This Guy Tried Using a 200-600mm Lens for Street Photography

Photographer and YouTuber Evan Ranft recently decided to try something a bit crazy. He wanted to see what would happen if he tried to use a 200-600mm lens for… street photography. And while the idea might sound silly on the face of it, you may be surprised by some of the results.

The lens in question is Sony’s new FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS, and fortunately, the video goes beyond a simple BTS that shows Ranft struggling to capture street shots with the huge telephoto zoom. As he tries out a few different ideas and compositions, he talks you through some of the challenges he ran across while using this odd setup, and offers some practical tips on how to make the combo work in a city environment.

“While ridiculous,” admits Ranft, “the results were actually very surprising because of the extreme compression you get at 600mm.”

Here are a few of the images Ranft was able to capture with this setup:

“The ultimate goal of the video was to give the viewer a fun creative idea if they ever wanted to rent a crazy lens, get out of creative block, or just to try something new,” Ranft tells PetaPixel. To that end, we think he succeeded.

Check out the full video above, and be sure to Subscribe to Ranft’s YouTube channel if you want to see more of his work. He’s been publishing some great content lately, including this in-depth iPhone 11 Pro Night Mode test, and a great editorial on how it takes hundreds of bad photos to capture one good shot.

Image credits: Photos by Evan Ranft and used with permission.

Learn How to Write a Sitcom That Sells

Learning how to write a sitcom can open your career to more opportunities and get your ideas on the small screen. But first, you have to master the sitcom structure and format.

Sitcoms are watched by billions of people across the globe.

They’re frequently the highest-rated shows on television and the hits can last over a decade with hundreds of episodes. Having a sitcom sample can open you to the world of television too. Jobs writing on hit sitcoms are long and stable. They usually have big rooms with employ teams of writers to work on jokes and story on multiple episodes at a time.

But you can’t even sniff one without a solid sitcom sample that’s mastered the structure and format of the half-hour television show. Let’s learn how to write a sitcom pilot. We will go over the structure of a pilot, how to format a TV script, and offer some general story notes and examples.

So let’s fade in on this topic and hopefully get to syndication.

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Shooting the Stars from the Most Light-Polluted Country in the World

Singapore is known to be the most light-polluted city on Earth, so it’s not exactly the go-to destination for astrophotography. But there are talented astrophotographers working on the island city-state, and this 3-minute documentary titled “Galactic Paint” is about one of them.

Made by Singapore-based documentary storyteller Ong Kah Jing of OJK Works, the film features amateur photographer Ivan Bok.

The stars may be shrouded by the city lights in a place like Singapore, but Bok overcomes this by capturing multiple hours of light over multiple nights from his low-rise balcony window and then piecing the imagery together into clear views of galactic wonders.

Here’s a selection of photos Bok has made:

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The Eagle Nebula (M16) is an emission nebula in the constellation of Serpens. At the heart of the nebula lies the famous “Pillars of Creation”, which are column-like structures with active star formation. Compared to my other narrowband images, this image has a very short total integration of only 3 hours. I’ve also experimented with a new narrowband mapping scheme using a HOO+SHO blend. Shot from my home at Toa Payoh, Singapore. APM LZOS 130 f/6 @f/4.5, Atik 16200M #astro #astronomy #astrophotography #astroimaging #nebula #stars #star #space #galaxy #telescope #deepsky #milkyway #stargazing #cluster #eaglenebula #m16 #messier #pillarsofcreation #singapore #toapayoh #supernova #hypernova #hubble #nasa

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A Celestial Rose: The Rosette Nebula is an emission nebula located in the constellation of Monoceros. As its name suggests, it bears a striking resemblance to a rose when viewed top-down. Like many other emission nebulae, it derives its strong red hue from the presence of ionised hydrogen, which are also correlated with active star formation. This image is one of the first CCD images which I ever took, and was done in a HOO narrowband bicolour palette. This was shot near my home at Toa Payoh, Singapore, although it was before I began my window astrophotography adventures. Shot with FS60C at f/6.2, ST8300M CCD camera and ZEQ25GT mount. #astro #astronomy #astrophotography #astroimaging #nebula #stars #galaxy #telescope #deepsky #milkyway #stargazing #cluster #NGC2244 #rosettenebula #rose #ccd #monoceros #singapore #toapayoh #cosmos #universe

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You can follow along with Bok’s work on his website, Twitter, and Instagram.

You will soon be able to import into Lightroom on iOS directly from external storage

Adobe has given the public a new sneak peek at a future update for Lightroom on iOS that will simplify the process of importing images into the app. As demonstrated in the above video, Adobe will enable users to directly import images from card readers into Lightroom on iOS, after which point the content is uploaded to the cloud and added to the app’s photo library.

