David Lynch Masterclass: Learn Creativity and Filmmaking from the Legend Called a renaissance man of modern filmmaking, award-winning director David Lynch has been experimenting with film since the late 1960s. As a painter, musician, actor, and photographer, David approaches cinema with the eye of an artist, earning praise from mainstream audiences and critics alike. His…
This tutorial, and the next bunch after it came from a very simple place. Someone posted on the Avid Editors of Facebook page about not understanding the proper workflow when dealing with dailies that were given to her from another editing application. In this lesson, and the next few lessons after it, I want to discuss alternate dailies workflows, when doing offlines in Avid Media Composer.
I’ll be honest with you right out of the gate. From my experience transcoding in Media Composer, it’s slow. Brutally slow. That’s why there are many (many) times when I’m either creating dailies, or simply taking 4K footage (that I know will never be shown in 4K) and downconverting it to HD, I’ll always use a third party application, as opposed to doing it in app. Again, for the simple reason that Media Composer is brutally slow when it comes to transcoding larger than HD media. This does, however, bring up a new issue. If you’re not Off/Onlining inside the application, what is the best way to acquire, offline, relink and master your offline Media Composer timelines. Well, that’s where this arc of tutorials will take us. Starting with Dailies from Scratch, and moving onto Resolve and Media Encoder, we’ll look at the process of acquiring your dailies from external applications, the best way to get them into Media Composer, and then the best way to link back to your high resolution media when you’re done, to finish the edit inside of Media Composer. Enjoy!
We grow old. We endure pain. We die, rot, and feed worms. And in between all that, our gadgets stay beside us, permanent fixtures that kill time and numb boredom. But how long until our precious gizmos go berserk and betray us?
The movies explore these truths, because, however stark and cold, those events embody what it means to be human, even the part about technology and its omnipresence. The fact remains that bone and gristle and flesh create the body’s constitution, and those organic compounds expire. On the flip side, our technological counterparts only become younger, sleeker, faster, and more in vogue with each upgrade.
The birth of science fiction occurred once society woke up to the apocalyptic signs of the imminent takeover. Call these filmmakers luddites, paranoid, or out of touch, but know that the following ten pictures place a thematic spotlight on technophobia for a good reason. These movies predicted the future as we live it now. How sobering to realize that most of them also show us a sneak peek of the technology-triggered horrorshow set to happen soon.
10. Chopping Mall
With a plot centered on robotic security guards that go haywire and start dispatching amorous teenagers, Chopping Mall uses its simplistic sci-fi/slasher premise to explore the intricacies of evolving technology. Locking themselves in a mall overnight, with a plan to use a furniture store as a convenient love nest, three sets of youngsters instead find themselves forced to do battle against sentinels armed with electric harpoons. Things go poorly for most everyone involved.
Despite its lighter mood and less sophisticated villains, Chopping Mall shares a story outline almost identical to The Terminator’s diegetic objectives. But where the latter focuses on how technology impacts the future of humanity, the former shines a spotlight on how machines sully the beauty of the moment. Hitting theaters in the pre-internet eighties, when only the wealthy carried phones on their person and human connection hinged on more effortful communication, Chopping Mall made an accidental prediction about our present.
9. The Curse of Frankenstein
Mary Shelly’s novel brought the fear of the Industrial Revolution to light. 19th Century society felt frightened of the monster created through machinery, and the book helped the public deal with the disruption that awaited them. In the Frankenstein story, said monster becomes real, and now 200 years after its first publication, the cautionary tale remains relevant, especially in the cinematic versions. No rendition reflects our current technological terror in a more accurate manner than Terrence Fisher’s 1957 Curse of Frankenstein.
One of the first mainstream films to show blood and viscera in technicolor, this rendition focuses on how humans interact with technology. In Fisher’s imagining, these tools equip a person with power, and the character wielding it dictates whether they use that potential for good or ill. So self-centered, egotistical, and overconfident, Dr. Frankenstein opts to end one human life after another, as if in an attempt to one up the homicidal creation he pieced together. In the end, when humans and their inventions tangle, no one wins.
8. A Boy and His Dog
World War IV ended in five days, and after the chorus of mushroom clouds turned a hospitable Earth to an arid, unfarmable hellscape, the surviving humans go about their day without much concern for others’ wellbeing. As the year 2024 arrives, men scrounge for food, hunting in packs to ensure survival against rival scavenger groups. And if someone manages to find a woman walking about that wasteland, she becomes an automatic target of violent sexual conquest. With the notion of human kindness crumbling around them, a lecherous simpleton and his hyper-intelligent, telepathic dog go on devil-may-care adventures.
In the opening scene, A Boy and His Dog answers the nature-versus-nurture question, wasting no time in forecasting an unbearable future. The characters’ actions tells us that, no matter what, humanity’s default setting centers on brutality. But life operates in such a way after a nuclear fallout occurs, and for this reason, we must pin the world’s moral and physical collapse on technological advancement. Without enhancements to the machinery of war (in other words, removing nuclear annihilation from the equation) humans stood a chance at decency.
Side note: upon hearing a questionable but plausible nugget of trivia, your humble correspondent attempted to uncover whether or not the dog also starred as “Tiger” from the Brady Bunch. He found conflicting reports and remains unable to confirm.
7. The Terminator
Killer robots, the posterchildren for technophobia, explore the fear through the most literal lens possible. In The Terminator, director James Cameron creates a cat-and-mouse story that shows not only what happens when technology becomes self-aware, but also the results that befall us once it turns vengeful. These metallic murder machines stay laser-focused on their mission to ascend the Darwinian ladder, stopping at nothing to eradicate any human that steps between them and the foodchain’s apex.
Long overshadowed by the sequel’s slicker special effects, more optimistic tone, and quotable one-liners, the original film holds an even higher ranking in the pantheon of technophobic cinema. Where the second installment suggests that homicidal robots possess a capacity for empathy, the original explores the cold savageness to which these hypertech abominations cling tight. The movie never lets us forget that the cyborgs hold one unalterable objective: to obliterate every person who challenges their dominance.
At a glance, RoboCop carries a technology-positive banner. After all, when a cohort of criminals fire a barrage of bullets into officer Alex Murphy’s vital organs, his body becomes a puddle of bloody goop. Ergo, survival hinges on an operation that replaces each ruptured body part with a robotic substitute. Medical miracles notwithstanding, the corporate money hounds who funded the procedure make damn sure to include clandestine programming that dictates the cybernetic officer now executes their bidding.
With RoboCop’s debut, the auteur Paul Verhoeven delivers another man-versus-machine motion picture, but instead of a conflict that culminates with a galactic war or a street brawl, the struggle remains internal. Punctuated with scathing satire that wags its finger in the face of corporate takeovers, RoboCop moves light years beyond the realm of popcorn action flicks.
Instead, it provides an allegory for the struggles we face as technology erases the right to privacy and consumes our every waking hour. Unless the human remnants of RoboCop’s brain overpowers the technology that powers his body, certain doom awaits. In a way, the same goes for us.
Edelkrone has released a new Stop Motion Module for the HeadPLUS system that provides Dragonframe integration. Using the edelkrone app, you can still create stop motion films but using it with Dragonframe is where you can really unlock the potential of the motion control system, using the SliderPlus, Slide Module & HeadPlus Pro. Dragonframe Integration … Continued
The first release candidate for Darktable 3.0—the popular free, open source Lightroom alternative—was announced earlier today, and it comes with some major improvements over 2.6, including UI improvements, a major rewrite of the Lighttable module, bug fixes, and more.
The release of Darktable 3.0.0rc0 comes (perhaps on purpose?) just as Adobe revealed its latest build of Lightroom at Adobe MAX, and it adds a bunch of features and enhancements that should make Darktable easier to use, navigate, and personalize.
