Want to shoot an atmospheric commercial in the style of The Neon Demon? This cinematographer can tell you how.
Natasha Braier is an Argentinian director of photography whose work includes visually striking feature films like Honey Boy, The Neon Demon, and The Rover. However, a commercial she shot for Hennessy X.O is as eerie and atmospheric as her previous work, and she mentions she’s taking her slightly creepy aesthetic from Neon Demon a step further here…which makes sense since the commercial was also directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
Take a look at the Hennessy ad below:
CookeOpticsTV invited Braier to discuss the elements of this big-budget cognac commercial in a recent interview. Be warned, parts of the commercial are NSFW. Check it out below:
A portion of the commercial was shot with an actor underwater, with golden light being diffused through the water itself. She recalls the lights as Sputnik lights, probably on a tungsten setting.
Headlining our Deals of the Week, the Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Camera just got a $200 price drop.
This week in filmmaking deals: Save $200 on not only the Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Camera but also the NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Lens. Also, you can get a $50 discount on both the Manfrotto Befree Travel Tripod and the Lowepro ProTactic Camera Backpack. Finally, get a whopping 47% discount on the Nebula 5100 3-Axis Handheld Stabilizer over at Adorama.
The Gotham City of Joker is a mere fraction of a degree removed from the New York City of 1981, a time and place Larry Sher knows well. The Hangover and Godzilla: King of the Monsters cinematographer grew up in nearby Teaneck, New Jersey and would sneak into the city on the bus as a teenager in the early 1980s. Sher channeled those experiences—as well as the seminal New York films of the era—to evoke the alienating urban nightmare of Gotham. “My approach for Joker was to feed a little bit off of what the city looked like in my […]
The most important thing for Michael Beach Nichols was to tell the story honestly.
It would be easiest to say that the story of Wrinkles the Clown, the subject of Michael Beach Nichols’ new documentary, is actually a story wrapped in a rumor wrapped in a myth—with a real person at its true heart. The film describes the phenomenon of Wrinkles, a clown that Florida parents can call when they’re frustrated with their miscreant children to come to their houses and scare their children into obedience.
The idea is scary enough, having made its entrance by way of an ultra-creepy YouTube video of a clown crawling out from under a girl’s bed. What actually becomes truly frightening, as one watches the documentary, is the extent to which parents have embraced this method of scaring their children (the clown’s voicemail has 2-million-plus messages to date) and the seriousness with which some of the children take it.
Adobe has collaborated with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, to develop a new tool to detect when photos have been digitally altered using Photoshop’s Face-Aware Liquify tool and adjust them back to the original image.
The prototype tool, codenamed ‘Project About Face,’ will pore over an image pixel-by-pixel and create a heat map showing where it believes the image is most likely altered. From there, the edits can effectively be undone to show what the original image looked like.
According to Adobe, the tool is nearly twice as accurate as humans at detecting when a photograph has been altered. In its testing, Project About Face was able to detect altered images with 99-percent accuracy compared to the 53-percent accuracy of the human test group.
Since this only works with images edited inside Photoshop with its Face-Aware Liquify tool, the practical application isn’t widespread, but it’s a neat teaser nonetheless for future fake-detection methods.
Project About Face is just one of the many ‘Sneaks’ Adobe teased this year at Adobe MAX. Like many of the Sneaks, it’s unlikely we’ll see this tool available anytime soon, but it goes to show the growing possibilities of Adobe’s Sensei AI.
SIGMA has just announced their next Art zoom dedicated for mirrorless cameras: the SIGMA 24-70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art. This new flagship lens is available for E-mount (Sony) and L-mount (Panasonic, Leica, and SIGMA) cameras. Let’s take a closer look!
Image credit: SIGMA
SIGMA 24–70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art
Usually, there are three zoom lenses in every professional’s toolkit to cover nearly every shooting scenario: a wide-angle zoom, a standard zoom, and a telephoto zoom lens. For professional use, all these lenses need to have a fast, constant aperture, usually at F/2.8.
After the 14-24mm F/2.8 DG DN Art that launched last year, the new SIGMA 24–70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art is the flagship standard zoom lens of the new-generation Art zoom.
Image credit: SIGMA
These SIGMA zoom lenses are “DG,” which means they are designed to deliver the ultimate in performance on cameras with full-frame sensors. The “DN” in the name indicates that these lenses are for mirrorless cameras. Indeed, the SIGMA 24–70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art is available in Sony E-mount and L-mount.
