Contender: Captain Marvel Visual Effects

With Christopher Townsend as overall visual effects supervisor and Damien Carr as overall effects producer, 15 separate visual effects vendors brought Captain Marvel to life. “The way it starts is with the script,” said Marvel Studios’ additional visual effects supervisor Janelle Croshaw Ralla. “You start to break it down and realize how many thousands of […]

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Inside the Look of 1917 by DP Roger Deakins

1917 is Sam Mendes’ latest feature film shot by famous DP Roger Deakins, which will be available worldwide next week. Hurlbut Academy has just released an impressive BTS/analysis video talking about the look and cinematography of this “one-shot” film. Let’s take a closer look at it!

1917 – The Movie

After more than four years off-camera, Sam Mendes’ latest movie “1917” will be released worldwide next week. The film already won Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director during the Golden Globes, beyond favorites The Irishman and Marriage Story, both from Netflix. The director of “American Beauty” and “Skyfall” is back with an epic war film that takes place during the first World War in northern France.


1917 follows two young British soldiers, Schofield and Blake. Their mission is to hand-deliver a message to another British regiment. The message is telling the other regiment to abort the assault against the German forces, which is a trap that is supposed to happen the next day. The problem is, they will have to go across the enemy territory, and Blake’s brother is part of the regiment they have to save.

The plot of this story is in the middle of the action, and Sam Mendes had the idea to shoot it as a “oner,” aka as one single take. Mendes had this idea by watching his son play video games; 1917 follows two soldiers, and he wanted the audience to feel every breath and every footstep of the characters.

Historical films are technically challenging for every department on a film set, especially set design, wardrobe, art direction, makeup, and so on. To make the impossible possible, Mendes called – for the fourth time – Roger Deakins to be the DP.


1917 – Pre-Production

Making a two-hours long feature film that is supposed to look like the camera never stopped, without any cuts, can seem impossible. In this beautiful video above by Hurlbut Academy, they analyzed every technical aspect that made this film possible.


As you can see, to shoot a film like 1917 you need a lot of pre-production work. Production designer Dennis Gassner built models of the entire set so everyone in the team could sync up with the vision of Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins. This is useful so they could visualize the actor’s positions but also camera movements and lighting. That way, the team could adjust the length of every street and trench before the shoot. On a multi-million dollar film set, you can’t improvise as much – unless you follow the plan first and still have room to “let it flow”.


Image credit: Stabileye

1917 – Camera and Lenses

If you ever shot a one-take project before, you know that rehearsals are crucial. You need everybody on set to be perfectly on sync with the camera, may it be the actors, technicians, explosions and so on. To achieve such shots, Deakins and the team mounted the camera on two types of stabilizers: a 3-axis gimbal called the Stabileye and a 5-axis stabilizer, the ARRI Trinity. For the shots that were impossible to do by a camera operator, they mounted the Stabileye onto various cable-cam, Technocrane, and moving vehicles.


The ARRI Alexa LF mounted on the ARRI Trinity.

To shoot 1917, they chose the ARRI Alexa Mini LF, the Full-Frame version of the ARRI Alexa Mini, which is one of “the smallest camera he ever used,” according to Deakins. Lens-wise, the entire film was shot on ARRI Signature Primes, including the 35mm, 40mm, and 47mm.


1917 – Lighting and Editing

Also, one of the problems Deakins faced early is how to light such a huge set where the camera has to see 360 degrees around? Well, you can’t, and they relied on overcast weather for day exterior sequences. If you want a visual continuity between the scenes, the weather has to stay identical. This means there will be days without shooting while you are waiting for the (right) clouds.


But for night exterior scenes, this is another story. The mood of the town sequence looks stunning, between a dream, nightmare, and reality. To light these scenes, Deakins used what looks like some fireworks attached to wires. Then, the light would fly in the sky to illuminate the actors and the set.

Another stunning sequence is the burning church. Roger Deakins and his team rigged two thousand 1K light fixtures all around the building to illuminate the scene. Later in post-production, they added fire VFX.