Major improvements include (but are hardly limited to):
A new CSS-controlled GUI that allows for preset themes like darktable-elegant-darker, darktable-elegant-gray and others
A more versatile color picker that lets you sample any area
The addition of undo/redo support for tags, color labels, rating, metadata, and more in the Lighttable module
A new timeline view in the Lighttable
A new “culling” mode in the Lighttable
And a “quite extensive rewrite” of both the Lighttable and the Filmstrip that promises “drastically” improved performance.
That last point addresses one of the complaints we’ve seen most regularly when writing about Darktable, so it has the potential to really improve the Darktable experience.
There’s way too much in this first release candidate to cover here, but suffice to say that the first build of Darktable 3.0 comes with a slew of new features, usability & UI improvements, and bug fixes, and you can read about all of them in detail at this link.
To learn more about this editor or pick up the first Release Candidate, head over to the Darktable website or go straight to GitHub to download Version 3.0.0rc0 for Windows, MacOS or Linux. And if you’ve never heard of Darktable (or you’ve heard of it but never actually given it a try) be sure to check out this video, which offers a comprehensive introduction to the software.
Free, open source software comes with its fair share of quirks, but Darktable (and the other popular option, RawTherapee) has served many an Adobe deserter very well for the price of “on the house.”
There’s an unbelievable auction currently live on eBay that might rank as the most expensive item we’ve ever seen on the site. Uncovered by the folks over at The Phoblographer, the auction is offering hundreds of historic WWII prints, a Kodak Pocket camera, and an extremely rare negative of the Hiroshima bombing, all for the whopping buy-it-now price of $2,000,000.33.
Historic collections such as these are typically sold through one of the storied auction houses, like Sotheby’s or Christie’s, which is why it’s so strange to see a $2,000,000 item for sale on eBay. That said, eBay seller classicbooks has a sparkling track record selling collectible items such as rare comics, posters, coins and even paintings. For all intents and purposes, this auction seems like the real deal.
Which brings us to the contents.
According to the auction’s description, that $2M will snag you:
233 first generation silver prints, of which 37 are 8 X 10″, a Kodak camera belonging to a soldier of the 9th Photographic Technical Squadron, and the main item: a 9 X 9″ Kodak Black and White Negative depicting post bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945.
The photographs were taken in Guam and Japan and developed by the “9th Photographic Technical Squadron”. This unit was mostly unknown until 2016.
The main item in question is the print shown below, which was “likely made with a Fairchild K-22 aerial camera” on a “Boeing F-13A Reconnaissance Super Fortress (a modified B-29 bomber) from the 3rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron.”
The auction claims that this is “the only negative of [the] August 6th, 1945 atomic bombing ever offered for auction,” writing that it was discovered “after 74 years” among the possessions of a soldier who served in the 9th Photographic Technical Squadron. According to the description, the photo was found folded with two small tears in the center, and was “gently flattened” for scanning.
Here’s a scan of the photo, and a closer crop on the atomic cloud in the top right of the frame:
These highly collectible items are being kept in a bank safety deposit vault, and if you win the auction, you must “pay within 24 hours or it will be offered to the second highest bidder.” You’ll also need to pick up the items in person in Stamford, CT, which makes sense—if you’re willing to spend 2 million dollars this collection, you’re probably not going to want to risk having your items “lost in the mail.”
To learn more about this lot or possibly put in an offer, head over to eBay. As of this writing, the auction has no end date or best offer listed… but there are 21 watchers.
The Art of the Cut podcast brings the fantastic conversations that Steve Hullfish has with world renowned editors into your car, living room, editing suite and beyond. In each episode, Steve talks with editors ranging from emerging stars to Oscar and Emmy winners. Hear from the top editors of today about their careers, editing workflows and about their work on some of the biggest films and TV shows of the year.
On todays podcast, Steve talks with Joe Klotz, ACE about his editing work on “Motherless Brooklyn”. Joe received an Oscar nomination for his work on “Precious.” He also edited the Netflix breakout film “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” You can listen to Steve’s full conversation with Joe about editing “Motherless Brooklyn” below:
This weeks episode of the Art of the Cut Podcast is brought to you by LaCie. As one of the leading media storage companies in the entertainment industry, LaCie consistently brings innovative ideas to the market. Make sure to listen to the above interview for a special offer from LaCie when you shop on Filmtools.com!
Creative consultant and talented videographer Daniel DeArco is one of the best there is at creating impressive transitions from shot-to-shot in his videos. In his latest video, he’ll take you behind the scenes to show you exactly how he created one of the coolest cuts in his recent empathy video.
The video is all about “match cuts,” and while this technique might require quite a bit of thoughtful planning before you go out and shoot, DeArco explains that it’s “honestly nothing special” when it comes to putting these transitions together in post production.
First things first: a match cut is “when you use the texture, shape or composition from one video to transition into a subsequent one.” DeArco shared a few examples on his Instagram, which he also included in the video above. Done well, a match cut looks something like this:
After explaining the basics, DeArco goes on to show you how he created one of the coolest shots (in our humble opinion) from his recent video on how empathy can transform your work and help you connect with clients. It’s a few-second shot of something simple—unlocking a door—but by using two match cuts he creates something engaging that pulls you in.
Getting the shots required took some thoughtful planning—and in this case, some actual fabricating of props—but the actual shots themselves are less than a second long and nothing “special” at all. A key approaching a lock, a swinging shot to change perspective on the key, and a key entering the lock—but put them together, and you get this:
Check out the video up top to find out more about match cuts and follow along as DeArco creates and captures each of the three shots he needs. Then check back in tomorrow for Part 2, where he’ll show us how to put them all together in post.
Robert Eggers and DP Jarin Blaschke went through a painstaking process of retrofitting ’30s lenses, optimizing Kodak black-and-white film stock, developing a custom orthochromatic filter, and designing frames specifically for 1.19:1.
In the late 19th century, a young drifter and a veteran lighthouse keeper arrive at a desolate, storm-wracked island. Their mission is to operate and maintain the lighthouse, in total isolation, throughout an unforgiving winter. The scruffy, young Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattison) hopes to learn the art of being a “wickie” from Thomas Wake, an aging, volatile seaman who seaks in gruff nautical verse. Wake takes his job seriously; he won’t have Winslow messing it all up. He sees himself as the guardian of the lighthouse’s traditions and superstitions — “Never kill a seabird,” he implores Winslow, “unless you want to disturb the soul of a sailor that “met his maker.”
The Irishman director took a break from his “Marvel isn’t cinema” contributions to reveal why he didn’t direct the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time.
Despite spending four years working in some capacity developing Joker — director Todd Phillips’ controversial blockbuster about the origins of Batman’s nemesis — producer Martin Scorsese ultimately decided not to direct the film.
As audiences know, Joaquin Phoenix’s gritty take on the Clown Prince of Crime is inspired by and borrows from such Scorsese classics as The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver (especially the former). And the idea of Scorsese making his first comic book movie, despite his divisive comments about the artistic merits of Marvel’s, is worthy of the admission price alone. So why did he abandon the project before it got the greenlight in 2018? His answer may surprise you.
Judas Collar is a story that made me quit my job as a television documentary director and decide to take the plunge into the world of writing and directing drama.
When I discovered that lone camels, known as ‘Judas’ animals, were collared with a tracking device used as bait to betray their herd to hunters, I knew it was a story I wanted to tell as a drama and not a documentary. But how would you even begin to direct a film starring camels, let alone a film…starring camels…complete with action sequences?