The ‘seamless importing experience’ will arrive in a future Lightroom update starting with iOS 13.2, according to Adobe’s Tom Hogarty. The company doesn’t provide an exact release date for this update, but says that it will arrive ‘soon.’

Fuji GFX 100 Review After Using It Professionally for Three Months, Part Two: Autofocus, File Size, and Blackout

Fuji GFX 100 Review After Using It Professionally for Three Months, Part Two: Autofocus, File Size, and Blackout

This is part two of my three-part, unreasonably in-depth real world shooting review of the GFX 100 after having shot with it as my primary camera professionally for the last three months.

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Andre Hyland talks comedy and horror in ‘The Death of Dick Long’ and ‘Old Haunt’

Catching up with a hilarious multi-hyphenate at Sundance.

When I saw The Death of Dick Long at Sundance in 2019 I was blown away by how funny, relevant, and shocking it was. But I was also happily surprised to see an old friend and frequent collaborator in a starring role. Andre Hyland and I worked together on numerous projects for HBO and Comedy Central years ago, and I know that like myself, Andre came from a very DIY Los Angeles Comedy Scene background. Seeing him get this kind of spotlight at Sundance was extremely exciting.

Later at the festival, we made some time to speak about how he built his career from DIY roots to starring in A24’s The Death of Dick Long and writing/directing his own short Old Haunt, an official Sundance selection, and Vimeo Staff Pick.

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Sneak Peek: Adobe to Add ‘Seamless’ Import into Lightroom on iOS

Adobe has released a new “speak peek” of an upcoming feature that many photographers have been begging for ever since Lightroom debuted on iOS: seamless photo import into Lightroom from a mobile device.

This update, demoed above by Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty, turns a somewhat cumbersome two-step process—add files to camera roll, then import into Lightroom—into a seamless one-step process that should make it that much easier to blend your tablet and desktop workflows together into one, cohesive whole.

Simply plug a drive or card reader directly into your iOS device, and the dialog box below will show up directly in Lightroom Mobile:

From there, you can import individual RAW files or the whole card, just like you would on your computer. And speaking of computers, since Lightroom CC is cloud-based, that import from your iPad or iPhone will seamlessly transfer over to your desktop workflow.

According to Hogarty, the new feature should ship “by the end of the year.” Check out the demo above to see how it works, and let us know what you think in the comments. As Adobe becomes more mobile-friendly, does that make it any more tempting to stick with the brand’s tools (and its subscription model) or are you just… done?

Curiosity: Sony photographer Chris Burkard presents the newly announced 16 inch Apple Macbook PRO

Today Apple announced the new 16 inch Macbook PRO (specs here). Small curiosity: Sony photographer Chris Burkard is featured inside the official Apple video: Here is the video: Thanks Niccollas for spotting this!  

The post Curiosity: Sony photographer Chris Burkard presents the newly announced 16 inch Apple Macbook PRO appeared first on sonyalpharumors.

The New 16″ MacBook Pro Is Here (With a Great New Keyboard)

The rumors were true! Apple was working on a new 16″ MacBook Pro and now it’s here.

Apple has officially unveiled the new 16″ MacBook Pro, with a starting price of $2399. The fully-loaded model costs $6099 (minus the Apple software add-ons).

This new 16″ model, which seems to have phased out the 15″ model (the 15-incher doesn’t appear on Apple’s website anymore), features an all-new 16″ Retina display, up to 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor with up to 5.0GHz Turbo Boost, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics card, an SSD of up to 8TB, up to 64GB of memory, as well as four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports.

Take a look at Apple’s promo video:

The big news here is that Apple has given the new 16″ model a completely redesigned Magic Keyboard, which was a major source of displeasure among longtime MacBook users. According to Apple, the new keyboard has a “refined” scissor mechanism with 1mm travel, allowing for quieter typing and better overall feel.

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Facebook iOS App ‘Bug’ Quietly Turns on Phone Camera in Background

Heads up: your Facebook iOS app may contain a “bug” that turns on your phone’s camera without you asking it to as you’re scrolling through content in the app.

CNET reports that some people have been taking to social media to complain that Facebook’s app quietly activates their phones cameras in the background and switches to the camera unexpectedly. The earliest report seems to be from November 2nd:

The camera activation seems to be happening while users scroll through videos or swipe through photos.

“After people clicked on the video to full screen, returning it back to normal would create a bug in which Facebook’s mobile layout was slightly shifted to the right,” CNET reports, stating that it was able to replicate the issue. “With the open space on the left, you could now see the phone’s camera activated in the background.”