The SIGMA 24-70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art with the SIGMA FP camera. Image credit: SIGMA
SIGMA 24–70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art Features
The name of the lens also makes clear: there is no “OS” in it, so it doesn’t feature image stabilization. The lack of lens stabilization is a pretty wise choice from SIGMA, because it allows them to reduce the overall weight/size/price of the 24-70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art. Also, most of the Full-Frame mirrorless cameras features in-body image stabilization. As a result, the lens only weighs 835 grams, whereas the DSLR version of the lens weighs 1025 grams.
The lens design consists of 19 elements in 15 groups. There are six FLD elements (low dispersion glass) and two SLD elements (special low dispersion). Also, there are three aspheric lenses to reduce axial chromatic aberration and sagittal coma aberration. There is a Super Multi-Layer Coating on the optics, as well as a Nano Porous Coating to reduce unwanted lens flares. The aperture diaphragm consists of 11 rounded blades. The minimum focusing distance is 18 cm at the wide-angle end.
Image credit: SIGMA
The lens is dust- and splash-proof, and features a zoom lock switch to prevent the lens barrel from extending unexpectedly.
Pricing and Availability
The SIGMA 24-70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art comes with a lens hood. It will be available mid-November this year. There is no information on pricing yet.
What do you think of the SIGMA 24-70mm F/2.8 DG DN Art? Do you think it pairs nicely with the SIGMA fp camera? Let us know in the comments!
Portrait photographer Miguel Quiles is back with another useful video for aspiring portrait photographers. This time, he’s put together a video outlining the five most common portrait photography mistakes that he’s seen over the years, and how he suggests that beginners avoid or fix them.
Quiles tells PetaPixel that the list is based on his personal experience “doing portfolio reviews or judging portraits in competitions.” So while these may seem pretty “basic,” they’re also incredibly common across the experience spectrum. The five mistakes are:
Missing Focus – Don’t wait until after your shoot to zoom in to 100% and realize you missed critical focus
Poor Composition – Your viewer shouldn’t have to struggle to figure out where their eyes should go
Photoshop Gymnastics – Don’t spend hours trying to fix a bad image in post; take it as a lesson that you should address poor lighting, bad styling, and other issues while shooting whenever possible.
Adding Watermarks – Quiles claims that you’ll be hard-pressed to find top photographers who use massive, distracting watermarks. He suggests embedding your info into metadata instead.
Over-Retouching – Overuse of things like Frequency Separation, Dodge and Burn, and others are some of the most common and easiest ways to ruin a great portrait.
Check out the full video to hear Quiles’ thoughts on each of these five points, how he sees these mistakes pop up most often, and what he suggests you do to avoid or fix them. Some, like the Watermarking tip, will no doubt stir up some controversy, but there’s a reason behind each of the points that he makes.
360-degree cameras cover a much larger field of view than conventional cameras, which is why a high pixel count is essential for capturing good detail. Most current consumer models max out at 4K resolution, though, with 8K video reserved for bulkier high-end models that are mostly aimed at professionals.
Chinese manufacturer Kandao is now changing this, however. Today, the company has launched QooCam 8K, which it calls the ‘first pocketable 8K 360-degree camera.’
The camera uses a pair of fisheye lenses and 1/1.7” sensors to capture stills and video; it’s also capable of 12bit Raw capture. It offers automated image stacking at Raw level for increased dynamic range and detail and can also record 4K video at 120 frames per second.
Kandao’s Super Steady electronic stabilization uses a 6-axis gyro to smooth video footage without the need for a gimbal and, according to the manufacturer, makes the QooCam 8K usable as an action cam.
A 2.4-inch OLED touchscreen lets you check shooting information, preview and playback footage and adjust parameters without connecting a smartphone. Footage can be edited and reframed in the dedicated QooCam App or QooCam Studio which include templates for those who are beginners in the world of 360-degree editing.
Additionally, the QooCam 8K can be used to live stream 360-degree video in 4K with in-camera real-time stitching. It is compatible Facebook, Youtube and other platforms. The Kandao QooCam 8K 360-degree camera is now available for pre-order on the Kandao website for 599 Euros (approximately $660). Shipping is scheduled for December 2019.
A new patent belonging to Chinese company Xiaomi has surfaced revealing a new camera design that includes a pop-up selfie camera and a rear square zoom lens. The patent was first spotted by Dutch website Let’s Go Digital, which notes that the patent was recently registered by the Hague International Design System.
