It’s been 25 years since “Forrest Gump” graced film screens. The movie’s production designer looks back on a pivotal scene and shows how he made the movie come to life.
When was the first time you saw Forest Gump? I was too young to see it in theaters so I remember sitting on the top of the staircase, watching the movie after my bedtime while my parents enjoyed it, unbeknownst to my presence. Now the classic film is coming to Blu-Ray as a newly remastered edition. It will be Ultra 4K and released by Paramount Home Entertainment.
The movie spans decades, so Production Designer Rick Carter had lots of work to do to keep things consistent. Check out Rick Carter explaining Forrest’s arrival in Vietnam in this video from Vanity Fair.
As you can see, attention to detail is the most important part of production design. But the hidden aspect is thinking on your feet. When he got the script and realized he had to build a set that doubled for Vietnam, Carter worked with the military advisor and even VFX people to bring it to life.
The best short films of all time were hard to find in days past. But now, with YouTube, they’re only just a click away!
Making a short film can be your ticket into creating a name for yourself in Hollywood. It feels like all content these days are getting shorter and shorter. When you look at streamers like Quibi, they’re creating content that’s fifteen minutes long, maximum. But this is not a new idea, even Stanley Kubrick saw the future of entertainment as short films.
And even Netflix released Love, Death, and Robots as a series built on short interpretations of the future.
We’ve covered how to write a short film, so today I want to highlight 50+ of the best short films on YouTube. Watching them can inspire you to be a better filmmaker.
Mark Forman tests the new Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM. “It really delivers. This prime at f/1.8 brings more low light opportunities. When shooting landscapes at magic hour or at night, the lens is sharp edge to edge at f/1.8 and even sharper when stopped down to f/8.” read more…
Instagram began testing the removal of “likes” from users’ photos back in May. Now, it’s expanding that test to six more countries, hiding like counts in the hopes that it will “benefit everyone’s experience on Instagram.”
The announcement that the test was expanding happened, ironically, through Twitter. Until today, only users in Canada had had their likes and video views hidden from other users, but now IG is adding Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand to the list.
“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” writes Instagram. “You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”
We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.
Adding to the initial tweet, they wrote, “We’re looking forward to learning more about how this change might benefit everyone’s experience on Instagram.”
Given this broader expansion, and the increasing pressure on Instagram to prove that it’s not just a breeding ground for insecurity and influencers, we wouldn’t be surprised if the feature is rolled out to the entire Instagram community by the end of the year.
Action cameras have enabled all kinds of unique point-of-view video capture. Sometimes though, the cameras can get a little too close to the action, as James Williams of Haida Gwaii, an archipelago roughly 40 miles off the Pacific coast of Canada, recently found out.
As seen in the above footage shared by CBC, Williams was attempting to capture video footage of a convocation of bald eagles eating a meal, when one of the birds of prey picked up and took his camera for a rather brutal test-drive.
CBC doesn’t specify how the camera was recovered, but the footage appears to show the bald eagle returning to the coast before letting go of the camera, where Williams was presumably able to recover it.
This is a question we hear being asked more and more nowadays. And before anyone starts to react violently, rest assured that the answer is yes. It is, of course, a valid art form and we will not dwell any more on that question.
This is a photo of the moon captured handheld at night using the 35mm equivalent of an 87mm portrait lens. Impressive.
“I wanted to demonstrate the stupid amount of resolution and detail that the GFX100 can capture,” Ferreira says. “The amount of detail retained is pretty crazy in my opinion and goes well beyond what a 50-60MP camera can capture.
“With the GFX100’s ability to crop you could take one photo and share hundreds of crops from it without anyone noticing, due to the amount of detail the camera captures.”
If you’re looking for the cheapest possible way to digitize your 35mm Negatives and Slides, the Kodak Mobile Film Scanner is probably it. Costing just $40, this cardboard contraption lets you digitize 35mm film using just your smartphone and a couple of AA batteries.