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, responded to concerned users on Twitter yesterday by stating that this seems to be a new “bug” that was introduced in v.246 last week. He also states that although the camera is being quietly turned on, Facebook isn’t secretly shooting photos or videos and saving that content.

Facebook later released an official statement addressing the issue:

We recently discovered that version 244 of the Facebook iOS app would incorrectly launch in landscape mode. In fixing that issue last week in v246 (launched on November 8th) we inadvertently introduced a bug that caused the app to partially navigate to the camera screen adjacent to News Feed when users tapped on photos. We have seen no evidence of photos or videos being uploaded due to this bug. We’re submitting the fix for this to Apple today.

A look at the version history for the Facebook app in the Apple App Store shows that version 247 was indeed released yesterday with “bug fixes,” and one of those fixes presumably removes this camera issue.

Facebook has had its fair share of privacy controversies in recent times, and bugs like this certainly don’t help the company in its efforts to improve its image. This latest issue does seem like a simple bug, but if you’re concerned about it, make sure you’re running version 247 that was released yesterday.

MEDIAPRO leads across the audiovisual value chain with help from Signiant Media Shuttle

MEDIAPRO is a leading independent production company in Europe’s audiovisual market. Offering a full slate of technical and creative services, our portfolio includes everything from content production, to post production, to media and digital asset management, to the acquisition of sports TV rights, and the distribution and broadcast of television channels. We currently have 58 offices spread across 36 countries on four continents.

File transfer that is fast, reliable and secure is essential to our operations, and our success. Whether we are producing and distributing live coverage of top-tier sporting events, like the Pan American Games, or creating award-winning cinema and television, our geographically — distributed employees and customers overwhelmingly send files digitally. Production and post-production services regularly send AVC, Apple ProRes, and XDCAM files in bundles that exceed 300 GB in size. We also broadcast from 17 television channels that all count on the timely delivery of content via file transfer.

Getting on the Shuttle

Signiant Media Shuttle provides us an ideal file acceleration SaaS solution for our business needs. Media Shuttle’s Send, Share and Submit portals are accessible on any web browser — providing a simple means for thousands of our professionals and clients to access and deliver content from anywhere in the internet-connected world. These accessible and intuitive portals allow us to send files of all kinds to technicians, marketing personnel, production assistants, etc., and there is never a problem in understanding how the system works.

MEDIAPRO was able to move away from FTP distribution in favor of Media Shuttle’s high-speed transport mechanism.

Not only is Media Shuttle simple to learn and use, the application also eases the burden on our IT staff by allowing them to delegate portal administration rights to another user. This designated portal administrator can add and remove users, monitor content flow, enable features, and change the portal design. This ensures that our IT department maintains control of network and storage settings while removing the need for them to spend time managing portals. Using Media Shuttle, it’s easy to manage transfers, configure portals, upload and download material — always independently of the IT guys.

Before moving to Media Shuttle, we distributed content by FTP. That protocol’s limitations made long transfer time lapses and interruptions a constant issue of concern in our day-to-day operations. In comparison, Signiant’s acceleration maintains a consistent level of performance when transferring large files, even over great distances. The software’s high-speed, intelligent transport mechanism and network optimization allow the use of all available bandwidth, and its checkpoint restart capability ensures that files transmit reliably when connection is restored after a network interruption.

Instilling confidence

At MEDIAPRO, we also recognize Signiant’s responsiveness to concerns we may have. We particularly appreciate Signiant always working on improving the system and updating us on any new developments. It shows foresight, competitiveness and ambition. They care about us and anticipate our needs.

Media Shuttle and its portal system has helped our clients feel confident about the delivery and arrival of their content. We never have to cancel a show due to a transfer problem. Media Shuttle’s speed and reliability ensures that MEDIAPRO can keep fans cheering.


Sponsored by Signiant

Signiant’s enterprise software provides the world’s top content creators and distributors with fast, reliable, secure access to large media files, regardless of physical storage type or location. By enabling authorized people and processes to seamlessly exchange valuable content – within and between enterprises – Signiant connects the global media supply chain. For more information, please visit

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ADG 2020: Jack Johnson To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

The At Directors Guild (DG, IATSE Local 800) has announced that Jack Johnson, , best known for his work on films such as Edward Scissorhands, Toys and Jurassic Park III, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illustrators and Matte Artists (IMG) Council at the 24th Annual “Excellence in Production Design” Awards. The 2020 ADG Awards will be held at the InterContinental Los […]

The post ADG 2020: Jack Johnson To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award appeared first on Below the Line.

