May Want to Watch This

Looking for a Better Video Tripod? You May Want to Watch This

If you are into videography and you feel the tripod is not a tool to just hold your camera in place, you are not alone. Getting a tripod that is sturdy enough, smooth enough, and easy to work with enough is a worthwhile investment.

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Is the Google Pixel 3 a Good Camera or Just a Good Camera for a Phone?

Is the Google Pixel 3 a Good Camera or Just a Good Camera for a Phone?

When Google announced the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the company touted its camera as the best in its class, becoming the first camera manufacturer to ever partner with legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz. In this in-depth look into the camera’s capabilities, we can see just how great the camera can be.

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Bloody Thoughts: Abel Ferrara on The Addiction

Appearing online for the first time, here is Scott Macaulay’s report on Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction, from our Winter, 1995 edition. It appears here in newly revised form. *** “Addiction will be our question: a certain type of ‘Being-on-drugs’ that has everything to do with the bad conscious of our era.” — Avital Ronell, Crack Wars “Look at this,” Abel Ferrara says, tracing his finger across the video monitor in his Manhattan office/editing room. On the screen: black-and-white images of blood-streaked, bullet-ridden Bosnian casualties. “This is the real thing.” These images, and others of Nazi concentration camp victims from Ferrara’s […]

Three Reasons Why Mimimalism Can Help Create a Better Photo

Three Reasons Why Mimimalism Can Help Create a Better Photo

The natural tendency for a beginner photographer is to try to show as much as possible in their photos. They want to show everything that they’re experiencing at the time. Under the right conditions, a wide-angle shot like that has its place. However, often, the better shot is the one that shows as little as possible. This technique in photography is called minimalism.

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I’m In You: Director Spike Jonze and Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman Talk Being John Malkovich.

In Spike Jonze’s future, you will be famous for 15 minutes. The catch? You will only be famous as John Malkovich. Confused? Don’t be. Being John Malkovich, Jonze’s devious debut feature, creates from our schizophrenic celebrity culture an original comedy that is as affecting as it is absurd. Scott Macaulay ponders the meaning of it all with Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman in an interview that originally appeared in our Fall, 1999 print edition. There are auspicious debut films, and then there is Being John Malkovitch. Long a subject of film-geek gossip during its production due to its bizarre premise—a […]

Breaking the Myth of the Ideal Boudoir Client [NSFW]

Breaking the Myth of the Ideal Boudoir Client [NSFW]

A common misconception is that boudoir is for younger women. I have heard prospective clients think it is only for brides, for newlyweds, or for 20-somethings. A boudoir photographer in New Jersey is working to bring light to all the clients 50 and older who book sessions.

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Tamron Has Already Run Out of 17-28mm f/2.8 Lenses for Sony Full-Frame Cameras

Tamron Has Already Run Out of 17-28mm f/2.8 Lenses for Sony Full-Frame Cameras

For Sony full-frame shooters, the 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD been one of the most eagerly anticipated lens launches this year, and it seems that demand has caught Tamron by surprise.

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Photoshop Shift Key Tips You Need to Know

Photoshop Shift Key Tips You Need to Know

Thanks to Photoshop’s myriad of features, it’s more than understandable that you don’t know every single key combination or shortcut out there. Here are several ways to use the shift key to make your life while editing so much easier.

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The 10 Best Horror Movies of 2019 (So Far)

Here we are just squeaking by the midpoint of 2019 and already, as any genre fan can attest, we’ve seen a wealth of outstanding horror films. The following list of 10 titles rates and ranks what have so far been Taste of Cinema’s favorites, but it’s worth pointing out that the months ahead will unleash several anticipated fright films (Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep, Andy Muschietti’s It Chapter Two, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s The Lodge, as well as Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell, amongst them) that are sure to be added to our year end horror roundup this winter.

A few shoutouts also deserve going out to some better than average reboot/redos that didn’t quite make this list, like Lars Klevberg’s Child’s Play and Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s Pet Sematary (not so much a reboot, but it is the second adaptation of King’s best-seller), both worth a watch for horror junkies.

And now, without further ado, here are the films, and be sure to join the conversation in the comments section below (be nice!). Enjoy.

 

10. Hellboy

Yes, Hellboy. No doubt a few people will scoff at the inclusion of Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot on any list purporting to be a “best of” anything, and won’t read any further down this list –– instead they’ll be writing a douchey insult in the comments below along with a groundless opinion about this film, which they likely haven’t even seen.