The Kodak Mobile Film Scanner is made up of a foldable cardboard stand for your mobile phone, a base that allows you to slot in either 35mm Negatives and 35mm Slides, and an LED backlight. This, combined with the Kodak Mobile Film Scanner app (available on iOS and Android) allows you to use your phone’s camera to digitize your old film quickly… if not exactly “well.”
In other words: what Google Cardboard is to Virtual Reality, the Kodak Mobile Film Scanner is trying to be for scanning film.
Most of the heavy lifting is done by the app, which has options for scanning Color Negative, Color Positive, and B&W Negative. Once you assemble the cardboard platform and switch on the backlight (batteries not included), you can insert a slide or film and start taking pictures of your negatives or slides.
Once taken, the app lets you do a little bit of post processing on the digital file by adjusting things like exposure, contrast and vignetting or adding text, borders or stickers.
Assuming you own a smartphone, this is quite possibly the easiest and cheapest way to digitize those heaps of 35mm negatives hiding in a box somewhere in your attic. It is not, however, going to produce mind-blowing results.
Hillary Grigonis over at Digital Trendsrecently reviewed the cardboard ‘scanner’ and called it “good enough for the ‘gram,” but not much else. “If all you want to do is get those old family photos out of the attic and onto social media or perhaps a digital picture frame, the scanner gets the job done,” writes Grigonis. “But I wouldn’t recommend it for people still actively shooting film.”
Still, if you’ve been wanting to digitize your film for ages, but the cost and/or hassle of a proper scanner or more advanced DIY setup like this one aren’t for you, then the Kodak Mobile Film Scanner might not be a bad choice.
Worst case, you spend $40 on a film stand and backlight that you can use to digitize your negatives with a better, higher-resolution camera.
Instagram has announced changes to its policy related to disabling user accounts, stating that going forward it will remove a greater number of accounts, but will first give users a warning that they’re at risk of the action.
Until now, Instagram’s policy involved the company disabling accounts that contained ‘a certain percentage of violating content.’ Though this policy will remain in place, Instagram says it will also start disabling accounts that contain ‘a certain percentage of violating content within a window of time.’
Additionally, Instagram will start alerting users when their account is at risk of being disabled. The notification includes the content that Instagram removed for violating its guidelines, as well as a list of past violations and a warning that one more removed post may result in the account being deleted.
The same notification will offer users a way to appeal the decision, though appeals will initially be limited to violations involving bullying and harassment, hate speech, nudity and pornography, counter-terrorism policies, and drug sales. ’In coming months,’ Instagram says it will expand the appeals feature to include other issues.
The change follows Facebook’s April meeting, during which time it revealed that Instagram content considered ’inappropriate’ will be demoted on the platform. This demotion applies to content that doesn’t violate Instagram’s Community Guidelines, but that ‘might not be appropriate for our global community,’ the company said at the time.
The content demotion policy has proven controversial with users primarily based on the ambiguous nature of what is considered ’appropriate’ for inclusion on hashtag pages and in Explore. Based on Instagram’s guidelines, it doesn’t appear that this ‘inappropriate’ content will be factored into strikes that may get an account deleted.
By now, you’ve probably seen the latest MCU movie starring Tom Holland’s version of Spiderman. As of this writing, the film had grossed nearly $859M worldwide and it’s only been out for 2 weeks.
With all the money that the MCU movies make, you’d probably expect this one to break a billion dollars at the box office, easy. Good news: Marvel (owned by Disney) expects the same thing, and they’ve written into their deal with Sony.
A new report from Richard Rushfield, journalist and writer of The Ankler newsletter, has revealed some key information about the Sony/Marvel deal that may surprise you.
According to Rushfield’s reporting, if Spiderman: Far From Home doesn’t make a billion dollars or more at the global box office, all rights to the Spiderman franchise would revert back to Sony.
What does this mean for your friendly neighborhood corporate mega-media-conglomerate? Let’s find out.
JVC has a promotion you may like: receive a FREE KA-MC100G media adapter and FREE 1TB SSD drive, a $675 retail value, for each new GY-HC500U, you purchase until September 30, 2019.