How to Improve the Performance of Your Lenses With an Autofocus Microadjustment

How to Improve the Performance of Your Lenses With an Autofocus Microadjustment

Given the way DSLRs work, it is sometimes the case that your lenses will need what is known as an “autofocus microadjustment.” This excellent video will show you how to perform one to improve your lenses’ autofocus performance.

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MIDWAY: Derek Spears (VFX Supervisor), Tefft Smith II (Head of Visualization) & Phi Van Le (VFX Producer) – Pixomondo

The team of Pixomondo composed of Derek Spears (VFX Supervisor), Tefft Smith II (Head of Visualization) and Phi Van Le (VFX Producer) talk about their work on MIDWAY:

How did you and Pixomondo get involved on this show?
Tefft Smith II // I was actually hired by Pixomondo to advise on the pitch for the Previs and Postvis for MIDWAY. I started at Pixomondo when we won the Previs with the test we did for Roland, showing the benefits of Previs and how far we could push the quality.

How was the collaboration with director Roland Emmerich and Overall VFX Supervisor Peter G. Travers?
Tefft Smith II // We met with Roland right at the beginning. We went over all the then-planned sequences and determined what his visual visions were. He was very hands on, involved in every step. We even had a team set up at Centropolis so that Roland had day-to-day contact with us on each sequence. We had several sequences going on simultaneously, with two to three reviews every week to go over them and address all of Roland’s and the other’s notes. Another amazing thing was that Roland welcomed our input and creative suggestions. He had a clear vision of what he wanted this film to be, but the great thing was that he was always open-minded and seeking suggestions to make it the best it could be, consistent with his vision.

Phi Van Le // We were fortunate enough to have access to both Roland and Pete for most of the process. It’s rare to have almost daily feedback from a director in any project but Roland made sure he was available to help and guide us along the way. It also helped that Centropolis and Pixomondo are just located minutes away from each other so we had weekly in person visits which helped tremendously.

What was their expectations and approach about the visual effects?
Derek Spears // The expectation was as much physical and historical accuracy as we could attain while simultaneously creating and exciting cinematic experience.

Tefft Smith II // One of the main reasons why Pixomondo was brought on was because we were able to take the film sequences through the entire pipeline. We started in Previs with all the planned CG shots and animations and were able to carry them on into final renders. We worked hand in hand with Sebastian Butenberg (Pixomondo’s Animation Supervisor) on all our shots. Even though Previs is done in a fast, relatively rough manner in order to plan out how best to tell the story, it is an excellent starting point for Sebastian and his team to take it the next level of sophistication. We also planned all our shots so that the actors in the studio or on location knew what the CG was, with sufficient technical accuracy to do the best job as they were filmed. We had access to all the specs of the planes and sets, so that we could use techvis to help Roland see how certain complex shots needed to be filmed.

How did you split the work amongst the Pixomondo offices?
Derek Spears // We tried to split along lines that created stand-alone work. In order to stay efficient, we tried to eliminate overlap. Obviously, assets were going to be shared, as well as some R&D. However, we found clean breaks so that sequences did not depend on each other for continuity could be split to different facilities. That way all of our interdependencies were front loaded and allowed facilities to get into shot production without waiting.

Phi Van Le // We did our best to split the work by assets and ensure that certain offices became “experts” with a particular element. Because MIDWAY had a lot of sequences with similar assets, this was a little bit of a challenge.

What are the sequences made by Pixomondo?
Derek Spears // Our most significant sequences were the opening scene introducing Best and the Enterprise with his initial landing and the Enterprise reveal. We also had smaller sequences with Dickinson’s return to Hawaii and the search for carriers after the Pearl Harbor attack. Our other major sequences were the attack on Midway island, Midway Island’s counter-attack, the sinking of the Kaga and the Akagi, and McClusky’s dogfight on the way back to Enterprise. We also did quite a bit of work on the deck of the enterprise as well as a few deck shots of the Japanese carriers during the attack.

Tefft Smith II // Visualization handled 49 different sequences that appear in the final film. We were charged with doing the climatic, final attack scene of the Midway movie, where Best attacks and then takes out the Japanese aircraft carrier, Akagi, and is able to escape away, avoiding the hail of gun fire. Roland had used storyboards on a few key sequences, before we came aboard. This gave us a great start on our initial shot composition and edits. We were thus able to find the intense pace and complicated rhythm of each of the battles.