The shoot for our short film Judas Collar was incredibly challenging—filming with eight camels and a helicopter in the remote Australian desert. We had a small but extremely dedicated crew of fifteen people who had to juggle camel wrangling without compromising their film roles. Over the course of six days, we endured eight flat tires, two bogged vehicles, and a blown head gasket on our camel truck. Filming an action set piece in the desert with camels certainly wasn’t easy.
A judge in Ohio has decided that the two teenagers charged with killing 44-year-old photographer Victoria Schafer in Hocking Hills State Park two months ago will be tried as adults. If convicted, they could face life in prison.
In an update to the story of Schafer’s tragic death, local news station NBC4i is reporting that 16-year-olds Jaden Churchheus and Jordan Buckley are being charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and reckless homicide, and will be tried as adults in the Court of Common Pleas.
Schafer was killed in Hocking Hills State Park on September 2nd, when a large section of tree fell and hit her during a photo shoot near Old Man’s Cave. But what initially seemed like a tragic accident was quickly ruled foul play, when investigators discovered evidence that the falling tree may not have been “a natural occurrence.”
Ohio Crime Stoppers offered a $10,000 reward for any information that might lead to arrest and conviction of the responsible parties, and the incentive seems to have worked. On October 10th, Churchheus and Buckley were arrested and confessed to playing a part in Schafer’s death.
According to WLWT, the teens were arrested after authorities received a tip about a text message one of the teens sent to a classmate saying that “he and a friend did something serious.” Once arrested, the teens admitted to “forcing a 74-pound log off a cliff,” which fell more than 75 feet, hitting and killing Schafer while she was taking senior portraits for a group of students.
The teens appeared in court today, where a Hocking County judge decided that they would both be tried as adults and issued each a bond of $100,000. According to NBC4i, if convicted on all four charges mentioned above, they could face life in prison.
Over the past six months, it’s been a season of new camera releases, each more tempting than the last. The latest crop of mirrorless hybrids and digital cinema cameras present some compelling new features and innovations designed to make shooting more efficient and the output, to me, more impressive.
The past few months have seen several new cameras announced, but the ones that come to mind immediately as the most interesting are:
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K — $2,495
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H — $3,997
Sony PMW-FX9 — $10,998
Canon EOS C500 MKII — $15,999
Within such an enormous price range, what features make these cameras so interesting? Let’s review what makes the latest crop of cameras compelling:
One of the new cameras feature 6K sensors with 4K recording (the Sony PMW-FX9), while the other three cameras all feature native internal 6K recording.
Internal RAW Recording
Two of the cameras (the Blackmagic and the Canon) allow for internal RAW recording. The Sony and Panasonic will both allow external RAW recording, which, to me, is a non-starter. Once you’ve shot with internal RAW recording, shooting RAW externally seems like a step backward, but it’s nice that all four cameras at least have the option to shoot RAW period.
The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K can interface with a Blackmagic external battery grip, which goes a long way to solving its too short internal single battery life. The Panasonic S1H can interface with the same optional Panasonic external audio interface that the GH5 and GH5S have utilized over the last few years.
Both of these lower dollar cameras pale in comparison with the Sony FX-9 and Canon C500 MKII when it comes to modularity. The Sony will interface with an accessory back that allows for various additional external interface functions, and the Canon C500 MKII has a whole new lineup of optional EVFs, camera backs and other accessories that will allow you to customize the cameras connections and interfaces to a degree that no other C Series camera has had before.
Higher Bit Rates And Data Rates
Some customers require certain bit rates and data rates. It’s fair to say that 8-bit video recording is now considered passé’, at least on pro digital cinema cameras, although 8-bit recording is still common with mirrorless cameras. All four of these cameras offer a minimum of 10-bit recording with some offering 12-bit recording and even 16-bit output. All four of these cameras offer data rates that are impressively robust and would have been unheard of just a few short years ago. As the recording media has improved, so too have digital cinema and mirrorless cameras ability to record in higher and higher data rate formats, including RAW, which records at up to 5.9K (5952 X 3140) at an astounding 2.1 Gbps, which requires the new CFexpress card format.
I ‘ve shot with two of these four new cameras, the Blackmagic and the Panasonic. Unfortunately, the Sony and the Canon aren’t yet available to review, but based upon previous experience with the Sony PMW-FS7 and FS7 MKII, the Canon EOS C100, 100 MKII, 300 MKI and MKII and that I own the C200, I can surmise at least roughly at how the Canon and Sony will perform. In my opinion, we’ve finally reached the point where any new cameras hitting the market will be better, but how many of us really need a better camera than this crop of technology?
Are We Hitting A Wall?
A question I see being raised repeatedly on discussion boards and in digital cinema forums is the assertion that we’re basically already at the saturation point for new digital cinema technology in cameras. What do we mean when we say “saturation point”? In order to answer what a saturation point is, let’s take a look at what customers and clients are looking for when they hire you to shoot either footage for them as a production services provider or when they hire you as a production company to shepherd their project all of the way through the creative process, from idea to final product.
Now that the latest crop of cameras has hit the 6K barrier, perhaps it makes sense to take a look at what real clients in the real world are actually asking for.
In our personal experience over the past two or three years, the majority of clients in the markets we shoot and produce in predominantly are still requesting 1080 acquisition. Wait, aren’t we in the era of 4K video already though? Well, yes and no. What we’re hearing over and over again is that many of our client’s internal workflows for editing, monitoring, archiving and outputting are mostly still optimized for 1080.
4K is four times the size of 1080, creating a resolution profile that’s two times wider and two times higher than 1080 HD, thus giving a total screen resolution that’s a bit over 4 times larger overall. Some of these clients are fine shooting a project in 4K UHD, but the final output still needs to be 1080 for the majority of projects we’re hired for. About 35 to 40 percent of the time, the clients don’t specify which format and frame size they want to shoot in, and we often recommend shooting a project UHD (3840×2160) even if we’re going to edit the footage in a 1080 timeline. In this way, at least the client’s footage, if not the edit, will be somewhat “future-proofed” as they could always go back and re-edit the project in UHD resolution. About 20 percent of the time, clients specify and request that the project be entirely shot and delivered in UHD.
Listening To Who Pays The Bills
What conclusions can we draw from what our customers are telling us? Simple. The sum of all projects being shot in at least 4K and delivered in 4K is still quite a bit smaller than many in our industry would have projected just two years ago. If we look at where we are today with shooting and delivering 4K, does it make sense to be buying any camera based upon its ability to shoot and record in 6K resolution? What about 8K? That’s a question you have to ask yourself. We now know that with Bayer sensors and the DeBayering process, to obtain the optimal down-sampled UHD 4K footage, it helps if the sensor in the camera can shoot at a native 5.7k to 5.9K resolution since you lose resolution during DeBayering. If a 4K native sensor is used instead, the DeBayered image will be lower than UHD resolution and will always fall short of fulfilling the potential of a UHD specification. Of course, this is all resolution discussion and not image quality or image characteristic talk, which is a totally different set of criteria.
The Business Case
A lot of your decisions and my own decisions about when to buy a new camera and which camera to buy should center on the business case. Here’s an example. Right now, in 2019, in our market, which is centered in Los Angeles, mostly in the entertainment media, shooting EPK, BTS and documentary type footage mostly, with some occasional corporate work and event work thrown in for good measure, we’re able to charge clients a day rate for the camera package of around $450 to $650 per day, which includes the camera, media, batteries, charger, tripod and a zoom lens. We can add wireless video transmission and a monitor, better and longer length lenses and external recording to Prores HQ as options that take the base $450 rate to the upper rate of around $650.