The Xiaomi patent covers a mobile phone that features a vertical array of cameras on the back of the handset; the top square lens is believed to possibly be a zoom lens, whereas the lower three circles potentially include another camera, an LED flash, and a third sensor of some type.
The pop-up illustration below shows how the company will handle offering a front-facing camera that doesn’t blemish the model’s bezel-less display.
The patent was granted on August 9, about a month before XDA Developers revealed the existence of a new Xiaomi smartphone featuring a camera with 5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom. The discovery was made in the beta version of a Xiaomi software update, which itself came shortly before the official unveiling of its new Mi Note 10.
The Mi Note 10 features five cameras, including one with 50x digital zoom and one with 5x optical zoom. It’s unclear whether XDA’s discovery was ultimately pointing toward the Mi Note 10 or a future Xiaomi model, which may have been teased in the newly-published mobile phone patent.
The details uncovered in the software update indicated that the related Xiaomi phone would include 8K/30fps video recording capabilities. In that case, the combination of a newly granted patent and the beta software details make the case for there being another major Xiaomi smartphone in the pipeline, one that may be introduced in 2020.
The next SMPTE Hollywood Section meeting explores “deepfakes”, and how the emerging field of synthetic humans can be used for both entertainment and nefarious purposes.
Under the title “Digital Humans and Deepfakes: Creative Promise and Peril”, the next SMPTE Hollywood Section meeting promises to be a memorable moment everyone should attend. The Hollywood Section of SMPTE, the organization defining the future of storytelling, will examine the promise, and potential peril, of digital humans and so-called deepfakes at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 19, in Hollywood. Held in tandem with the Radio, Television, Digital Newsroom Association (RTDNA), the free event will include a panel discussion of experts in the emerging field of synthetic humans.
Deepfakes are believable human images synthesized through artificial intelligence techniques from completely real and totally non-real or “fake” elements. In Hollywood, digital humans, convincing enough to fool audiences, have been the holy grail of visual effects for decades. Both techniques are designed to trick the viewer, but, whereas digital humans are constructed to entertain, deepfakes can be used to mislead and misinform, often for non entertainment purposes.
Deepfake videos doubled the last 9 months
Everywhere you look online these days, deepfakes are present. According to an article on BBC News, “new research shows an alarming surge in the creation of so-called deepfake videos, with the number online almost doubling in the last nine months. There is also evidence that production of these videos is becoming a lucrative business.”
The trend started, apparently, when someone, back in December 2017, used deep learning technology to edit the faces of celebrities onto people in pornographic video clips. The term is used for both the technology used and the videos created, which can be anything from a funny transformation to a video used for political propaganda. The multiple examples shown in recent months reveal how far the technology has evolved, and how dangerous it can become if used for nefarious purposes.
We’re on the verge of a revolution that will mix Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and immersive experiences made possible by Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, to take us to what can well be the uncanny valley. The deepfake experiences we’ve seen until now are mostly bidimensional, but when you add VR to the equation, you get a multidimensional experience that enhances the illusion. The “holographic” promise of Star Trek may be just around the corner. I recently met Mona Lisa, smiling and waving at me, just by using my Oculus Rift S headset…
Digital humans and deepfakes
The movie-industry, that thrives on a make-believe world, is now worried about the potential peril represented by “deepfakes”. SMPTE Hollywood and the RTDNA will offer a totally real presentation on deepfakes and digital humans. The panel will describe the history of digital humans and deepfakes, the challenges involved in creating them convincingly, and if/how news and entertainment professionals can spot a deepfake.
Presenters include Chaos Group Lab head of research and development Christopher Nichols, who leads the Digital Human League, sponsor of the open source Wikihuman; Corridor Digital’s Niko Pueringer, who has produced short-form Internet content for more than a decade and is an expert in creating and detecting deepfakes, and Shruti Agarwal, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at University of California, Berkeley, who is conducting research in multimedia forensics.
Freelance journalist Debra Kaufman (USC Entertainment Technology Center, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wired, Reuters, Bloomberg American Cinematographer, International Cinematographers Guild Magazine) will moderate the discussion. Kaufman and Linda Rosner are producers of the event.