Can you elaborate about the previs work?
Tefft Smith II // As mentioned, we were privileged to work so closely with Roland in conceptualizing the sequences we were responsible for. We had 4 teams working on the 49 sequences: Between myself and Nate Hopkins we oversaw 3 teams in LA and 1 at Roland’s Studio, Centropolis. The key factor was having the Previs stream all the way to the finals. Our goal was to solve the challenge of telling the story as Roland envisioned it for the battle sequences, in Previs, so that once Roland approved it, it could go straight into layout, final animation, render and comp. We worked for over a year with Roland on every shot and sequence until he was satisfied that it was ready to shoot for the final picture. Since we had several sequences going on at once, we had our in-house editor, William Appleby, with us, full time. Will worked with Roland on each of the sequences to make sure they were what Roland wanted. On average, we reviewed 6 full edits each week. Not only were we refining each shot with Roland, Will was also working with Roland on the edits. Each aspect contributed to realizing the vision Roland had for telling the decisive Midway battle story. Once we had sequences in a good place, we would then turn them over to Techvis to make sure we had all the technical data Roland would need in order to shoot the scene, for real. This was really important when there were actors that needed to be in the shots. This also helped Roland fit certain sequences into his budget. We were able to preview different angles that allowed certain shots to be done in CG, without having to shoot with the actors. The final step was, after they shot principal photography, we were able to Postvis a few sequences that needed to have fast temp animation and effects added in order to lock down parts of the edit.

Where were the various sequences filmed?
Derek Spears // Midway Island was filmed in Hawaii. All of the carrier deck work was shot on stage in Montreal, as was the cockpit photography. All aerial battles and exterior ship shots are entirely digital.

Can you explain in detail about the creation of the various planes and ships?
Derek Spears // We based everything on historical reference. We even went as far as to research which ships were in the escort fleet surrounding the carriers and their disposition. We then built the classes of ships that matched those escorts and used those as the basis of the fleet. For the Enterprise, we had to build two different versions. For full CG shots, we built a period accurate version that reflected the set dressing and armament decisions made by the Art Department. Dues to size restrictions on the stage, the practical enterprise deck built was slightly narrower in order to fit on stage. We built a separate set extension version that was scaled to match the stage version.

Can you elaborate about the planes animations?
Derek Spears // Bot myself and Sebastian Butenberg are pilots. We paid particular attention to the flight dynamics (particularly Sebastian), even how the control surfaces act to cause the movement of the aircraft. Grounding it in reality was our best chance to get Roland to final shots and be happy with them.

Tefft Smith II // We spent a lot of time researching and discussing with pilots about the planes and air battle strategies that are used in “dogfights.” Sebastian Butenberg, who is also a pilot, and I went over in detail what was possible and what did not make realistic sense. I always started with Roland’s initial ideas, then we would create the shots and camera angles that best matched his vision for the story. From there, we refined everything to make it as intense, exciting and real as possible. After we had something that felt right, Sebastian and I would go over where we needed to pull back in order to make it technically realistic, given the true limitations of the types of airplanes we were animating. We then presented it to Roland explaining why we did what we did. Roland was always willing to listen as he wanted to have the film be as realistic as it could be and yet tell the intense and important story of the Battle of Midway that he wanted to portray. Usually this involved an exploration of where and what we could do to push the boundaries. The process worked great, as I feel that we achieved the objective of showing how intense and action packed the battles were, in a technically realistic way.

What kind of references and indications did you received for the planes animations?
Tefft Smith II // When we started we did a lot of research on YouTube and history books. That said, The Fighting Lady was one film that Roland constantly referred to and it served as our principal guide.

How did you handle the lighting challenge?
Derek Spears // Lighting is an important aspect to storytelling. How you light can help set a mood or tone in a scene. It is important to understand that continuity was secondary to beautiful lighting design. Roland loves dramatic lighting, most shots are 3/4 backlit. Water especially responded well to backlight, giving glitter and dramatic highlights.

Can you tell us more about the creation of the POV shots?
Tefft Smith II // This was another way for Roland to figure out what camera angles worked best. Once we had all the details of the Dauntless we were to place cameras all throughout the plane and give Roland hundreds of options. They consisted of locations on the plane and in the cockpit, as well as all kinds of lenses. After we found the right mix, we started to assemble into the edit and make sure they were used in the right locations. Roland had a clear understanding of when and what he wanted and, since we had the luxury to change locations and lenses so quickly in Previs, he could test as many as he wanted out.

Can you explain in detail about the creation of the various FX elements?
Derek Spears // We had multiple different types of effects elements. Where possible, we tried to sim once at high resolution and fidelity and then render it with the appropriate camera. For instance, the flak had a few different base sims that we would rotate and mix to make it look like hundreds of different bursts. This was also true of water hits, splashes that would occur when ordnance hit the water. Our team ran several different simulations that could be placed in shot and re-used. The large explosion on the Akagi was simulated once by our Toronto team and used again on the Kaga. Because the explosion was rich in detail, just re-orientating would make it appear like a different explosion.