The GY-HC500 is a handheld 4K production camcorder that offers uncompromised live and recorded image quality, and connectivity you won’t find in any competitor’s product, says JVC. Shoot 4K ultra-HD with HDR and record to SSD or SDHC/SDXC media in a wide variety of formats. Ultra-HD ProRes 422 10-bit at 50/60p is possible when recording to SDD media, (SSD media requires optional KA-MC100G media adapter).
Large-capacity, readily-available SSDs (2.5″, M.2 SATA) are compatible, so extended-time 4K UHD up to 60p/50p video recording is possible. Just plug it into the camera’s extended slot (using the optional SSD adapter KA-MC100G). SSD media delivers excellent sequential read speed to tackle professional workload. High-speed transfer of huge amounts of recorded footage is possible.
Introduced in late 2018, with two other compact 4K cameras – the GY HC550 with advanced streaming and graphics, and GY-HC500SPC sports production camera – the GY HC500 base model was also showcased at the 2019 NAB Show, in Las Vegas, last April. The new 500 Series cameras can record, as said, to SSD (solid state drive) media in 10-bit ProRes 422 at 4K resolution and 50/60p frame rates. The cameras also record several other native 4K UHD and HD file formats to support a wide range of workflows, and the GY HC550 adds MPEG-2 and MXF recording as well.
JVC’s special promotion
The GY-HC500 CONNECTED CAM features high performance 1080 60p/50p live streaming with low latency (<500 ms) and a full complement of IP remote control and viewing features. It’s truly the most advanced and versatile camcorder in its price range, says JVC. All 500 Series cameras feature a 1-inch 4K CMOS imager and integrated 20x zoom lens with built-in ND filters and manual zoom, focus, and iris control rings. For creative flexibility, the cameras record HDR footage in the HLG (hybrid log gamma) mode or 10-bit J-Log mode, and support 120 fps slow-motion HD recording.
JVC‘s newest handheld comes with a special promotion you may like: pick-up yours before September 30, 2019, and receive a free 1TB SSD memory card and KA-MC100G SSD media adapter required for ProRes recording—a $675 retail value. This promotion is simple, as there are no forms to fill out, says JVC. At the time of purchase, inform your dealer that you wish to receive a free media adapter (KA-MC100G) and free 1TB SSD drive with your qualifying camcorder purchase. Your only obligation as the buyer is to ensure your dealer is an authorized and participating U.S. JVC reseller.
If you’re going to get serious about shooting all the time, the best camera you can buy yourself is a quality compact. High-end DSLRs and interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras can be intimidating to shoot with for the everyday photos, not to mention an unnecessarily heavy load to carry. A compact is a camera you can take everywhere that will distinguish you from other “phonetographers” in both improved control and image quality.
There are two premium compacts that I was stuck between to take on my Trans-Siberian train trip: the Fuji X100F and Ricoh’s GR III.
Ricoh GR III: The Plastic Fantastic Featherweight
GR cameras have a long history, with the initial design dating back to the GR1 released in 1996. Not much has changed much in its design, despite the digital update and tweaking to its sensor and software. Ricoh just got so much right into the prototype that there was little need to reinvent the wheel. They simply made a camera as small as possible while maintaining a top tier standard for the lens and not sacrificing ergonomics. The GR design was and still is, considered to be one of the great achievements of camera design in the 20th century, by many photographers
Fuji X100F: The Mini Leica
The X100F’s design, by contrast is relatively more recent, originating from the X100 of 2010. But it’s inspiration is drawn from some of the best classic cameras. From the body you can see the Leica M3, the Nikon F cameras and the Olympus Trip have all made their mark on it’s incredibly beautiful and neat design. From this, and its amazing image quality owing to the fantastic Fujinon EBC lens and X-Trans sensor, has earned a reputation for being one of the world’s best compact cameras.
