Is DJI About to Announce a New Gimbal for DSLR Cameras?

Indie filmmakers, rejoice! It looks like DJI is about to announce a new and improved gimbal.

The DJI Ronin-S came out last January and has been a highly functional stabilizer with lots of handy accessories, but many users complained about its weight.

However, on a teaser page over at the DJI website, the company is promising some new gear that is “lighter and smarter than ever,” most likely a gimbal.

There’s also a Tweet on DJI’s account that possibly offers some quick glimpses of the gadget’s blueprints.

It looks like we’re about to be blessed with a new lightweight Ronin gimbal.

The blueprints and teasers seem to hint that the new gimbal will retain the form of the Ronin-S but be a thinner, more lightweight design.

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Sony is teasing a ‘special live event’ set to be livestreamed July 16 at 10am EDT

A screenshot of the livestream announcement on Sony’s Alpha Universe website.

Sony Electronics Digital Imaging is teasing a ‘special live event’ set to be streamed on its Sony Alpha Universe website starting tomorrow, July 16, 2019, at 10am EDT (3pm BST).

There’s no details on what’s being announced, but the rumor mill has certainly been churning. To watch the ‘special live event,’ simply have the website open at the scheduled time or sign up on Sony Alpha Universe website to receive a notification via email before the livestreams goes…well…live.

Die Yuppie Scum! Director Mary Harron on American Psycho

In her first feature, I Shot Andy Warhol, Mary Harron remembered the craziness of the ‘60s. With her adaptation of novelist Bret Easton Ellis’ satirical gorefest, American Psycho, she coolly captured the money-driven insanity of the ’80s. From our print issue archives, and appearing online for the first time, is this Winter, 2000 cover story: Peter Bowen talks to Harron about social satire, interior design, and Leonardo. In 1991, Bret Easton Ellis’ satirical novel American Psycho caused a minor scandal. Readers and critics could not agree as to whether its icy portrayal of the young, handsome, successful Patrick Bateman, an uber-yuppie who divided […]

Incredible total solar eclipse hyperlapse captured from a drone

Being in the right place, at the right time, with the proper gear is everything when it comes to capturing a phenomenon from a unique perspective. Photographer and astronomer Matt Robinson happened to be in Chile on July 2nd where the only total solar eclipse of 2019 occurred. Robinson created a hyperlapse of the event using his DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone.

‘I wasn’t sure if it was going to work but I didn’t want to use it manually because I wanted to watch what was my first-ever eclipse,’ Robinson told PetaPixel. ‘Around 10 minutes before totality, the drone was sent up above our camp and programmed to fly along and above the spectacular Elqui Valley in Chile.’ Robinson said, ‘I stood there with my hands on my head, mouth gawping at what looked like a portal to another dimension opening just above the horizon.’

The Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom, released in late 2018, are the first DJI drones that feature the Hyperlapse Mode. This makes it relatively simple to capture a time-lapse. Coupled with the Mavic 2’s Hasselblad camera, it’s not surprising the footage turned out well. ‘It had captured the shadow of the moon traveling through the valley and right over us,’ said Robinson.

I’m Back Unveils an Affordable Digital Back for Old Medium Format Cameras

I’m Back, the company behind the popular Digital Back for old 35mm SLRs, is… well… back. And this time they’re funding an affordable digital back that seeks to breathe new life into old medium format cameras from Hasselblad, Bronica, Pentax, Mamiya and more.

The Idea

Slapping a digital back onto older medium format bodies isn’t a new idea. Hasselblad released its CFV-50c back for V-System cameras back in 2014, and it just updated it last month, releasing a version 2 alongside a new 907X camera body. But while pricing hasn’t been announced for the CFV II 50c, you can bet it’s going to cost thousands.

I’m Back, on the other hand, is trying to fund a low-res, small-sensor digital back that will work with most old medium format cameras and only cost you $400 for the digital back and a camera adapter of your choice. Given enough interest, the company is hoping to fund a total of 10 different adapters, making this a very versatile option for turning old medium format bodies into functioning digital cameras.

The campaign’s ultimate goal is to breathe life back into the thousands of medium format camera bodies that are sitting around collecting dust on people’s shelves by making it easier to just pick them up and shoot. If you cuold start shooting with your old Mamiya or Pentax or Bronica cameras again for just $400, even if the results were mediocre, would you?

That seems to be the bet the folks at I’m Back are making, because the hardware at the center of this digital back is also the “but…” at the center of this story.

The Catch

The sensor used in the I’m Back digital back for medium format cameras is a 16MP 1/2.33-inch “Broadcasting and Digital Still Camera” CMOS sensor made by Panasonic. It shoots 16MP photos and 1080/60p video, and it’s about the same size as you’ll find in a GoPro or Google’s Pixel smartphone.