How did you create the ocean?
Derek Spears // A combination of simulated Ocean in Houdini and an Arnold shader for distant shots. We also did quite a bit of simulation for wakes and white water from ship interaction. Splashes from impacts of aircraft and ordinance also required high resolution fluid sims, with addition of particles and volumes to approximate spray. Our Vancouver team laid the groundwork for it, and it was picked up and expanded on by other teams, especially in some of the big shots done in Stuttgart.

The Battle of Midway involving a massive numbers of elements. How did you prevent your render farm to do not burn?
Derek Spears // Who says it didn’t burn? 🙂 We tried to re-use simulations as much as possible in order to concentrate on rendering instead of re-simulating for every shot.

Which sequence or shot was the most challenging?
Derek Spears // A lot of the carrier battle was very challenging. Everything from the flak, to the ocean, to the explosion were very challenging both technically and artistically. One of the unexpected challenges was finding a look for the straight down water shots. It turns out that water straight down is not very interesting and tends to look either boring or CG in real life. Another big challenge was the opening Enterprise shot. We go very close to the Ocean, the wake, the ship and the digital doubles running on the deck. It was also exceptionally long.

Tefft Smith II // Overall the biggest challenge was trying to find a way to show exciting, action packed aircraft maneuvers with planes that could not preform many of the maneuvers that current viewers are used to seeing from more modern jet fighters. This is a Roland Emmerich film and we wanted to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats. We believe we achieved that.

Phi Van Le // One of our dive bombing sequences was the most challenging in my opinion. That sequence went through many different previs and edit changes that it limited the amount of time we had with that particular sequence. So to complete that sequence with roughly the same deadline was quite challenging.

Is there something specific that gives you some really short nights?
Phi Van Le // Nothing specific. The deadline and amount of shots was definitely challenging and required a little more hours within a day

What is your favorite shot or sequence?
Derek Spears // I like pieces of many of them. I like the introductory landing of Best on Enterprise because I think it does a great job of story-telling without being to effects-forward. I like the Marshall Islands sequence for some beautiful work with the aircraft and the wonderful environments. And of course I like the attack sequences for the FX and spectacle.

Tefft Smith II // Working on the opening sequence where Best and Murray are practicing landing and trying different technical difficulties. We settled on one where Best cuts the engine and he needs to slip the plane in order to slow the plane down to land. So later during the sequence where Best is flying through Hawaii’s mountain range, we found a chance to use that idea again. When Best is trying to escape a Zero in a vertical rise, he decides to cut the engine in order to drop and avoid a direct hit from the Zero. I loved this because, after long talks with Sebastian and other pilots, we learned that this actually happens. The whole sequence was a blast to work on because, with the landscapes, we were able to push the animation and make it exciting and realistic.

What is your best memory on this show?
Tefft Smith II // I remember a time at Centropolis when Roland just got back into town and decided to pop by the office. When he saw us there working, he was so excited that he right then wanted to sit with us and work on his film. For me to see a director of his caliber get as excited as he was about his film made me realize just how passionate he is about his work.  After all his films and success, he still loves making films. It was really cool to witness that first hand and be a part of collaborating creatively with Roland.

How long have you worked on this show?
Derek Spears // Just under a year.

Tefft Smith II // I worked on the film for about a year and a half. I started on the film November 2017 and turned our last Postvis shot in on April 2019.

Phi Van Le // I was on the show for about a year.

What’s the VFX shot count?
Tefft Smith II // Our Visualization (Previs, Postvis and Techvis) count was 49 sequences and roughly 820 shots.

Phi Van Le // Pixomondo worked on roughly 457 shots for MIDWAY.

What was the size of your team?
Tefft Smith II // We had four teams, each one with a team size from 3 to 9. The most artists working on the show at once was 32.

Phi Van Le // We had over 350 people working on the show from all our offices. 

What is your next project?
Derek Spears // Vacation!

Tefft Smith II // We have a number of projects going on in the Visualization department right now. 2020 is going to be an extremely busy year with the expansion of our teams and space. I can’t say exactly what I’m on right now but it will be airing on one of the network streaming services beginning of next year.

Phi Van Le // I am currently working on an HBO series that is coming back for its third season.

A big thanks for your time.

Pixomondo: Official website of Pixomondo.

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2019

The post MIDWAY: Derek Spears (VFX Supervisor), Tefft Smith II (Head of Visualization) & Phi Van Le (VFX Producer) – Pixomondo appeared first on The Art of VFX.

Apple Unveils 16-inch MacBook Pro with Up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of Storage

The long-awaited, long-rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro has officially landed, and it promises to fix all of the gripes that users had with the previous flagship 15-inch MacBook Pros while increasing performance by “up to 80%” for designers, photographers, video editors, and everyone in between.