Looking at our clients, their needs and preferences, our current C200 package fulfills most of their needs, most of the time, so we can surmise for the majority of our clients, our camera, or a similar one like it (Panasonic EVA 1, Canon C300 MKII, Sony FS7/MKII) would fill their needs nicely. A Canon C200 or any of the competitors would cost around $6,000 to $7,500 new for the camera body only. While I find that the two new digital cinema camera offerings, the Sony FX-9 and the Canon C500 MKII would be a delight to shoot with and either would offer superior features in some areas over our C200, I can say with some confidence that none of the features either camera would offer would motivate our clients to pay more than the current $450 to $650 per day for our camera package.
In extrapolating this financial strategy, I’ve come to the conclusion that it won’t be worth it, from a business perspective, for us and our clients, to upgrade from our C200 to the FX-9 or the C500 MKII in the near future. This is not to say that the entire situation couldn’t change and evolve, but viewing the situation through a lens of today’s work with today’s clients with their current needs, we feel no immediate urge to sell off our year-and-half-old C200 to update to the latest and greatest successors.
If we were new to buying digital cinema cameras, we might find the new features offered by either to be very appealing and either could prove to be the right choice as our new first digital cinema camera. For quick turnaround day playing, the Sony FX-9 seems as if it will be a very worthy successor to Sony’s immensely popular FS7/FS7 MKII cameras. For higher budgeted, more involved projects that will be color corrected, graded and have longer production timelines, the internal RAW capability will make the C500 MKII appealing for a large population of users, clients and projects.
The real question is, what’s your business case for buying a new camera or for trading up from your current camera to the latest and greatest?
Accusonus’ ERA 4 Voice Leveler plugin is currently on sale – costing only $9 (instead of $59 regular price) – until the 8th of November. The one-knob tool might help your audio processes significantly, when it comes to leveling a person’s voice . Let’s take a closer look!
ERA 4 Voice Leveler
The Accusonus ERA 4 series of plugins are one-knob tools made for filmmakers that want to fix and improve their audio results, quickly. These plugins are compatible with every NLE and audio software on the market that accepts VSTs. If you wish to hear and learn more about these one-knob tools, you can take a look at the full review I did some time ago, which includes audio examples.
So, what does this plugin do, and how can it help you? When you record someone speaking – the most typical scenario being a talking-head interview – the voice intensity of the person can vary a lot. Of course, you can adjust the volume input directly on set, on your camera or mixer, but as a one-man-crew, you have a lot of things to deal with already, and it’s nearly impossible to do.
If you need the voice of the person speaking to be “constant” – not low at certain moments and higher at others – voice leveling the dialogue by hand is a time-consuming task. The ERA 4 Voice Leveler plugin helps you smooth out your voice track without adding background noise when the person is not speaking.
I’ve used this plugin a lot for the past six months, and it does a fantastic job. Of course, you have to be gentle and subtle when you play with the knob, to get great results. It’s been a whole part of my audio chain process for interviews.
Pricing and Availability
Currently, there is a special offer for the ERA 4 Voice Leveler plugin that lasts until the 8th of November. You can get the plugin for only $9 (instead of $59 regular price). At this price, it’s a real bargain. If you are not quite sure yet if it can aid your workflow, you can try it for free. To get access to this offer, follow this link to the Accusonus website.
Have you already tried ERA 4 plugins? What do you think of these easy to use tools? Let us know in the comments!
Ever since Google debuted Night Sight, people have marveled at how capable the computational photo technology has proven to be. But how does it compare to good old fashion sensor size? Andrew Branch of the YouTube channel Denae & Andrew decided to find out.
In his latest video, Branch pits the Google Pixel 4 and the latest Night Sight technology against the full-frame mirrorless Canon EOS RP in a blind “taste” test that’s meant to simulate how most consumers would try and capture each low-light scene he shot.
Branch is kindly allowing us to share a few of the comparison photos with you below, and you can see all 11 comparison scenes by watching the full video.
Scroll down to see five different scenes, each captured with both the EOS RP and Google Pixel 4’s Night Sight mode. Click on each photo to see it in full resolution, make your guesses as to which photo was shot with which camera, and we’ll reveal the answers at the very bottom.
There was a time when comparing the low-light photography chops of a smartphone against a full-frame camera seemed ludicrous, but with the advances in computational photography that we’ve seen from both Google and Apple over the past year, that’s no longer the case. For everyday use and especially for Web consumption, the results that Google is able to produce by combining multiple images on the Pixel 4, despite its tiny image sensor, are downright incredible.
If you guessed that, overall, the Google Pixel 4 photos were the cleaner and brighter of each pair above, you’d be 100% correct. As you can see from the Answer Key, Google’s computational photography allows for much cleaner low-light imagery, despite its tiny sensor, than shooting the EOS RP hand-held:
Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 4
Canon EOS RP
Canon EOS RP
Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 4
Canon EOS RP
Now, before the comments section fills up with claims that this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, Andrew wanted to share three important disclaimers that explain why he designed this shootout the way that he did:
Of course the FF camera will do better if multiple photos are stacked and processed in a similar way as the Pixel 4 is doing in post. But the point of the comparison was to see how each performs in-camera.
Of course the results of the FF camera would have been better with a tripod. The point was to compare hand-held.
Of course there are better FF cameras for low-light photography. But the EOS RP is the cheapest Canon FF mirrorless consumer camera, putting it closer in price to the Pixel 4. So that’s why we chose it.
So, would the EOS RP (or any other full-frame, APS-C or M43 camera) have outperformed the Pixel 4 given a tripod and a few seconds of exposure time per shot? Probably. But given the same parameters—the ones most typical consumers are using when they take a low-light photo—it’s clear that computational photography has a major advantage.
Now… imagine what a “real” camera could do given the same hand-held, high-speed image stacking technology. That’s what we’re really waiting for.
Check out the full video up top for more side-by-side comparisons. And if you like this sort of thing, click here to see Andrew and Denae’s blind comparison of Fuji vs Canon color science.
Image credits: Photos by Andrew Branch and used with permission.
Joe Klotz, ACE has had a feature film and TV career that has spanned more than two decades. He was nominated for a 2010 Oscar for his editing of the film, Precious. His other work includes, Shelter Island, Rabbit Hole, The Paperboy, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, and Yellow Birds, among others.
Today our discussion centers on the film Motherless Brooklyn, which Edward Norton, wrote, directed, and stars in.
HULLFISH: Joe, we have a mutual acquaintance. I’m about to hop on the phone with (one of your producers) about one of my personal projects I’m trying to get made.
KLOTZ: Oh. She’s great. I worked with her on this and on Rabbit Hole.
HULLFISH: You hadn’t worked with Ed Norton before as a director, right? So is that how you got this job?
KLOTZ: No. I had not worked with Edward before. The way I got the job sort of starts with reading the book 10 years ago. And I love the book. It sort of takes place in the neighborhood I live in Brooklyn. It’s set in the year that I actually moved into the neighborhood as well. My friend Bill Migliori who is Edward’s producing partner produced the very first film that I worked on. We went to Sundance with that. So I proceeded to get in touch with him and then hound him over the years saying, “If this ever gets the green light, give me a shout, because I love the book and I’d like to have a meeting with Edward.”
There’s a funny side note to this. I asked about it several times, because he was developing the script for a good 20 years. And then one day my wife called me and said, “You’ll never guess what just happened.” And I said, “What?”
A location manager called me about a film that’s looking for a living room in the Brooklyn neighborhood, and in walks Edward Norton and Bill Migliori and she knew Bill.
Bill was petting my dog and comes up and says, “Oh my god! Giselle! Hello! How are you doing?” Anyway, it was a lovefest because we were quite tight. He said, “Hey, how’s Joe?” And she proceeded to say, “Well, he just finished a job and he’s available.” She was trying to get me the job.
HULLFISH: Trying to get you out of the house?
KLOTZ: Trying to rent the house for a film shoot AND get me out of the house.
HULLFISH: What do you think of your work that Edward saw, or do you think it was that personal connection?