Well, that’s the internet for you. I’m here to tell you that the critics and the public got it wrong when they brushed this film aside and treated it with contempt. This Hellboy iteration, the third live-action adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comic book hero, is a diabolical delight.

David Harbour is fine as our eponymous half-demon, a dude who files his horns so he can wear hats, and the film draws on elements from some of Mignola’s strongest Hellboy tales (“Darkness Calls” and “The Wild Hunt” in particular), delivering us nothing but a gory good time.

Hellboy’s an old school 1980s/90s-style monster movie full of early Sam Raimi/Peter Jackson-era splatter that plays out like Evil Dead II meets Labyrinth and now I ask you, how the shit does that not sound completely and totally awesome?

 

9. Starfish

UK-born, LA-based director/composer/writer A.T. White makes a splash with his visionary debut feature, a monster-permeated, apocalyptic-set indie. This artful, horror-themed character study stars Virginia Gardner as Aubrey, a young woman mourning the unexpected death of her best friend, Grace.

Grieving is a personal and complicated journey, and Starfish does this potentially dour theme justice by exploring how self-condemnation can be a painful factor in saying goodbye. Holed up in Grace’s small town apartment, Aubrey soon discovers that while she was wracked with guilt something utterly cataclysmic –– and let’s just say it, Lovecraftian –– has happened to the world.

Thankfully for Aubrey, Grace has left a series of clandestine clues about the unfolding Armageddon via cassette tapes she’s stashed around town. “This Mixtape Will Save the World” reads one, and that’s enough to get Aubrey down the rabbithole in this melancholic and consistently imaginative little movie.

 

8. Piercing

Piercing-Movie-2019

Any genre movie fan worth a lick knows the name of Japanese novelist Ryū Murakami, the transgressive taskmaster behind such brilliant, darkly comical and mad works of terror as “Almost Transparent Blue” and “Audition”, the basis for Takashi Miike’s celebrated psychological horror film from 1999.

And now Nicolas Pesce, the promising writer-director behind 2016’s startling black-and-white mindfuck The Eyes of My Mother, uses Murakami’s 1994 novel “Piercing” as the source material for his latest, a memorable mélange of artful designs, brutal murder, and cruel comic terror.

Reed (Christopher Abbott) is a young man with murder on his mind who sets out to kill a random prostitute, Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), but instead, he finds himself in a messed up love story, of sorts, about two people who find one another at the best possible time in their lives. Or maybe it’s the worst time, depending on your perspective.

Either way you slice it (pun intended), Piercing is an unpredictable, macabre mindbender, with stylistic flourish to spare, a first rate soundtrack (more a mixtape/playlist of your favorite Argento and giallo moments), and some flashy performances from leads that are too likeable considering what sickos they are.

 

7. Brightburn

This fast-paced genre entry from producer James Gunn and director David Yarovesky takes a nasty nosedive into rather unexplored waters in the form of superhero horror.

Working with an inspired screenplay from Brian and Mark Gunn (two of James’ prolific brothers), Brightburn reimagines elements from the oft-told Superman origin story that posits the question: what if a child from another world were to crash-land on Earth and be raised amongst us? Only where Clark Kent became a hero to mankind, Brandon Breyer (Jackson Dunn) has much more sinister intentions.

Despite the loving and altruistic efforts of Brandon’s human mom (Elizabeth Banks) and dad (David Denman), once his superpowers start to kick in, he terrorizes his small town in the most murderous means imaginable.

The lower-jaw trauma and eyeball injuries so graphically displayed herein will linger long in the memory of even the most jaded and scrupulous gorehounds. Brightburn works as an effective digression and subversion of superhero tropes, making for an unforgettable freakout.

 

6. All the Gods in the Sky

Billed as “the debut feature from French madman Quarxx” it’s apparent from All the Gods in the Sky’s very first startling scene that it’s a visionary inauguration from an artist possessing both vision and craft, not to mention a subversive and transgressive gradient perfect for a midnight movie experience.

Simon (Sebastian Barrio) is a middle-aged man living in a dilapidated old farmhouse who’s wracked with intense guilt over a childhood accident that left his younger sister Estelle (Melanie Gaydos) severely disabled. Simon is on a slow and steady descent into madness as he cares for Estelle, all the while invoking ominous extraterrestrial intervention.

If you enjoy arthouse horror, sci-fi fantasy, and fairy tale-like storytelling balanced by relatable yet forbidding human incident, this gobsmacking and gruesome little picture might just blow you away.