Taxi Driver starring Al Pacino
To illustrate this piece of news, we picked a few examples that are directly connected to Hollywood, from Taxi Driver starring Al Pacino to Terminator 2 starring Sylvester Stallone, or Willem Dafoe in the Coin Toss sequence in No Country for Old Men. These deepfake videos, created by Patreon author named ctrl shift face, are a good example of what is possible to achieve right now with the technology. The author is “creating entertaining deepfake videos”, which he says are “windows to parallel universes”. The videos and the behind-the-scenes on some of them might help to educate people about what “deepfakes”, but they are a frightening sign of how easy it can be to fool people… Taxi Driver with Al Pacino!?
The SMPTE Hollywood Section, November meeting takes place Tuesday, November 19, 2019. 6:30 p.m. at Hollywood American Legion Post 43, 2035 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90068. The title is “Digital Humans and Deepfakes: Creative Promise and Peril”. Follow the link to register.
Early arrivals have an extra activity: a guided tour of the historic American Legion #43, built in 1929. Tours will include the modern projection booth with 35/70 mm FILM and featuring Christie 4K DIGITAL Projection. Please indicate on EVENTBRITE your choice of a tour at 5, 5:30 or 6 pm. As always, SMPTE Hollywood Section meetings are FREE and non-members are welcome.
There are a couple of new, interesting deals for filmmakers available. We have selected the best offers of filmmaking gear from our partners’ online shops for this week – including the Panasonic LUMIX G9, S1, GH5, Sony a7 III, Nikon Z 6, Canon EOS R, Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens and more.
I went through the current deals on our partners’ websites and have selected the best offers currently available, which I think could be interesting for you. First, there are B&H offers listed for our readers based in North and South America, and then there are a couple of deals from our European partner CVP. By shopping at our partners’ stores, you are supporting cinema5D through our buy links, as we get a small affiliate commission when a purchase is completed.
Now, let’s take a look at this week’s top deals for filmmakers:
B&H and CVP: Panasonic LUMIX G9 Camera Body – $300/€81 Discount Plus Cashback, Free Accessories, Free LUMIX 25mm f/1.7 Lens, Free 3-Year Warranty
Panasonic G9 used to be “only” a great MFT mirrorless camera with a main focus on photography. Few days ago Panasonic announced new firmware update, which will equip the G9 with killer video features – same like its slightly bigger sibbling, the GH5. G9 will be able to record 10-bit video internally up to 4K 30p, 4K 60p 8-bit, new slow motion framerates in 1080p, and it will also support the paid V-log upgrade.
On top of it, there is now a time-limited deal on the G9. If you are now looking for an affordable video-oriented micro four thirds camera right now, this offer is a no-brainer. The deal is available with both our partners B&H and CVP.
B&H offers additional free accessories (SanDisk 32GB Extreme PRO SDHC UHS-I memory card, Corel PaintShop Pro 2020 ultimate license, and Ruggard Journey 24 DSLR shoulder bag).
B&H: Sony a7 III Camera Body with Accessory Kit – $200 Discount
Sony a7 III is currently considered by many as the best Sony mirrorless camera for video. Its 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor performs really well in low light and its 693-point hybrid AF system also works well for video shooting. The camera can record up to UHD 4K30p video with HLG & S-Log gamma picture profiles. For more information about the camera, go ahead and read Johnnie’s Sony a7 III review.
In this discounted set, along with the camera, you get SanDisk 32GB extreme PRO UHS-II SDHC memory card, Watson 2000mAh battery pack, Watson compact AC/DC charger for NP-FZ100 battery, and Ruggard Journey 24 DSLR shoulder bag.
B&H: Nikon Z 6 with FTZ Mount Adapter and Bag Kit – $547 Discount
Nikon Z 6 is the first full-frame mirrorless camera from Nikon – it is the “all-arounder” within the new Z system. It features 24.5MP CMOS sensor and can record UHD 4K video at up to 30fps and full HD at up to 120fps – all in H.264. The camera can also output RAW signal via HDMI, so this could be the perfect camera to use with the Ninja V to capture in ProRes RAW.
As a bonus within this accessory kit you will also get the FTZ Mount adapter to use with exsiting Nikon F lenses, Sony 32GB XQD G Series memory card, and DSLR shoulder bag.
B&H: Canon EOS R Camera Body with Accessories Kit – $500 Discount
The EOS R is the first full-frame mirrorless camera from Canon. It features the new RF lens mount, and 30.3MP CMOS sensor along with a DIGIC 8 image processor. It tops at UHD 4K30 for video recording and the sensor also facilitates Canon’s great Dual Pixel AF system – probably the best autofocus system for video right now. The camera can shoot in Canon Log gamma for higher dynamic range and it can output 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI.