I took both cameras out to trial, and found deciding between them extremely difficult. They are both fantastic but very different cameras made for the similar purpose of street and travel photography. It came down to the wire for me, so let’s get to what sets these apart, and how I reached my decision by going through the scorecard:
So just like the X-Pro, of which to I’m accustomed, focusing with the X100F is made easy with an incredible AF system. The single and wide tracking focus points work great, but for me the hybrid manual setting was what I kept it in most of the time. By hybrid, I mean that you can keep manual control, but when you want to focus just press the AF button on the back (positioned perfectly for your thumb) and bang, your in focus for your selected focus point! This back button focus is exactly what I use for my DSLR shooting and it’s incredibly versatile, especially for street shooting.
Zone focus is made incredibly easy with the focus peaking. You can prejudge your distance, get a representation of it and your ready to start shooting from the hip. Can’t be easier than that, right? Wrong — the GR III blows it out of the water.
For fast paced street shooting, the GR uses snap focus settings. You can fix it to automatically focus on objects within a set ranges. This is incredibly fast and intuitive if you know how to use it correctly, and was the only way I shot while using the camera. I just click it into 2m focus zone and keep the camera at f/8 (super deep DOF especially with an APS-C) and basically I never miss a shot, even from the hip. With no manual focus ring that may slip out zone while its resting in my pocket or in a bag, you know you’re always ready to shoot at your preset distance — no peaking at the screen or EVF required.
2 point to Ricoh
Fuji: 0, Ricoh: 2
As with all Fuji X series the image quality is fantastic. The 23mm f/2 Fujinon stands shoulder to shoulder with my much more expensive Summicron 35mm — I have even taken to reducing the sharpness on my JPEG settings to get a softer, more filmic look. That X-Trans Sensor APS-C sensor is phenomenal, as I already knew from my experience with X-T10 and the X-Pro, so no surprises here. Skin tones in particular, always look amazing with Fuji.
As far as pixel peeping goes, the GR III’s toe-to-toe with the X100F. It seems that a fantastic lens paired with a 24M sensor makes for some seriously eye popping pictures, no matter who the manufacturer is.
While technically as good as each other, the Fuji and the Ricoh render JPEGs in a very different way. While both can be customized, just as a matter of personal taste, I prefer the factory setting of the GR III. One of the big differences for me is the green spectrum. In the default modes, Fuji JPEGs can do some strange things to foliage.
I also prefer the GR III’s Image Controls to most of the Fuji Film Simulations; particularly the the high contrast black and white and a very tasteful vivid setting (punchy but not grotesque). These considerations put the GR III ahead, but not enough to give it sizable advantage over the X100F. Photos can easily be manipulated so this is a point stalemate for both cameras.
0 points to both
Fuji: 0, Ricoh: 2
Ergonomics and Size
The GR III, despite being smaller is still far more comfortable in my clumsy big hands. The menus, and control I do find to be easier to use in most operation. I love how customisable the camera is, and this comparison really showed me how great the touch screen is as a camera control. I, to this day, still tap on the screen of the X100F and forget the fact I can’t navigate menus and focus by touch.
The GR III is also the most compact ‘professional’ camera I have ever used, especially with its retracting lens. I’m far from the first to state that it shoots and carries more like a smartphone than a camera, which is fantastic. Phones are far easier and stealthier than any camera you can buy and the GR III handles like one, but with better image quality.
In terms of size, Fuji kind of occupies the reverse Goldilocks zone — too big to be a compact that fits in your pocket, and too small that it lacks the perfect ergonomics of something like the X-Pro or X-T3.
1 point to Ricoh
Fuji: 0, Ricoh: 3
While the GR III’s handling and size is better than the X100F, it must be mentioned that over time I gained some perspective on my initial gripes with the X100F’s handling.
The most important thing being that the tactile controls of the Fuji offer the advantage of being able to set and forget. Whether the camera’s on or off the settings can be dialed in, checked and changed quickly to meet the conditions. Contrast this to the GR III, where all controls are only visible while the back screen is activated. A fairly minor consideration to be made, but I felt it deserved mentioning.