But while Google’s smartphone benefits from extremely advanced AI-powered photo processing, the I’m Back sensor will have no such luck, which means you’ll need to be content with middling image quality at best. Here are some sample images posted by I’m Back to their Kickstarter Page:

And a sample video:

There’s no denying it: this digital back will not be able to compete with a proper digital back from the likes of Hasselblad. But that’s not really its goal either.

In the company’s defense, they’re not shy about the fact that you won’t be pixel peeping these shots, writing that, “I’m Back was intended for those who want to have fun and are tired to discuss about high resolutions and megapixels!!!” and “may not be suitable for professional photographers who wish to maximize the number of pixels in an image.”

Still Worth It?

Knowing all this, the only remaining question is: will the I’m Back digital back for medium format cameras be worth it to you. The answer from at least 56 backers as of this writing is “yes.”

With 51 days to go, the Kickstarter campaign has already raised nearly $19,000 of the $51,000 it needs to be fully funded and sold out of its $300 early-bird deal. For now, a pledge of ~$400 will put you down for one I’m Back MF digital back, and one adapter of your choice. For ~$570, you can select two adapters; ~$710 will get you three adapters; and for ~$770 you can put your name down for two complete I’m Back MF kits.

The current plan is to offer adapters for:

  • Hasselblad 500/1000f/1600f/2000/200/SWA/SWC
  • Bronica Etrs
  • Bronica S
  • Kiev 88
  • Mamiya 645
  • Mamiya C330
  • Mamiya RB 67
  • Pentax 6X7*
  • Pentax 645*
  • Rolleiflex Automat

The asterisk indicates models that will only be produced if they reach a minimum order quantity.

To learn more about this crowdfunding campaign and possibly support it, head over to the Kickstarter campaign by clicking here. As always with niche products like this, there’s no guarantee a funded product means you’ll ever hold a physical product in your hands, but if all goes according to plan, I’m Back intends to deliver the I’m Back MF to backers starting in June 2020.

Get an Instant Migraine with the Story Diamond

There are lots of screenwriting techniques and infographics out there. Some work better than others. And some melt your brain.

Everyone wants to write the best screenplay possible. They want their ideas to hit the page, and the screen, and bring them financial security, fame, riches, and probably a Tesla. You want this. I want this. But I am here to tell you there are no shortcuts to getting it. There are no hidden secrets of the trade.

I’m starting off saying this because I see a lot of people pedaling expensive fixes or tools and it drives me nuts. We’ve tackled story structure before and one of my favorite blogs ever from Bitter Script Reader actually compiled the most famous story structure tools into one infographic to show how they’re all the same.

Today, I want to show you something different.

We’ve gone over some terrible writing advice before, and in that article, I said the only important thing is to write a great script.

This morning, I saw this hilarious tweet and clicked on the image and got an instant migraine.

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‘Killing Eve’ Editor Gary Dollner Will Teach You to Edit with a Sense of Humor [VIDEO]

How much does a script matter to the editing process? According to “Killing Eve” editor Gary Dollner, quite a bit.

If you’re a fan of sharp, fast-paced TV comedy, chances are you’ve seen Gary Dollner’s work. The BAFTA-nominated director has worked on popular shows like Veep, The Thick of It, and more recently, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s amazing shows Fleabag and Killing Eve.

Killing Eve follows a British security operative (Sandra Oh) and a psychopathic assassin (Jodie Comer) who are intertwined in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. Although the show has elements from action, spy, and thriller genres, it’s also a comedy.

“I don’t really care about how long it took you to get that shot that looks beautiful. If it doesn’t help the story, it’s not going in.”

Dollner sat down with BAFTA Guru to discuss how he approached editing such a nuanced work. Watch the interview below.

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Download the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ Script and Learn About Character

The Devil Wears Prada script is a masterclass on character and stakes. Download it, read it, and let’s talk about it!

When Aline Brosh McKenna turned in the shooting script of The Devil Wears Prada script, it’s unlikely she knew how iconic it would soon become.

It was an adaptation of a popular novel by Lauren Weisberger, it had mega-star Maryl Streep, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted how impactful the movie version would be. It was, of course, all on the page.

Today we’re going to take a look at the Devil Wears Prada script, talk about characters, quotes, and dig into what makes this adaptation great!

Download The Devil Wears Prada script here!

Let’s talk about The Devil Wears Prada Script

First things first, we want to thank Aline Brosh McKenna for posting her shooting script online. It’s amazing to have access to these materials, especially for screenwriters living across the world who do not have access to the WGA library.