The point of the 16-inch MacBook Pro seems to be two-fold.

First, Apple wanted to address many of the complaints that users have voiced about the previous flagship 15-inch models: a poorly designed keyboard that broke easily, no escape key, insufficient cooling, and maximum specs that had fallen behind the competition. Second, Apple wanted to try and pack in as much power as possible, putting the top-of-the-line specs of this machine into a league of their own, at least compared to every other Apple notebook ever made.

We haven’t yet had the chance to test this computer ourselves (stay tuned for that…) but Apple seems to have succeeded on both counts.

As the name implies, the latest flagship MacBook Pro comes with a 16-inch Retina Display, making it the largest Retina display ever put in a notebook. With a resolution of 3072×1920 for a pixel density of 226 ppi, brightness of 500 nits, and P3 wide color gamut, it promises to deliver the performance pros have come to expect from Apple’s displays.

The other major improvement to the surface of the computer is the keyboard, which has ditched the much-maligned butterfly mechanism for a specially-designed, ultra-thin scissor mechanism Apple is calling “the new Magic Keyboard.” These keys promise to be everything the old mechanism wasn’t, offering 1mm of key travel, a “stable key feel” and, for those of us who hated these omissions before, an actual physical ESC key and inverted-T arrangement for the arrow keys.

In terms of I/O, the computer comes with four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connections and a headphone jack.

Cosmetic tweaks and improvements aside, the 16-inch MBP is all about performance, and if you have the cash to spend, this computer can be specced out to be far more powerful than any Apple notebook that came before it.

The CPU options include the latest 9th-Gen Intel Core i7 and i9 processors, all the way up to the 2.4GHz 8‑core Core i9 with a Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz; RAM starts at 16GB and can be configured all the way up to 64GB; storage starts at 512GB and can be configured all the way up to a staggering 8TB; and AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics with up to 8GB of onboard storage. The graphics are particularly interesting, as Apple is calling these GPUs “the first 7nm mobile discrete GPUs for pro users.”

All of this is powered by a 100Wh battery—the largest ever in a MacBook—that promises 11 hours of unplugged “web browsing or Apple TV app video playback.” And the improved cooling system features larger fans and a larger heat sink that promises “significantly more heat dissipation,” allowing the computer to “sustain up to 12 more watts of power during intensive workloads” compared to the previous 15-inch models.

“Our pro customers tell us they want their next MacBook Pro to have a larger display, blazing-fast performance, the biggest battery possible, the best notebook keyboard ever, awesome speakers and massive amounts of storage, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers all of that and more,” says Apple senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing, Tom Boger. “With its brilliant 16-inch Retina display, 8-core processors, next-gen pro graphics, even better thermal design, new Magic Keyboard, six-speaker sound system, 100Wh battery, up to 8TB of storage and 64GB of fast memory, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the world’s best pro notebook.”

The “world’s best pro notebook.” We know a few PC brands that’ll have something to say about that, but one thing’s for sure, Apple has made their flagship MacBook Pro significantly more competitive once again.

Here’s Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro promo video that features several creatives—including adventure photographer Chris Burkard–talking about creativity and how the new Apple notebook fits into their professional workflows:

To find out more about the 16-inch MacBook Pro or configure your own, head over to the Apple website. Just be ready for a little sticker shock…

The base configuration—with a 2.6GHz 6-core 9th Gen Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, and a Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory—will cost you $2400. Specced all the way up with a 2.4GHz 8‑core 9th Gen Core i9 (Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz), 64GB of RAM, 8TB or SSD storage, and a Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6 memory onboard, you’ll be paying a whopping $6,100!

Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS II Arriving Nov. 22 in 35mm and 120 Formats

Fujifilm killed off its beloved ACROS 100 black-and-white film last year and then surprised photographers earlier this year by announcing a reboot of the line. Now that return is nigh: NEOPAN 100 ACROS II will be landing on November 22nd in both 35mm and 120 formats.

The company announced the news today on in both Japan and the US, stating that the new NEOPAN 100 ACROS II will boast the highest level of granularity and contrast found in an ISO 100 black-and-white film thanks to Fujifilm’s proprietary “Super Fine-Σ Particle Technology.”

“Fujifilm has achieved this level of image quality at high-sensitivity due to its longstanding history of film development and manufacturing, which has allowed it to precisely control the size and composition of silver halide grains contained in photographic film, contributing to the final image quality and aesthetic in prints,” the company states.

The fine texture detail of the film will make it a good choice for genres like landscapes, portraits, architecture, and even astrophotography. There will also be slightly higher contrast gradation in highlight areas compared to the original ACROS.