25 Great Movies That Are Cornerstones of Cinema

From the time the Lumière brothers started experimenting at capturing and storing everyday realities in moving frames to the cinema of the 21st century, we have traveled through decades of advancement. This had been made possible by early pioneers who realized the potential of cinema at such a time, and with careful observation and experimentation, invented new features and techniques that enriched the cinematic eye.

If we try to contrast today’s advanced cinematic techniques with the creative outputs of previous decades, it may seem dated and hyped, but without those initial inventions, we wouldn’t have gone anywhere. They literally created magic with their creativity with such limited resources, and this article wants to celebrate those achievements.

Though there were several brave people who tried their hand at experimenting with the early forms of the cinematograph, for the sake of brevity some of them have excused here. Instead, we have listed those visionary film works that helped cinema to leap unprecedented heights instantaneously with their quality.

The Lumière brothers are also excused here because apart from commercializing the initial short films, they underestimated the potential of cinema with the statement, “The cinema is an invention without any future.” Filmmaker or not, these works are necessary viewing for every film lover. Watch these marvels and astound with their amazing qualities. Without further ado, here are 25 classic films that are cornerstones of cinema.

 

1. Cinderella (1899) Directed by: George Méliès

For the most attentive and scholarly film viewers, George Méliès’ crowning achievement is “A Trip to the Moon.” It was a legendary piece of work for sure, but cinematic magician Melies first started polishing the cinematic future with the first film adaptation “Cinderella.”

In the small runtime of five minutes and 38 seconds, Méliès presented a coherent plot and used the first transition dissolve, which shaped the editing style of the future. This was also the first time multiple scenes were included in a film. With fantastic set design and assured direction by Méliès, it is a treat for film lovers.

 

2.  A Trip to the Moon (1902) Directed by: George Méliès

trip_to_the_moon

This is the film for which Méliès is frequently labeled as the original cinematic magician. Apart from holding the record of filming the fastest science fiction film, Méliès employed all of his invented techniques in his “A Trip to the Moon.”

Here, for the first time in the history of cinema, he used special effects for which every sci-fi film owes to him. He made use of all the scarce goodies from his bag including stop-motion and superimposition. It also used a hand-painted backdrop, multiple exposure, and nonlinear editing to create the finest fantasy film of the earlier times.

 

3. The Great Train Robbery (1903) Directed by: Edwin S. Porter

great train robbery

With “The Great Train Robbery,” Edwin Porter shot us at gunpoint. The image of the bandit shooting directly toward the camera is a frame for the legend books. Just like in the Lumière brothers’ projection, the arrival of a train terrified early viewers; this shot was another one of the greatest scary moments in cinema at a time when the violence is now prominent, in your face, not in subtle hiding.

Expanding on the work of “Life of an American Fireman,” Porter used composite editing, cross cuts, and real location shooting in this film. He first showed that cinema can manipulate time by presenting two different viewpoints of the same time, to which our editors owe so much.

 

4. The Birth of a Nation (1915) Directed by: D.W. Griffith

Birth of a Nation (1915)

What the experimenters before D.W Griffith tried to do with new established editing patterns, Griffith exemplified them in this project. Lately, this film has created controversy for its pro-Ku Klux Klan sentiment, but regarding the technical mastery,  Griffith is at his best here.

“The Birth of a Nation” had used continuity editing techniques at their best advantage with the master filmmaker frequently changing the distance of the camera from the subject seamlessly. For the first time, the tempo and the pace of the film are also manipulated with absolute precision according to the climatic needs of the story.

The parallel editing doesn’t seem jarring, with special attention given to the establishing and close-up shots. For heightening the melodrama and sentiment of a certain scene, he showed a single scene numerous times for a significant length, but the outcome was no less exemplary.

 

5. Intolerance (1916) Directed by: D.W.Griffith

intolerance-1916

The invention of thematic juxtaposition started with “Intolerance.” Here, the ambition was high with Griffith presenting the story of four different decades woven in a single film, and he succeeded magnificently. He tinted each decade with different colors and cross-cut back and forth between sequences.

Humanity’s bigotry and cruelty was never more appalling with Griffith increasing the tempo of the cross-cutting by decreasing the time of the segments to reach a horrific final climax.

 

6. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Directed by: Robert Wiene

cabinet-du-dr-caligari

The poster child of German expressionism, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” continues to teach modern filmmakers how to effectively make a horror film with scarce resources, such is its legacy. The early pioneers had nothing but the creative urge within them and they realized that they can only scare the audience with transferring the film’s atmosphere to an unrealistic plane.