So how did this script come to be?

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“Our Work Was Bound to Cause Discomfort…”: P.A. Carter on his HBO-Premiering Doc Series, Behind Closed Doors

One of the most complicated (and epic, as it feels much larger than the sum of its two parts) documentaries I’ve seen in years, P.A. Carter’s Behind Closed Doors is this summer’s not-to-miss film for true crime devotees. Debuting on HBO July 16th and 17th, Carter’s meticulously-crafted picture begins with the double murder of 13-year-old Aarushi Talwar and her family’s servant Hemraj Banjade in the Talwars’s upper-middle-class home — a mystery that immediately unleashed a media circus in the staid Indian town of Noida. But it was the whiplash machinations surrounding the subsequent investigations and interrogations, trials and appeals, that […]

New Exhibition Shows Unseen Crime Scene Photos From the Mid-1900s

New Exhibition Shows Unseen Crime Scene Photos From the Mid-1900s

A revealing new exhibition in Los Angeles is set to feature black and white photos from real crime scenes between 1925 and the 1970s, taken by police officers who worked for LAPD.

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Six Tips for Shooting with a Portable Greenscreen [Video]

Green screens can be beneficial on many types of video projects, but only if you know how to use them correctly.

Maybe you’re a YouTube vlogger or a Twitch streamer wanting to key out your background. Maybe you’re shooting a film, and you need to change the view out a window or composite in some driving footage for a car scene.

These are just a few of the ways you can use a green screen professionally, but unless you know what you’re doing, you might run into some problems. Lighting and camera settings can be especially tricky.

The Slanted Lens has put together a six simple tips for shooting with portable green screens. They’re specifically looking at the Valera Creator 95 and the Valera Explorer 90.

Watch their video below.

1. Don’t over-light the green screen

The Valera green screens have a ChromaBoost wrinkle-resistant screen, which they claim will allow you to achieve a great chroma key even in low light.

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PSA: Privately shared Google Photos links can be opened by anyone

Robert Wiblin, a researcher at 80,000 Hours, has published a Medium post drawing attention to an aspect of sharing on Google Photos that many users may be unaware of. As demonstrated in the video above, Wiblin notes that Google Photos images and albums privately shared with a specific person can be viewed by anyone who has access to the link.

The discovery highlights a surprising design oversight by Google. A Google Photos user who privately shares an image or album with another Google user may have their image viewed repeatedly by anyone if the recipient copies and shares the link for the image or album.

Wiblin points out that the Google Photos interface doesn’t indicate that by sharing the image or album privately with a specific person, the user is creating a link that provides access to anyone who receives it. This potentially leaves images vulnerable to theft, particularly if the recipient accidentally shares the link with someone else. Users can only prevent this issue by manually removing the share from the image or album.

This link generation differs from Google Drive, which allows users to make shared content accessible only to the chosen recipient(s). Google Drive users who transition to Google Photos may mistakenly believe the two services use the same sharing system, not realizing that Google Photos is generating links that can be opened by anyone.

Google has a small note revealing the sharable link’s wide accessibility at the bottom of its expandable ‘What happens when you share’ section on the Google Photos support site. ‘Anyone that has the shared link will be able to see the album,’ the support site states, even if the share was directed to a specific recipient. Google points users to instructions on how to stop sharing content if they no longer want it visible to others.

Though Google does note the publicly accessible nature of the shared links, one could argue that the company needs to make this explicitly clear on the Google Photos interface, not simply nestled within a support page that most users are unlikely to visit. Without it, many users remain under the impression that by choosing a specific recipient for the content, the image or album is only accessible by that recipient.

Google users who need to ensure content stays just between them and the recipient should instead use Google Drive, which has more robust sharing permissions.

7 Things You Can Learn From How Tarantino Wrote ‘Inglourious Basterds’

How the legendary filmmaker approached the creation of arguably his best work.

With Once Upon A Time In Hollywood about to come out, it’s a great time to take a look back at Quentin Tarantino’s filmography. His most commercially successful film, Inglourious Basterds, was released in 2009 to universal acclaim and a whole lot of accolades. In another year, it might have even won Best Picture.

A movie like Inglourious Basterds doesn’t just pop into existence. It had to come from somewhere, and this new video from Behind The Curtain does a good job of showing us what the master director was thinking as he developed, write, and ultimately produced the project.

You can take a look at the video.

So what can we learn from Tarantino’s experience? Let’s dive in:

1. Pick The Right Project

In the video, Tarantino states that when he’s looking for a new project, he often goes back to books he’s made notes on, previous things he’s tried to adapt, and other potential works. In other words, he’s not just jumping into the first thing he finds on his desk.