Additionally, Fuji’s larger size gives it longer battery life, and that’s a huge plus over the GR III. In the short time I was shooting with the GR III, I realised very quickly the 300 shot maximum of the battery meant that I would have to carry an additional set of batteries with the camera. Not so much extra weight and size, but more fiddling around and having to remember to charge. I am able to squeeze 400 shots out of the X100, which is usually more than enough for me for an afternoon of shooting.
1 point to Fuji
Fuji: 1, Ricoh: 3
Low Light and Flash
The GR III does have in-body stabilization, while the Fuji handles far better at higher ISOs, which for me makes the cameras equal in terms of low light performance. I generally fix my aperture and let the program take care of the ISO and limit my shutter speed to 60th of a second. If I had the Ricoh, I would be limiting my shutter speed lower, but the fact that the camera can only produce usable images at around ISO 1600 means that I would have the same limitation.
The major drawback for the GR III is the lack of the pop up flash, originally bundled with the GR I and GR II, which was a major selling point for me. The flash on the X100F is serviceable for fill-in flash, and is surprisingly powerful for its size. Still not as powerful as what the GR II offered, but it does the job when you need it to.
1 point to Fuji
Fuji: 2, Ricoh: 3
I personally, am not accustomed to the 28mm focal length of the GR III. It’s focal length is almost identical to the camera I carry everywhere with me on my iPhone, albeit with far lesser image quality compared to the GR III.
Irregardless, for my style of shooting this focal length is both too wide and too narrow, me being accustomed to shooting with my two favorite lenses — either a 35mm Summicron or a 18mm Zeiss Distagon.
I like to alternate between low distortion of the 35mm for my travel and lifestyle shots and the hyper distorted 18mm for an enhanced perspective to shrink people into the greater landscape. I did consider the optional wide lens attachment for the Ricoh (opens it up to 21mm focal length), but this meant carrying an additional piece of equipment and an extra cost. With a fixed lens camera it’s best to go with the focal length that better suits your style, and for me this is the X100F.
1 point to Fuji
Fuji: 3, Ricoh: 3
So We Have a Tie
But the X100F has a hidden ace up its sleeve in regard to focal length: if your in S focus mode, just turn the focus dial and your camera will digitally zoom to fixed 50mm and 75mm equivalent focal lengths. I love this feature, as this can still render very usable pictures using the 24MB sensor, making the camera incredibly versatile. It’s like carrying all the major primes, without the fuss of having to both carry and change between them.
That’s easily worth a bonus point to Fuji, bringing the score to:
Fuji: 4, Ricoh: 3
Admittedly, because this is a heavily bias comparison since I did indeed purchase the X100F and have spent far more time with it. I don’t have any images worth sharing from my time with the GR III, since I mostly used it in and around the camera shop that generously trial their demo model. All of these images here were taken on the X100F.
That being said, I am certain that, had I had more time with the GR, I would have come to terms with a lot of the things I gripe about in this comparison. More than anything, my primary rationale for buying the Fuji was that I am far more accustomed to the 35mm focal length. A camera is a camera, and you can’t go wrong with either of these two kingly compacts. Both take fantastic photos, and in that being the whole aspiration of photography, they are completely equal in that most important regard.
About the author: James Cater is a digital and analog photographer, film lab operator, and model. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Cater’s work on his website and Instagram. This article was also published here.
I, like many of you, watched the Sony a7R IV announcement live stream on Tuesday. I saw them put up the video of the camera and its specs, which I thought looked good as an evolution of their R platform. However, when the lights came back on in the room, the kind man that is the VP of their alpha division debuted the camera to the world with the line: “medium format level image quality”
Full disclosure: I am a commercial photographer and have served as an ambassador for two camera brands — previously Nikon and currently Hasselblad. This article is not meant to sell camera equipment but rather to inform those trying to advance their careers.
To many, this may have been a glossed over marketing tagline, and to some, it may have been the definitive point that made them pre-order. For me, this line represented a lie — one that has pervaded its poison throughout our industry.
I have had the good fortune of being an ambassador for companies that make both medium format and 35mm digital cameras. While I still hold firm that this doesn’t mean that I am any better nor worse than the next photographer, it has helped me become informed in the engineering and technical aspects of both systems, and I can tell you that they couldn’t be more different.