KLOTZ: I think it was first the personal connection with the producer. For him to suggest me to Edward. And then I know he did watch a couple of my films — whether he had seen them or did some research — but I do think it was Precious, to tell you the truth because he mentioned that in our first and only interview.
Then when we were cutting he brought that up several times as far as how we got into her head and into these fantasies and flashbacks that run through Precious. There is a similarity there because of Lionel’s character (played by Edward Norton) — we go into his head and the way he is processing all that he’s going through with his Tourette’s and his obsessive compulsiveness and there are flashbacks. They’re different obviously, but how we dip in and out of someone’s mind basically is the same.
HULLFISH: The last released film that I edited was with a director-writer-actor so I just wanted to talk about that, since Norton directed, wrote and acted in this. Is there a danger that someone who is that involved is somehow overly precious with his writing or acting or directing? How are they judging their performance? How do they distance themselves somehow? How do you have to help with that?
KLOTZ: I was a bit worried about that myself. The film I had mentioned earlier that Bill Migliori produced had a similar thing with a writer-star and his brother directed.
It’s a little unnerving at first but Edward was quite gracious and open to my input on that. I held back a little bit at first, and we just sort of ended up talking about Lionel — his character — in the third person. So it wasn’t like “Hey, I think it’d be better if YOU had done this.” It’s more like, “Hey, I like the way Lionel does this.” It just became very easy and there was zero vanity and just all like serving the film, serving the character and it was a pretty fun and easy collaboration.
Obviously, when you work with a director for the first time it’s a process. You get to know each other and there’s a little trepidation at first about how much you want to throw in there and at what time and then by the end you’re just firing on all cylinders and collaborating and trying to do the best for the film.
HULLFISH: Did his Tourette’s cause difficulties with continuity at all?
KLOTZ: With his verbal tics and outbursts there really wasn’t anything different than normal continuity. He did mix it up a little bit. He didn’t want it just to be all over the place, so he had his sort of go-to reactions — and there was a consistency there — although there was quite a bit of variety, so that wasn’t the problem.
There was a small bit that was a bit hard to deal with on occasion which was a physical manifestation of his affliction — which was he would tap a character once and then tap twice and then tap three times. It was established that he did that and that took a certain amount of time to go through that little ritual and we didn’t want to truncate that because it needed to be “the one, the two, and the three” There was fun and charm in that, as well as him struggling to not invade other people’s personal space, because he knew it was wrong. It was pretty consistent that he did it while he was saying the same line so you could cut between things and stuff like, so it was a little bit limiting, but it wasn’t that hard. There were a couple of times — if you look closely — where we didn’t let him do the full run on that, but you get away with stuff like that.
HULLFISH: I didn’t notice. Tell me about the narration. Did that change from the script? How were you scratching? Was Ed scratching for you while you were in the room?
KLOTZ: Well the shocker of that is that the original script had no voiceover in it.
KLOTZ: We cut the film without voiceover, and it worked pretty well as far as we were concerned but we thought there was a little bit of distance to our main character — a little bit of a reserve — a little space between the audience and him.
So Edward said, “I’ve been holding this in my back pocket. Let’s start playing with this (narration).” Voiceover is sort of a familiar trope in film noir as well — not all the time — but it’s not out of the norm. I was sort of into it, too. A lot of times films that don’t start with voiceover lean on voiceover to fix problems, but I think this helped us elevate the connection between the audience and the character and it had a nice arc where it was a little bit reserved in his performance at the beginning and as you go through the film it gets a little bit more personal and a little bit warmer.
It was brilliant and fun to be in that room with a mic stand and Edward would run through what he was thinking and then we would just record and he would sort of stroll around the room — sort of getting into character with a whole lot of concentration and intensity — and come up to the mic and and he’d say, “Are you’re rolling?” And I would just give him a little nod so as not to break his concentration and he’d go for it.
In the beginning, I didn’t say anything. Then as we went through weeks and weeks of this, I’d say, I really liked when Lionel did this little thing — I didn’t give him direction by any stretch of the imagination — but participated in what I thought worked and then we’d try to cut it in and then we’d say, “Yeah, that’s not fitting just right and the words need to be tweaked a bit” and he’d go back for it.
That, I think, is a failing for a lot of films when you say, “OK, we’re gonna do voiceover” and you temp your voice in or if it’s a woman you grab somebody in the office and they temp it and then you time everything out and maybe the actor scratches it on an iPhone and sends it to you, but then it is recorded later and put in. And I think that’s a failing, because I think the intimacy of voiceover In a movie just needs to work it over and over again, as far as the writing and as far as the performance. And just going into a booth for a few hours and knocking it out — I don’t really think that does the film much good.
That’s what we did with Precious as well. Gabourey Sidibe came into that edit room — we were cutting in Manhattan, she lived in Manhattan — she would come three, four times a week over the course of a few months and Lee (director Lee Daniels) was writing and she was performing and he was pushing her. In that film she goes from sort of uneducated and then as she goes through school, she progressed to being much more eloquent, so that had to be finely tuned. It was a “scratch” because she’s doing it in the edit room.
We were in the Brill Building, right on Broadway, and I have a mic that I got at a yard sale and buses are going by and they’re recorded. That’s in the film because she never matched it and Lee tried and he said, “We’re just going to go with what we recorded in the edit room.” For most of it.
I’m working on a film now and we’re scheduling the voiceover and I was trying to ask for it not to just be done in a day, but contractually that might be the way it is.
HULLFISH: Two things about narration before we move on. You mentioned that Edward kind of walked around the room then strode up to the mic… was it scripted? Did he write it down or perform it out of his head?
KLOTZ: A bit of both. He definitely worked it out ahead of time. But he definitely created on the spot as well. He’d be in character and say the line and it wouldn’t feel right and he would turn the phrase and sometimes look at me and I give a thumbs up or whatever — I was trying to support him when it sounded right. It was great. It was a lot of fun to see that come alive.
HULLFISH: Did you see Ad Astra?
KLOTZ: I did.
HULLFISH: That was originally written and edited without narration which shocked me. It’s interesting that both these movies were originally without narration. Very interesting.
Let’s talk about temp. There was a lot of great jazz in there.
KLOTZ: Obviously he had Wynton Marsalis there to help him curate what was going to be played at the club and that was all obviously sourced out and recorded well beforehand, but as far as temp goes, he really didn’t want to lean on a jazz score. We are both big fans of Radiohead and Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood and so we temped with a lot of that.
There Will be Blood and just a lot of some of the more obscure discordant tonal stuff of Radiohead to give it the right mood. I could go back to my Spotify list — I’ve got Daniel Pemberton from five or six years ago. I’ve always been a fan of his. And when he was given the nod to come do this, it was quite exciting and then I started exploring some of his newer stuff. I think it was For all the Money in the World — I used a lot of that to temp.
Probably composers hate that — when you temp with score from another of their movies into the current movie — because it’s like, “Excuse me! I want to do something different.” But it really worked for some of the more tense things, like the race up to Harlem to save Laura. I temped with that music.
Then Edward went to London and worked with him and I thought they really knocked it out of the park. I really loved that score.
HULLFISH: It’s interesting that you say that composers don’t want you to temp with their previous score. For the film I just did, we got all the composer’s old music and I tried to only temp with stuff from that composer.
KLOTZ: What did they have to say about that?
HULLFISH: They definitely did something different from the temp, but I think they were just happy that they didn’t have to try to match some John Williams temp!
KLOTZ: That’s a good point.
HULLFISH: There’s a great sequence where Lionel is high. It transitions into a shot of Alec Baldwin swimming. Was there a trick to getting that transition right from dream to reality?