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Conceptual Advertising Image Photoshop Walkthrough

Conceptual Advertising Image Photoshop Walkthrough

In this composite walkthrough, I take you through the various processes it took to create this advertising image. Throughout the video, you will hear my thoughts and why I decided on certain aspects.

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Sigma Teases Their New Line of Classic Cine Primes

Vintage prime lenses are the stuff of cinematic dreams, and Sigma is aiming to make those dreams come true.

Despite being expensive, hard to come by, and potentially incompatible with your camera of choice, vintage prime lenses have helped develop the signature look of classic 70’s films such as Rocky, Jaws, All The President’s Men, and The Godfather. On the indie side, the look and feel of films such as Barbara Loden’s Wanda has been an influence on contemporary auteurs.

As a cinematographer, getting your hands on a set of classic primes, flaws and all, can lend a unique atmosphere to even the most digital cameras, but that’s hard to achieve without expensive lenses from the eras themselves.

Sigma’s answer to this problem is its new Classic Art Prime series of lenses. The company will officially be announcing at this year’s IBC in September, but they offered a sneak peak at their event in Tokyo last week.

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Above the Line Film Roles

Above the Line Film Roles

There are seemingly countless roles on a film shoot and they are divided into two basic (and I mean basic) categories: “above the line” and “below the line.” However, where is “the line”? The line is on the top page of a feature film budget on which certain “above the line” positions and “below the line” positions add up to equal total costs for specific roles divided into those categories. The “line” literally divides roles often considered part of the development and execution of the creative aspect of filmmaking from the roles typically responsible for the craft of filmmaking. “Above the line” items show who and what is necessary before principal photography begins. However, whether above the line or below the line, positions on a film should not be necessarily considered more important than others. I’ve worked with Production Assistants who helped accomplish tasks on a film more effectively than some Producers. So, the division of “above the line” and “below the line” is budgetary.

In this article, I will detail some specific and agreed-upon above the line roles including:

  1. Executive Producer(s)
  2. Producer(s)
  3. Director
  4. Screenwriter(s)
  5. Principal Cast (Actors)

Executive Producers

An Executive Producer (EP) is an individual who traditionally brings approximately 25% of the budget to the table when developing a DGA studio feature film. However, that is a guideline and not necessarily a rigid rule and there may be several Executive Producers responsible for various contributions in addition to money. EPs may also bring Hollywood clout, star talent, and name recognition to a production. For example, recently on the feature film Vox Lux, stars Natalie Portman and Jude Law also served as EPs along with Sia, who wrote songs for the film. EPs are typically top of the food chain on films and they should understand almost everything about the filmmaking process. Sadly, many of them are brought on to the film for financial support while they know very little about the nuts-and-bolts of filmmaking. That’s OK if they populate their team with able-bodied and skilled filmmakers who actually know how to make movies.

Where is “the line”? The line is on the top page of a feature film budget on which certain “above the line” positions and “below the line” positions add up to equal total costs for specific roles divided into those categories. The “line” literally divides roles often considered part of the development and execution of the creative aspect of filmmaking from the roles typically responsible for the craft of filmmaking.

Producers

Producers on a film can labor over a myriad of functions and while they may bring money to the production, they usually fill more hands-on roles on a film shoot, including searching for and weeding through potential film scripts (often called “properties”), securing the rights to a script, lining up various forms of funding, hiring Screenwriters if the concept is based on a true story and the screenplay doesn’t exist yet, hiring the creative team including the Director, Casting Director, and department heads, overseeing casting, partnering with the Line Producer in order to manage the budget, managing the film office along with the Production Manager and Production Coordinator, and overseeing the daily pre-production, production, and post-production of the film.

Directors

According to The Director’s Guild of America, a Director “directs the production of motion pictures and whatever is seen & heard in the finished product. He (or she) also directs all related functions & activities required for translating & transferring the script, premise, idea and/or concept to the audiovisual images.” A great Director loves movies and has seen a lot of them. He or she is the visual voice and captain of the entire shoot. A Director will read the script several times, develop a creative vision and style for the film, work closely with the Director of Photography, the Storyboard Artist, the Art Director, the Costume Designer, the Editor, and the Composer to essentially invent and execute the visual and audible style of the film.

A Director’s work is possibly the most important on a film and a great Director is motivational, aspirational, skilled, and a lover of all things art, and has a clear, concise, and provocative vision for the final film. He or she is versed in the art of acting and works closely with Actors on character backstories, the delivery of dialogue, the emotional core of scenes, and the blocking of Actors on set. A Director not only directs cast, but also directs camera and understands the emotional impact compositions and camera movement have on an audience. A talented Director is a guru of pacing and never says “we’ll fix it in post.” He or she does everything within his or her power to capture the best performances, sequences, choreography, stunts, and effects on camera for the most impact on screen. He or she will be brought on early in pre-production and typically, depending on the contract will stay on until picture lock.