So they framed the scenes angularly, invertedly with weird geometrical shapes, and created a terrifying atmosphere with expressionistic set design and art direction. The result is a surreal, weird creepy film that is material of a nightmare.

 

7. Ballet Mécanique (1924) Directed by: Dudley Murphy and Fernand Leger

Dudley Murphy and Fernand Leger realized the absurdism inherent in the relationship between mechanics and art and made this film. Every film of the earlier generation was an experiment in itself, but this was the first avant-garde film that was conscious in exhibiting what it wanted to convey.

Non-animate and animate things perfectly synchronize in the film to create an intentional psychological jarring effect. With George Méliès, cinema discovered the future of surreality, but Murphy and Leger contributed more with this single absurdist postmodern dadaist flick that paved the way for today’s brave experimental filmmakers.

 

8. Mother (1926) Directed by: Vsevolod Pudovkin

The early Russian filmmakers knew the inherent power hidden in the sequencing of the images, that in an individualistic sense, they are powerless, but when in the hands of a proper filmmaker, their idealistic and thematic synthesis trumps over. More fluid and poetic than his counterpart Eisenstein, Pudovkin built his “Mother” as a more personal story where the editing follows the rhythm of psychological progression, not the rule of creating maximum shock.

When a prisoner received the letter of his end term, after a close-up of his shaken hands, Pudovkin showed the shots of the brook, a play of sunlight in the pond, and the laugh of a child to sympathize the audience with the prisoner’s emotion. Film editing finally becomes a highly decorative and utility item with the hand of Pudovkin.

Samyang / Rokinon 85mm F1.4 AF sample gallery

The Samyang / Rokinon 85mm F1.4 AF represents excellent value for the money. It produces sharp results, even wide open with nice bokeh. And even though the brand only recently started making AF glass, it focuses quickly and precisely. We tested it out on the Canon EOS R, Sony a7R III and Sony a6500. Have a look.

See our Rokinon 85mm F1.4 AF sample gallery

Review: Wondershare FilmoraPro video editing software

Wondershare FilmoraPro
$149.99 (Lifetime) or $89.99 (Yearly) | wondershare.net

Wondershare FilmoraPro. Can it compete with the market leaders like Premeire Pro or Final Cut Pro X?

There has been a significant growth in the number of nonlinear editors (NLEs) available in the last ten years. In particular, the growth of YouTube has meant a large number of people are looking for good video editing software at a reasonable price. Gone are the days when video editing was only useful for film and television companies, with costs that ran into six figures. There is now a demand from millions of channels that need to edit their content, and they’re all looking for something that’s easy to use, provides value for money and is able to expand as a channel grows.

Wondershare, a company that makes a variety of video software, recently introduced FilmoraPro, an NLE that seems like it might be a a good fit for this market, though Wondershare tells me it’s targeting the Premiere Pro user who’s disillusioned with the subscription model. Having used a number of different NLEs over the years, I was interested to see what FilmoraPro had to offer, and whether it could compete against the likes of the more established products like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, or DaVinci Resolve.

Key Features

  • Unlimited Video Tracks
  • Audio Noise Reduction
  • Automatic Audio Sync
  • Motion Graphics animation support
  • Auto color correction
  • Available for Mac and Windows

At first glance

The simple opening screen.

My initial impression of FilmoraPro was good; it was easy to download, install and get started up quickly. The user interface you’re greeted with is very clean indeed, showing only options for opening existing projects or creating a new one and a very basic menu bar.

Diving into the menus I was pleased to see that it has a very useful option that prompts you to set the frame rate and resolution for a new project. With some software it can be infuriating when you forget to set this initially as you might have to create a new project and re-import the media all over again if you get it wrong or you forget to set it correctly.

Just a small sample of the 50+ project presets available.

FilmoraPro offers a huge range of frame rates and resolutions all the way up to 4K UHD at 100 frames a second. It’s even possible to set custom resolutions and frame rates. Also available are preset options for Instagram and other projects with a vertical video aspect. Changing some of these options requires a restart of the software, though this took under 10 seconds with my set up, a refreshing change.

Wondershare offers a number of tutorial videos on YouTube which are quite comprehensive and go through the basics and some of the more advanced features. It’s well worth watching these videos if you’re new to FilmoraPro as they’re well put together.