This fast prime EF-Mount lens from Canon covers full-frame sensors. It offers aperture range of f/1.8 to f/22. Super Spectra coating should reduce flares and any unwanted reflections. Ring-Type Ultrasonic motor AF system should ensure quick and precise autofocus. This mid-telephoto AF prime lens was quite affordable even before the discount. Now it is a real bargain.
B&H: HyperDrive DUO USB Type-C Hub for MacBook Pro/Air – $40 Discount
The HyperDrive Duo USB Type-C Hub from HYPER converts the Thunderbolt 3 ports on MacBook Pro (2016-2019) or MacBook Air (2018 & 2019) into additional connections. The slim hub provides one HDMI port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and two USB Type-C ports to access printers, external drives, external displays, and other compatible peripherals.
The top USB Type-C port, which is closest to the HDMI port, supports 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3, 5K video output, and 100W of power delivery. The second USB Type-C port supports 5 Gb/s USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 60W of power delivery. There are also SD and microSD card slots. Please note that this hub does not support Apple’s SuperDrive and the USB ports will not charge an iPad.
This Samsung T5 Portable Solid-State Drive provides 2TB of storage capacity, sporting a typical USB interface or a reversible USB Type-C port (USB 3.1 technology transfer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s). With such a large capacity it could be perfect for long recordings with the BMPCC 4K. It features fast read speeds of up to 540 MB/s and write speeds of up to 515 MB/s. The SSD comes with one USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable and one USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable.
CVP: Panasonic LUMIX S1 Camera Body – €386 Cashback + free SIGMA MC-21 Adapter
CVP has a great offer for the Panasonic S1 camera body, currently. There is a €386 cashback bonus. Furthermore, with the S1 body purchase, you will get a free SIGMA MC-21 adapter (Sigma EF-mount lenses to L-mount).
The Panasonic S1 is a very capable full-frame mirrorless camera. It can record internally at up to 4K 60fps in 8-bit and output 4:2:2 10-bit signal externally. For more information about the camera please check our Panasonic S1 review and the revisited V-log upgrade review.
Zeiss has unveiled a new set of Supreme Prime Radiance cinema lenses, which feature a pretty interesting trick. Thanks to a new coating, they’re able to create “controlled flares” without compromising contrast or light transmission.
The Zeiss Supreme Prime Radiance lineup is made up of seven high-end cinema lenses that are based on the company’s popular Supreme Prime glass. In fact, they’re more or less identical, with the exception of the special “T*blue coating” that supposedly allows these lenses to render “a distinctive look and consistent flares without any compromises.”
According to Christophe Casenave, Product Manager for Cinema Products at ZEISS, these lenses were created in response to customers’ needs.
“When we spoke to filmmakers and industry experts, we took a close look at the appeal of flares and their unique impact on the atmosphere of a movie,” says Casenave. “We didn’t just want to reproduce the effects, but to create tools that would allow this effect to be achieved at any time and in a controlled manner, and so the T* blue coating was born.”
Flaring typically means a loss of contrast across the entire frame, and Zeiss has gone to great lengths to ensure that’s not the case with these new high-end cinema lenses. This comparison video, captured by Japanese DOP Takura Ishizaka, shows how the new Supreme Prime Radiance lenses compare to the regular Supreme Prime lineup:
There are seven focal lengths in all—21mm T1.5, 25mm T1.5, 29mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, 85mm T1.5 and 100mm T1.5—which are available exclusively as a set in either PL-mount or ARRI’s LPL-mount, and can only be ordered from “ZEISS Cinema dealers” from now until March 31st, 2020. Orders will be filled after the order period closes, with shipping expected to start in April 2020.
To learn more about these lenses, head over to the Zeiss website. And if you’re curious about how much they’ll cost, keep in mind that each of the equivalent Supreme Prime lenses cost between $20,000 and $26,000, which would put this 7-lens set close to $150K.
The Hollywood Section of SMPTE, the organization defining the future of storytelling, will examine the promise, and potential peril, of digital humans and so-called deepfakes at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, November 19, in Hollywood. Held in tandem with the Radio, Television, Digital Newsroom Association (RTDNA), the event will include a panel discussion of experts […]