Before talking too much about the specs, we need to first address the semantics. Medium format is not an image quality level, nor is 35mm or large format — they are exactly what they say: formats. It was a little easier to discern this in the film days as there were generally agreed upon film sizes. Since digital, things are a little tougher as digital backs replaced film backs and the resolution race began.
This brings us to the technical aspect of the line, “medium format-level image quality.”
I will admit that it wasn’t until I owned my first medium format system that I understood the real difference in the images I was getting. At the time the color fidelity was miles ahead of the 35mm DSLR sector, but the low light medium format performance was miles behind. In essence, there were compromises that determined which camera would be better for a given photographer.
Over the years, the gaps in both of these areas have been reduced. 35mm has improved its color fidelity and medium format has improved its ISO performance. Which leaves one big area that still separates the two: resolution.
The megapixel race has always been ongoing in photography, ever since the first camera recorded to a sensor rather than a plastic piece of film. Both medium format and 35mm have been improving year after year, while large format (mostly) remained in the film world due to the costs that would be associated with a large format digital sensor.
It’s like watching a car race in a movie where the two constantly jockey forward and backward. However, when compared honestly, they are very far apart.
At the a7R IV announcement, I imagine the VP was trying to compare 50MP medium format sensors to the new 61MP sensor from Sony. Yes, to any random person on the street, 50 is less than 61. But this is where I feel the marketing from Sony is a bit disingenuous.
Medium format cameras have had 60-megapixel options since 2008, with the Phase One P65+. Since 2008, the sensors have obviously progressed, with substantial improvements in resolution and low light performance. Modern medium format cameras now go up to 151 megapixels with the Phase One IQ4 150 released last year (with a sensor made by, of all people, Sony).
For comparison, here is a chart that shows the difference between resolution of modern medium format vs. the Sony a7R IV. It is for this reason that on large productions, be it in advertising or high-end editorial, it is expected that a medium format camera is used.
You will notice the yellow square that represents the resolution of Panasonic’s S1R. Until the unveiling of the a7R IV, this camera had the highest resolution among 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras. One could argue that the size difference between the two 35mm digitals is significantly less than the difference between the two formats.
Which is where I feel the core of the line “medium format-level image quality” finds its origins. When compared to the Panasonic (or even its predecessor, the 42.4-megapixel a7R III), the new Sony a7R IV is not as great in resolution as one would think from looking at the numbers. Comparing it to cameras that are much more expensive with marketing veils the idea that they are different in the customer’s mind.
When I was 16, I went to the Subaru dealership to look at the new Impreza. The car had a boxer engine (4 cylinder) and was out of my reasonable price range. The salesman came over to me as I was sitting on the driver seat of one on the showroom floor and said, “you know this car has a boxer engine, just like the Ferrari Testarossa!”
While he was correct that both cars had a boxer engine, he knew that the Subaru was not even in the same league as the Ferrari when it came to potential buyers, but tying them together in the customer’s mind makes desirability for the Subaru stronger.
I am writing this piece not to tell you that the Sony a7R IV is a bad camera, as it actually looks like a nice platform that will sell well. I am writing it to hopefully inform those that are looking to take the next step in their career and may not have used a medium format on a shoot yet.
All too often we see sensational headlines by journalists saying things like “Alpha 7R IV, Proper Rival to Medium Format,” and while they may just be clickbait by an author that has never handled a medium format on a proper shoot, they still register with us. Some of these types of headlines might be from the author’s lack of experience as a full-time photographer, and others may be due to not wanting to be blacklisted by companies or have marketing budgets pulled.
Whatever the reasoning, they have led young photographers trying to gain knowledge down a misinformed path. This is dangerous for the industry, as our future is not the big-name photographers of today but those trying to learn and grow in their craft to become the big-name photographers of tomorrow.
This all leads me to the line from the recent HBO miniseries Chernobyl:
“Where I once only cared about the cost of truth, I now only ask what is the cost of lies?”