KLOTZ: It was scripted and planned out but it completely evolved. He smokes some opium, I believe and falls back into water and he’s sinking into forgetting about the tragedy that just happened and up through that water we see somebody up above him as he sinks to the bottom. And there was just a simple shot of one body-double swimmer swimming through the frame and it just had a few frames when he was in the frame completely by himself, and we wanted that to last, so we pushed it back and we got our visual effects supervisor, Mark Russell, involved early on and did some looping and pushing the swimmer from left to right. They tried many different visual effects there and sort of settled on this kaleidoscopic mash-up and just let the sound sort of pull us out of that reverie and into the reality of the shot of Mr. Big — Moses Randolph — swimming in the pool.
HULLFISH: It seemed like the timing of that transition from the sinking to swimming would be critical.
KLOTZ: The timing — sometimes the footage dictates what the timing is going to be, because as he falls back, we didn’t want to have him flailing, so there was just a certain amount of time where he was sort of doing this more ethereal freefall, so that sort of dictated what worked and we slowed it down a little bit. There were a couple of angles from above and below and just kind of worked it as much as it could be worked.
HULLFISH: There’s a scene where Lionel is working the car service phones where you made some great use of jump cuts. Can you talk about that? Was that the first place there were jump cuts in the movie?
KLOTZ: I believe so. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was it.
There were some other places where we were sort of in his head — voice-over-wise and thought-wise. I love a good jump-cut scene. He’s processing what he heard in that original scene. I don’t think the jumpcuts come out of the blue in that there are some other stylistic things that happened beforehand — i.e. the scene where he’s on the phone listening in on the meeting with Frank, his boss, that turns sour. That’s shot very obliquely with shadows and out-of-focus and odd framing.
He’s on the phone and he’s listening, so we’re trying to portray what he’s hearing and how he’s perceiving that — which is, Frank, his boss is pretty sharp and focused because he knows him, but he doesn’t know the other characters that are around him in that room because he’s not there he’s only hearing it — so you’re in his mind and he’s trying to bring them into focus so his obsessive-compulsive mind can remember it and live it. That was cut fairly jumpy.
Getting back to the jump cuts you mentioned, he’s processing what he heard, which is the word “Formosa.” And he’s just trying to figure out what that means and breaking it down in all different ways and obviously to let him do that in one fell swoop would have probably been about 45 seconds of writing, so jumping it and having him mumble and having some good music there let us feel how his fragmented mind is processing that information. So that’s what the thought was behind that.
HULLFISH: You mentioned flashbacks earlier. Tell me a little bit about how you cut those flashback sequences. There’s a shooting early in the movie, and then Lionel’s character remembers that shooting throughout the movie. Did you do some temp color grading of that stuff in the Avid as you were editing — giving it that flashback look?
KLOTZ: Edward said he wanted it to appear like Lionel is trying to piece together what happened in that shooting, and so he basically rewinds. So, up to that point, we rewind what transpired in that sequence and then he starts playing it forward and back and forward and back and very fragmented.
The color was a small part of it, I think.
HULLFISH: Of course, it was the actual editing.
KLOTZ: What I did was I just sort of edited the sequence in a pretty fragmented but inclusive way of all that happened and then said to my assistant, Beth Moran, and our apprentice, “Can you figure out how I can scrub full frame on the Avid and record it at the same time and then put it back in the Avid so I can edit what we’re recording?” So they figured out a way to capture that and I just went in when they had it all set up and just played it and scrubbed it forward fast and stopped and back and forth 15 times and created about 20 minutes of footage — real herky-jerky then landing on specific freezes of Frank Minna’s face or just as the gun went off and then took all that footage and edited that to be part of this flashback and desaturated it and added some color and stuff like that.
HULLFISH: I only saw it once… I’m assuming there was a bunch of sound design to those flashbacks?
KLOTZ: I’ve only seen it one time in the last year. I finished at Christmas time last year and I’ve only seen it once since then. I’m trying to remember it all. Supervising Sound Editor Paul Hsu just did an amazing job. There’s some rewind stuff and the guns echoing and there are sounds from the moment. He did a really great job with that.
HULLFISH: As in many movies, there are many places where the score bridges two scenes or more. When you’re cutting an assembly, are you cutting in temp? Or are you waiting for those scenes to be joined before you put in temp? How does it work on those scenes where score crosses?
KLOTZ: It’s weird. I wouldn’t say it’s arbitrary, but sometimes I just get this feeling like I don’t want to put temp in. I want to make it work without leaning on that crutch. And then I love music so much that that’s really hard to hold back, you know? Obviously, if you choose the right piece of music it can elevate a scene. I’ll choose something for a scene that needs it and if there is a moment where it feels organic — like it could come out before the scene ends — then I do that, and if it doesn’t, I just let it cut out or trail out until the glue between those two scenes — there might be a transition shot that I don’t have yet that you can let that music dissipate through and have a clean palette when you come to the new scene or sometimes that music is just the right piece of music to take you into the next scene.
So it really is obviously on a case-by-case basis but it’s a really great question. I’m working on a movie now that has a lot of music and it’s a lot of fun when it works and it’s a pain when it doesn’t, like there’s a great song that is kicking off the next scene but how do I get out of the music of the previous scene and it can be a conundrum, but it’s a fun one.
I’ve been at this for a while and I’m really kind of enjoying doing some temp music editing and feeling proud of myself and then I hear it with an audience and think, “Oh my god! What have I done?” And then getting it to a real music editor.
There actually is a fun story: Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) wrote an original song for the film that we had before the movie was shot called Daily Battles and it’s the song that is used when Lionel is walking home after Frank has died and it’s right previous to the scene where he smokes some dope and falls into the water. It’s a real sad lament as he walks through the streets of Brooklyn, and so we had that song and I cut that whole trip back to his apartment where he cries on the stairs and everything and it was all set to Thom Yorke’s song and in timing it out I could not make a good music edit to make it work, and we needed it to land at a certain place. So I did a pretty slop edit and then Edward said, Radiohead’s in town and Thom Yorke is gonna come by and I want to show him that scene, so it’s like, “Oh no!” I stayed late and worked on it and I got it better, but… So Thom Yorke came in — and I’m a big fan — I went to see them when their very first album came out back 20 years ago — but I had to play that scene for him and I put a caveat out there. I said, There’s a very mediocre or bad music edit in there and he was very gracious and eventually, we got a professional to do that for the final.
HULLFISH: This film is so gorgeous. Every single frame. Were you just bowled over when you started getting dailies in?
KLOTZ: Yes eventually. But the first couple of scenes were rough ones — like the scene with Frank up in the meeting with the corrupt government officials. And when I was looking at that stuff, I was thinking, “What is this?” It’s a three-minute scene of all this oblique out-of-focus stuff. “This is gorgeous, but I have no idea what I’m gonna do with this.”
But, yeah, just day-in and day-out of this gorgeous footage of New York that Dick Pope nailed. It was a really fun mix of streets and locations and studio work and it evolved too. He did so much with the color correct. It was fun to see that come to life as a 50s tableau because they found great locations but there was a lot of visual work to be done. It’s great to cut a movie where there a big chase on a bridge and then later that night I’m leaving town going over the same bridge with my family to get away for the weekend, so I was feeling very connected to New York and enjoying that process.
HULLFISH: On the subject of dailies — you mentioned the difficulty of that phone call scene — how do you watch dailies? Do you watch them very actively — putting locators or sub-clipping or creating a selects reel or are you letting it wash over you?
KLOTZ: I have a process that I don’t know how it developed. Maybe just doing independent films that were under-the-gun and time frame. It’s a bit unorthodox in that in the early days when you’d have this paralysis when you come to a scene, like, “What to do? Where’s my first edit coming from?”