Whether above the line or below the line, positions on a film should not be necessarily considered more important than others. I’ve worked with Production Assistants who helped accomplish tasks on a film more effectively than some Producers.

Screenwriters

I may be listing Screenwriters as 4th on this list of “above the line” positions, but “Story Rights/Acquisitions” and “Story” typically appear as the first line items on a feature film budget. That’s because it all starts with the story – whether it be book rights acquired for script development, a story concept that has yet to be written, or a fully written screenplay, money goes to a Writer or a group of Writers responsible for writing the initial property (aka screenplay, story concept, treatment, outline, logline, comic book, novel, or any other form of material that will become the script used to make a movie.) The Screenwriter knows screenplay structure well and will be on board for the initial screenplay and, if he or she is lucky, will also be on the payroll for subsequent drafts. It all depends on the contract. A contract drafted in the favor of the Screenwriter will usually have the writer on for multiple drafts. However, a Producer, production company, or studio may simply buy the screenplay outright, pay the Writer a single fee, and then have the script re-written or revised based on the notes of studio execs, Executive Producers, Producers, and the Director. That’s why screenplay writers must contract a strong Entertainment Lawyer to negotiate the deal.

Principal Cast (Actors)

Simply put, principal cast is comprised of the Actors who you may find on the movie poster and in all of the promotional material put out by a studio, production company, or distribution company, including trailers, promos, behind-the-scenes web content, and radio promotions. They are the face and voice of a feature and they appear in most of it. Whereas supporting cast, featured Extras, and background Extras will appear “below the line” on a budget, principal cast appears “above the line.” They are typically paid the most and are a huge selling point for a film. What would the latest Mission Impossible franchise be without Tom Cruise? He is a Hollywood heavyweight and it’s his face and role as Ethan Hunt that gives the film series a consistent and reliable place among film fans — that’s why Cruise’s lead character is always above the line.

Hopefully, this helps you understand the basics of “Above The Line” film roles. It all relates to the delineation on a feature film budget and the best way to really understand them is to see an actual budget created by the folks at Studio Binder, which you can see here.

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Use an Interesting Foreground for Your Landscape Photo

Use an Interesting Foreground for Your Landscape Photo

When photographing landscapes with a wide-angle lens, you probably want something in the foreground, to give the photo some extra depth. It can make your landscape photo more interesting to look at. Just make sure your foreground subject is interesting enough.

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Aurora Aperture Unveils Revolutionary Mirrorless Lens Adapter Drop-In Filters

Tired of buying a new set of filters or working with step-up/step-down rings for each lens with a different filter diameter? Aurora Aperture unveiled a groundbreaking new filter system today called the Aperture Adapter Mount Format (AMF) that fixes that hassle for mirrorless camera shooters.

Instead of a filter system that screws into the front of your lenses, the AMF system is dropped into your mirrorless camera lens mount adapter. What this means is that you’ll only need a single set of filters for all the lenses you use with that lens adapter.

The AMF will launch with versions that support four popular adapters: the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R, the Nikon FTZ, the Sigma MC-11 for Sony E, and the Sigma MC-21 for the L mount.

The relatively small size of the compact and lightweight filters make them ultra-portable as well as affordable compared to traditional sets of circular front-mount filters — even when using a giant telephoto lens, the same small rear drop-in filter is all that’s needed.

“Any DSLR lens that can be mounted on the four supported mirrorless mount adapters can be used with these drop-in filters, whether the lens has a front filter thread or not,” Aurora Aperture says. “This is especially beneficial for ultra wide-angle lenses without a front filter thread which would otherwise require massive filters on a bulky adapter.”

The size of an adapted filter versus the equivalent AMF filter.

Four filters will be launched with the AMF system: the PowerUV sensor protector filter, the PowerND neutral density filter (2, 4, 6, 8, 12, or 16 stops), the PowerGND graduated neutral density (GND) filters (1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 stops), and the PowerDusk light pollution reduction filter.

Other features of the filters include Schott B270 glass (on all filters except PowerDusk, which uses neodymium glass), multi-layer nano-coatings, and aerospace-grade aluminum alloy frames.

Here’s a short video introducing the new AMF system:

Aurora Aperture will be launching the AMF Filters system through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign later this month and is aiming to have the filters hit store shelves in October 2019. The filters will cost between $44 and $83 each, depending on the type.