Flexible workspaces

The user interface is relatively simple, allowing you to get on with editing your video. It doesn’t have all the options and complications of other NLEs, which can be seen as an advantage, but it also has it’s own issues as well as I’ll cover later.

When opening a project or creating a new one you’re greeted with the standard editor interface common to a lot of NLEs. However, FilmoraPro is very flexible in this regard and it’s possible to change the layout if required. Standard layouts are available for editing, trimming, audio, effects, color correction, media and text, any of which can be changed if you don’t like the size or position of the windows.

The default unpopulated edit workspace in FilmoraPro.

The process of assembling clips together is very easy. The interface is not intimidating, though you can’t seem to have multiple timelines in the same project. I also found the ability to adjust the transparency of the video level directly on the clip in the timeline rather awkward. It’s very easy to drag this line accidentally and hence change the transparency of the video when you don’t mean to.

FilmoraPro’s YUV color correction tool lacks some pro options.

Color Work

Moving on to color correction, I found it lacking in a few areas. It borrows heavily from photo editing software in its approach to color manipulation via the application of preset filters than can be adjusted. Although it does have YUV grading via basic wheels, these adjustments are in the color correction section rather than color grading. This is not in itself a huge problem, but it certainly doesn’t translate well when transitioning from other NLEs. I did find that the auto color setting worked well for some of the shots I was using, getting about 90% of the way there. Although if you’re looking for a very stylized color the auto setting won’t work very well, but that’s to be expected.

For those situations it offers the ability to apply LUTs (Look Up Tables); there are several available pre-loaded, but it’s also possible to add industry standard .CUBE files as well. What I found disappointing is that the preset LUTs are not industry standard, but instead are named after the look of several popular films and TV series like Game of Thrones and Star Wars, another indication that this may not be a truly pro product.

Audio, Effects and Text

Looking at the audio edit work space, there are some basic options that are missing, for example, a proper parametric EQ or side chain control. It does allow you to sample and reduce noise and to add reverb effects to simulate various room sizes. It doesn’t offer a way to record external audio, when adding a voice-over track for example.

The rather disappointing audio edit effect filters.

When working with effects, there are quite a few options, again borrowed mainly from the stills world. Unfortunately, there’s no motion tracking or stabilization available, though I’m told that stabilization is planned for inclusion in a future release.

The comprehensive light flare effect.

The lens flare effect options are quite comprehensive, offering plenty of scope for adjustment, though the slow motion effect could do with a bit of work as it only offers a single option and no smooth movement or motion flow option.

I do think there’s a usability issue with the text options, which are split over two separate windows when they should be combined into one. I also think it’s a bit too complicated for adding simple text, however the software offers the ability to add several pre-made title styles which can then be customized and combined with lighting effects if required.

The title tool offers lots of options but could do with some reorganization to simplify things.

Import and Export

There is some good news, however. I found that FilmoraPro could open a file that would not even be recognized with Davinci Resolve 16. This enabled me to help a friend who wanted to join a number of specially shot short films together for a film festival.

When exporting a completed timeline there is no graphics hardware acceleration and the CPU isn’t fully leveraged. When rendering the aforementioned file and transcoding it from MPEG2 to H.264 the rendering speed was just over real time. When adding any effect or color correction to a shot you can expect the render time to increase considerably. In my tests an auto color correction effect on a 1-minute shot gave me a render time of 2.5x of the unaffected shot.

Conclusion

At $149.99 for a lifetime license, or $89.99 for a yearly one, FilmoraPro is priced attractively when compared Adobe Premeire, which requries a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. However, it still has a fight on it’s hands as there are a quite a few fully-featured competitors out there, some of which offer more functionality at zero cost, including Avid’s Media Composer First and Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve, or, at just slightly higher cost, Davinci Resolve Studio ($300) or Final Cut Pro X ($300, Mac only).

I think users looking to move to FilmoraPro from other pro-level software will find that it’s not quite pro enough. The key user will be someone looking to start out with an easy to use NLE or someone who is looking to upgrade from other Filmora software.

What we like

  • Ease of use
  • Lots of options for frame rate and resolution project settings
  • Effects can be grouped and saved as a preset
  • Easy to read audio meters
  • Good online video tutorials
  • Easy crashed-project recovery

What we’d like to see improved

  • Not enough audio options for pros
  • Color tools need more pro options
  • No motion tracking
  • No shot stabilization (planned for future update)
  • Lack of hardware acceleration for output rendering