So my trick was: OK, here’s a circled take that’s a medium or a wide and I’ll see all that they’re going for, and I just lay that down. That’s the first thing I do. I don’t even look at the dailies I just pick one of those things and play it down and if there’s a break in it, I’ll just cut it together or I’ll choose another take that’s seamless. And then I just start at the beginning and watch the first set-up and I don’t really take notes.
I just watch and if something hits me — if I feel something like, “Oh my God. That’s a perfect acting moment or that little look is great” — I try to go with that initial very first reaction with my gut that moves me; that hits me; that excites me. And I cut that in. Here’s a big wide shot and there are three close-ups in it. And then I take the next take and then the next take and it’s a little bit fragmented and a little bit disjointed but I know where I’m going to go. I’m not making edits that are smooth or anything, that’s how I start cutting the scene.
I’ve tried it before where I take notes and I don’t want to be looking at a piece of paper or a computer screen with notes, I want to be looking at the footage and really preserve that initial reaction.
It’s a little bit cumbersome. Sometimes you miss a connection, but if I really like two things, I won’t throw away one thing. I will stack it or sometimes even in the script there’ll be a line I’ll just write “take three” and write down the time code as “great alt.” So that’s basically how I do it.
HULLFISH: I’m going to have to try that method. It’s almost like doing a selects reel, but you’re using a master shot as a placeholder for the timeline.
KLOTZ: Yes it’s a template basically.
HULLFISH: In the jazz club sequence can you talk about the challenge editing music that appears to be playing live while characters are actually reacting to it? It’s one thing if you’ve got a band in the background that they’re not really reacting to, but this was very interactive with the music so the music couldn’t just be dropped in.
KLOTZ: It was a little daunting at first. “How am I gonna do this?” But they prepped it really well. Basically, in the jazz club there are three songs: one blues walk where they just sort of come in and the band goes to the stage and Lionel and Laura settle in to watch and they have a conversation while it’s going on, so I just cut the performance of the full song knowing pretty much that we weren’t going to use the whole song, but maybe close to it. And then on the dialogue side, there are certain bits of conversation that were interrupted by Lionel reacting to the music. So they had to be timed because his “Tourrette’s run” would be sort of like the run of the music. So a melody would be in the music and then he’d run that same series of notes verbally, so those had to be fit in at a certain place.
But the magic of that was they shot the band with four cameras and they shot that conversation and the subsequent songs as well with three cameras, so I had a lot of choices. So that worked out and there were also bits of their dialogue where they were playing the music so Edward could do those runs and be in sync. And then there were other times where they ran it without the music so the dialogue could be clean and I could insert it into the song wherever it worked.
There were some things that weren’t tied to the music so I could be like, “OK, well, this is a little introductory thing that they say here and then the music could overwhelm them here and then he has a little interaction with Laura here.” So it was a lot of variety. There was stuff that was had to be sunk. And there was stuff that was looser that I could move around and place wherever it was needed to create that flow.
HULLFISH: Also, I love that ballad that the band plays and Laura and Lionel danced to. Was your approach to that scene cutting the music performance or cutting the performance of the actors and then dropping in the music?
KLOTZ: Yeah, exactly, because that was designed to almost be one shot, but to be on them to let that evolve in front of you, because they just met and to have that be really intimate so quickly I think had to be handled with kid gloves.
So, to start with, basically, I chose a take that really moved me and Edward obviously chose that take as well. And then dropped in some musical bits, like when the trumpet player throws it over to the piano player in a really soft moment, that really added to the mood of the moment.
First of all the song is actually the Thom Yorke song — Daily Battles — that is played earlier. Wynton Marsalis did a jazz arrangement of the Thom Yorke song so that theme threads through. But also, at that point, Laura’s uncle and his henchmen are watching them and wondering what’s going on between those two. So there was a fair amount to cut around to, but I was just trying to stay on them and let that intimacy grow as much as possible.
HULLFISH: I’m always interested with special shots that are obviously more than just your typical coverage whether there IS coverage and how those kinds of things work. The scene that I want to talk about is when Gabby Horowitz is getting to the speech at the rally and a camera follows her out of a car, through a crowd and she arrives just as the speaker on the platform is introducing her. You’re listening to the speaker through the whole shot and it times out perfectly in the performance. Was there coverage? Did you just know, Oh my gosh! What a great shot. I just have to stick with this the whole time?
KLOTZ: I believe there was a little bit of coverage but that’s how that was designed to work in the film. And I love no special shots too. But only when they work. Sometimes when people do a special shot and it doesn’t work and they were relying on that and didn’t get coverage? You kind of get boxed in a corner. But that one really worked, because the car drives up, they jump out and it tracks with her to the podium and I love that kind of stuff where it’s not really obvious what’s happening. You’re hearing the sound of what’s happening. You’re hearing the other speaker. You’re not seeing the crowd, but you’re hearing it, and then she gets swept into it. You’re kind of with her. And I think that really pulls the audience into experiencing it the way you would want them to.
HULLFISH: It just felt very organic and wonderful.
KLOTZ: Sometimes they get it right in production.
HULLFISH: Come on! We don’t have to save everything?
KLOTZ: Exactly. We like to think we do.
HULLFISH: I hesitate to say anything. I love the editing of this entire so much, but there’s a scene where Laura and Lionel are in bed and there was a cutaway that made me wonder how much coverage there was.
KLOTZ: I’m laughing because I know exactly what you’re talking about — there’s a very strange shot of a mirror — it sort of comes out of the blue.
We did not have a lot of cutaways. It’s been a year since I really delved into the film, but I do remember we had a really good reason to use that and why we couldn’t just go to a reverse of the other person.
But that scene evolved in a quite interesting way in that it follows on the heels of Laura’s uncle being killed. Then Lionel escorts Laura up to her apartment and it becomes romantic and they fall into bed and it’s the next morning and it’s alluded to that they had a romantic overnight.
(((END SPOILER ALERT))) That scene kind of bumped for some people. It bumped for me a little bit when I read the script. It’s a little bit awkward on the heels of a tragedy. We tried to make it work and tried to minimize it and just have it be as far off-screen as possible and in some test screenings, it still bumped. So basically that scene was reshot. But we could only reshoot half of it because the set had been struck.
So Laura’s side when you’re shooting over Edward’s shoulder to her that is from the original because basically what was changed was — a little bit of the dialogue — but it pretty much stayed the same, but what changed was on Edward’s side he was not shirtless under the covers. He was in his clothes on top of the covers. So it feels like she had asked him to stay because she was emotionally distraught and needed company. And it was a platonic stay.
So that’s how we recreated that. And then the stuff over his shoulder where you saw his shoulder they painted on a shirt. So it was a lot of machinations; a lot of prepping of what we needed. The scene was cut with what we were going to use on her side so we knew exactly what we needed on his side.
HULLFISH: I was going to say that it didn’t bump at all for me, but now I know why.
KLOTZ: We jump through some hoops on that one. I think Gugu (Laura) was in London. They flew the headboard to London and shot it over there.
HULLFISH: On another topic, you’ve worked with Lee Daniels on several films. How did that relationship start and how is it different working with a director that you’ve worked with numerous times compared to a first-time relationship?
KLOTZ: Well, there was a first time with Lee as well. I interviewed for that movie after some of it had been shot and I think I got that job because he showed me some dailies of Mo’Nique and I said that’s a nomination for Best Supporting Actress and he said, “Really?” And then she went on to win. So we didn’t mess that one up.
Working with Lee was a lot of fun. And it was hard too. But he was great. He said a couple of things to me at the beginning that I’ll never forget which were: “Don’t edit yourself. Give me the most bold, raw, outrageous — whatever you think works for the film.”