While Fujifilm originally discontinued NEOPAN because of plummeting demand, it’s a resurgence of interest from young photographers that has brought hope back to film photography.

“Due to recent interest from millennials and GenZs, who have become the newest film enthusiasts, Fujifilm developed a plan to revive black-and-white film to meet new market demands,” Fujifilm says.

Fujifilm will be launching NEOPAN 100 ACROS II in Japan first on November 22nd, but it’s aiming to have the film hit store shelves in the US and other markets around the world in early 2020.

The 35mm film rolls will have 36 exposures while the 120 format rolls will have 12, and Emulsive reports that both formats will cost ¥1,040 (or around $9.50) per roll in Japan. US pricing has yet to be announced.

Fujifilm confirms release date for Neopan 100 ACROS II emulsion for 35mm, 120 formats

In April 2018, Fujifilm announced it was discontinuing its much-loved Acros 100 film stock. Now, more than a year later, Fujifilm has announced that its new Neopan 100 ACROS II film, first teased in June of this year, will start shipping in Japan on November 22, 2019 in 35mm and 120 formats.

According to Fujifilm, the newly developed Neopan 100 ACROS emulsion features the company’s ‘Super Fine particle technology,’ which better retains highlight gradation and improves overall sharpness that ‘emphasizes the contour of the subject.’

Fujifilm hasn’t shared any pricing information, but as noted by Emulsive, Rakuten Japan has both the 35mm and 120 versions listed for 1,045 Japanese yen, which equates to roughly $9.50 a roll.

Press Release (machine-translated):

Black and white film “Neopan 100 ACROS (Across) II

Fujifilm Co., Ltd. (President: Kenji Sukeno) realizes ultra-high image quality with world-class graininess and three-dimensional gradation reproduction, and is suitable for shooting a wide range of fields, and is suitable for photographing a wide range of fields, and is suitable for photography in a wide range of fields, and is used by “Neopan 100 ACROSII” (hereinafter referred to as “Acros II”). will be released in Japan on November 22, 2019. “Across II” will be available in two types: 35mm size and browny size.

The Neopan 100 ACROSII, which will be released this time, uses our unique technologies, including “Super Fine-Particle Technology” As a black and white film with sensitivity ISO100, we have achieved a three-dimensional gradation reproduction that can clearly express the world’s highest level of graininess and the tint of the subject, and excellent sharpness. By precisely controlling the structure of the silver halide to form an image by capturing light and making it highly sensitive, and by efficiently placing the photosensitive particles of different sizes in the light receiving layer of the film […] It is possible to describe finely down to the details of the texture. We respond to the needs of photography in a wide range of fields, from landscape and mountain photography, portraits, product photography, architectural photography, to astronomical and night view photography of long exposure photography.

In the future, we plan to hold events and photo exhibitions where you can experience the charm of “Across II” where you can enjoy deep and quaint expressions. We will also consider overseas sales.

As a leading company in the imaging field, Fujifilm will continue to provide better products and services in response to diversifying customer needs in a wide range of fields, from analog to digital. The power and splendor of a single photograph will be conveyed.

A technology that contributes to high print quality by precisely controlling the size and composition of silver halide particles contained in photographic films, which achieves both sensitivity and excellent graininess.

A layer that is photosensitive to the light entered from the lens during shooting and forms a black-and-white silver image during the development process.


1. Product Name
Neopan 100 ACROSII
35mm size (36 shots) / Brownie size (12 shots)
2. Release Date
November 22, 2019
3. Price
Open price

Features of “Neopan 100 ACROSII”

  • By adopting our proprietary “Super Fine-Particle Technology”, we have achieved the world’s highest level of graininess as a black and white film with sensitivity ISO100.
  • Compared to our conventional product “Neopan 100 ACROS”, the gradation of the highlight part is designed with a sharp, three-dimensional gradation reproduction is possible.
  • The world’s highest level of sharpness enables the contours of the subject to be described.

History of the release

We ended sales of black and white film in autumn 2018 due to a decrease in demand for black and white film and difficulty in obtaining raw materials that are essential for production. However, many people who like photography with the unique texture of black and white film have received many voices that want us to continue selling black and white film, so we have been considering re-opening sales from all angles. In addition, we have been able to develop and sell the black and white film “Across II” through research on alternatives to raw materials that have become difficult to obtain and a drastic review of the manufacturing process tailored to new raw materials.

Shooting Street Photography With a Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens

Shooting Street Photography With a Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens

Most street photographers prefer wide angle or normal focal length lenses for shooting, but of course, that does not mean you can’t ever shoot with longer lenses. This fun video follows a photographer as he shoots with a super-telephoto zoom lens for street photography.

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