He said, “I will edit you.” And he said, “What I want you to do is: we’ll talk about the scenes and I’ll tell you where I want it to go and what my thoughts are, but I want you to bring what you can bring to it and I’ll let you go do that and then I’ll come back. But I want you to make me fall off this couch.” So I said, “OK. That’s a challenge.”
I didn’t make him fall off the couch too many times, but a couple of times he started leaning forward more and more and a couple of times he came off the couch. So it was nice to have that kind of collaboration. There was a lot of room to play and experiment and as happens with every director — Edward included — it’s good to get a little space to work out what they’re asking you to do. You talk about the film or scene and “this is what my intention was and this is how you cut it when you did your first pass while I was shooting, and I liked this but I think we should try something there” and then they go away and let you do that and then come back and take it through a couple more rounds with this and then as time goes on they’re just in the edit room more and more because you’re fine-tuning together and making bigger decisions.
So that is my optimum and I had that with Lee’s style and I had that with Edward’s style too. When you start off with somebody new you’ve got to create a language and a trust. I just held back and made sure I understood what his intentions were with the film and where he wanted to take it and just figured out a way to help him take it there.
As we went further, he started trusting me and I could start putting myself into it more and helping him achieve that.
HULLFISH: Can you tell me about some of these scenes?
KLOTZ: Willem Dafoe at the diner. The challenge for that scene. I had such a blast working with Willem Dafoe. Alec Baldwin. Gugu. Bobby Cannavale.
That scene with Willem, he’s a pretty outrageous character. And that scene has a whole lot of exposition, so it was sort of a balance between making it fun; tightening it and making sure we included what was necessary to move the plot along; and reveal who he was: this tightly-wound, overzealous character who’s trying to achieve his own ends but also sort of help end the corruption of the city.
HULLFISH: Those scenes always make me think about where you play specific lines on or off the actor who is speaking.
KLOTZ: In general I go with my gut. Obviously you’re not going to just cut to who’s ever talking. So if somebody gives you something when they’re saying a line you make sure you keep that. And if somebody gives you something as a reaction to what that line is you go with that.
That married with when I’m in the overs and you can see the other person is or isn’t talking and when you go into the close up for a clean reaction shot or a clean pre-lap of the line? It’s just about creating flow and those little spaces between lines and those overlaps of lines.
I just think it just comes from doing it a lot.
I love a good argument too. It’s always fun to just work with: “Well, they were heated and they actually have overlapping lines or they didn’t and I’ve got to create them.” It’s always a fun day when you’re creating something really intense like that.
I had a blast with the whole race up to Harlem where he jumps in a cab knowing that the girl’s in danger. The fun with that was the variety of the pacing. This driving music and she’s getting off the subway and he’s telling the cabbie where to go — running up the stairs and then boom — silent, and there’s a moment and then it explodes again. I love doing that stuff. This film, besides working with Edward and having a blast with him, was working with great actors and great dialogue. It was a bit of a dream come true.
HULLFISH: What do you think got you the Oscar nomination for Precious?
KLOTZ: Well that’s a tough question. I think the film works and it was a hard film to make work. There are a lot of brutal, raw things going on in that film and for me, it seemed like a perfect storm of it all coming together and having a fun creative input, but I guess it moved people and they thought the editing works.
It’s a hard film to make work because the style is a little bit upfront. The editing is seen. Where she’s jumping into flashbacks and fantasies. I was happy that it was appreciated.
I have a number of films under my belt, but I started shooting and editing news and cutting music videos and cutting ads and cutting commercials and cutting promos for Dateline. I did all these crazy things before I finally got to do what I wanted to do all along.
But a lot of those things influence and inform the ability to go to her flashback and have it be a music video or to degrade the video in a way — like a Dateline promo where you mash up the video and do all sorts of treatments, so that’s a little bit in my wheelhouse. It was a little perfect storm for what I think some of my proclivities were.
I was quite surprised and it was fun for me because I’m never gonna win, so I can go and enjoy myself — and my wife and I had a really fun time.
HULLFISH: What are you looking for of your peers’ work to see that they’re worthy?
KLOTZ: That’s a really tough question. If something is really smooth and I feel like I’m being handled elegantly — the film is being handled elegantly. I think a lot of it has to do with if the style of the editing fits the subject matter.
When you pick that style, is the tone even and working to move the story forward in the right ways? And is it appropriate to the subject matter?
You know when a scene is cut really well because you don’t notice it. You feel moved. You’re lost in the moment. And that’s kind of how I judge. When it does come to voting, what films moved me and why? And then I might go back and see them again or delve into thinking more particularly how the editing worked and what I think went into it. It’s hard because you don’t know. You could have a director who’s just dictating what’s to be done and it could be really well edited movie. The ediotr might have brought a little to the table or might have brought everything to the table and it’s every shade in between. And nobody really knows.
HULLFISH: How closely is your final edit to what was scripted and how did things change why did things change?
KLOTZ: Structurally, this film stayed pretty close to how it was originally scripted.
HULLFISH: Is there another film that you worked on that changed structurally? Precious maybe?
KLOTZ: No. Precious was fairly linear in her growth, from who she started out being to how she ended up.
There were a couple non-linear films that nearly broke the bank. They were really hard when you have so many options. I did a film called The Yellow Birds which jumps around in time a lot. It’s an Iraqi war movie.
Same with a film that’s coming out in a couple of weeks called All Rise that was at Sundance. It was originally called Monster that was very fragmented and structurally moved around.
For Motherless Brooklyn I didn’t even put cards up on the wall because we were going pretty straightforward. But for the other, more non-linear films, I had a magnetic board. We were doing push pins and I’m said, “This is tedious.” I found these little magnetic things that could hold an index card and you can move them around.
I also learned that when you have a new structure, remember to take a photograph of that magnetic board because once you start moving things around, then they may want to go back. You have it in the Avid, but it’s that visual representation I needed to rely on.
With Motherless Brooklyn the structure didn’t change much but we added some things too. At the end of the film he was driving off and we added a scene where he drops off the information to the reporter. That scene was not in the original script. We decided to change that.
HULLFISH: Joe thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate you’re talking about this film with us.
KLOTZ: Yeah. Thank you. It’s great. I really appreciate the effort you put into this. It’s a fun listen.
The first 50 interviews in the series provided the material for the book, “Art of the Cut: Conversations with Film and TV Editors.” This is a unique book that breaks down interviews with many of the world’s best editors and organizes it into a virtual roundtable discussion centering on the topics editors care about. It is a powerful tool for experienced and aspiring editors alike. Cinemontage and CinemaEditor magazine both gave it rave reviews. No other book provides the breadth of opinion and experience. Combined, the editors featured in the book have edited for over 1,000 years on many of the most iconic, critically acclaimed and biggest box office hits in the history of cinema.
Canon very quietly today released a dedicated astrophotography version of its EOS R camera, the EOS Ra.
Much like the Nikon D810a and Canon’s own 20Da, the EOS Ra has been modified to better capture celestial objects in the night sky, but aside from that remains unchanged from its more conventional counterpart. Specifically, Canon has removed the IR filter in front of the full-frame sensor, which will allow as much as four times the amount of hydrogen alpha rays (656nm wavelength) to hit the sensor compared to the standard EOS R camera. This alteration will make it easier to capture the deep red infrared rays given off by objects in space.
The EOS Ra also offers a 30x magnification option in the EVF and in Live View, a dramatic increase from the 10x magnification found in the standard EOS R. This increase should make it easier to focus on celestial bodies to get focus just right.
Aside from those two alterations, the EOS Ra is effectively identical to the EOS R, complete with the 30MP sensor, 3.69M-dot OLED EVF, dot-matrix LED panel and magnesium-alloy body.
The Canon EOS Ra is currently available to pre-order for $2,500. No estimated shipping timeframe has been given at this time.