Talking about post-production, the editor Lee Smith was present during the shoot to assemble each scene during the night so the team could move on the next day. Doing the edit while you are shooting is very challenging because you have to choose the perfect shot and make the right choice directly on set. Indeed, the take you choose influence the next days of shooting. The editing looks unusual because props hide the cuts, and I’m curious to see the entire film to discover more about it.

What do you think of this BTS/look at the cinematography of 1917? Did you already see the film? Do you want us to make more behind-the-scenes articles like that? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Inside the Look of 1917 by DP Roger Deakins appeared first on cinema5D.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

Canon has been showing a small range of concept cameras for a couple of years now at various shows. One of them, the clip-on Canon IVY REC actually became a reality, following a crowdfunding campaign. The company doesn’t say too much about these concepts officially, but uses shows like CES to get feedback and gauge interest in these unconventional products aimed at a younger, more active, less enthusiast marketplace.

At this years’ CES show in Las Vegas we took a look at Canon’s current range of concept cameras. Click through for more details.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

First up is a pair of ‘wearable’ cameras. A dual-lens model (shown here with a blank plate where the lenses would be: it’s about the same size as a large divers or GPS watch) that would feature twin medium-wide and medium-tele focal lengths, similar to options provided by many modern smartphones. The camera can be attached to whatever you want: from your wrist like a watch, to the strap of a backpack, or even some existing structure (Canon suggests a tent).

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

The second of the two models features a 180-degree lens, making it suitable for capturing point-of-view video and stills of activities like snowboarding or skateboarding. The idea with both cameras is to ‘free’ the user from bulky equipment, straps or the need for additional camera supports. Or to avoid handling (and risking the safety of) your phone.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

The second concept is a single camera with a modular lens system capable of tele, wide and closeup imaging. It’s hard to tell scale from this photograph but the camera is about 13 cm (5″) long. As such, like the other concepts, it’s reasonable to assume a smartphone-sized sensor.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

This rough working prototype demonstrates the basic concept. In its normal configuration, the lens module is unfolded from the body like the blade of a pocket knife, in which position it offers a wide-angle field of view. Note the joins in the middle of the ‘blade’ section: they’re key to the camera’s other functions…

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

With the first lens module removed (they’re attached via magnets) the lens is converted into an extreme macro, capable of very closeup imaging.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

And with both removable lens modules unclipped, the lens becomes a telephoto.

Of all the concept cameras being displayed by Canon at CES, this one seems the least practical for casual photographers, but for remote use or evolved into some kind of home security solution, it could work.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

This is a camera we’ve seen before, but last time we clapped eyes on it it was at a much earlier stage of development. This is a compact, variable telephoto stills / video camera which puts extreme telephoto performance literally in your pocket. The user can switch from 100mm, 200mm and 400mm equivalent focal lengths using the zoom button, and images are captured with a full press of the larger pill-shaped button in the middle of the control cluster.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

An electronic viewfinder serves for image composition and menu browsing. The knurled ring underneath the finder is diopter correction.

We’re told that this model is pretty close to being finalized. Working samples exist, and it may become a shipping product relatively soon.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

This is another concept camera that we’ve seen before, and has been developed to the point where it appears to work as intended. This is an ‘Intelligent Capture’ AI camera, designed to automatically track human subjects and shoot images without human interaction. The ‘ICC’ can be controlled by voice, and intelligently captures ‘good scenes’ and sends only the most interesting shots to your smartphone, via an app. I can’t vouch for that last bit, but it certainly does seem to do a good job of identifying and moving to track faces.

Anyone remember the Sony Party-Shot from ten years ago? It’s a similar concept.

Canon shows off new concept cameras at CES 2020

The final concept camera is one about which we know very little: it’s an augmented reality device intended to be worn around your neck. Presumably this is a ‘life vlogging’ camera for active photographers and fans of extreme sports. Though who knows, it could also have applications for first responders if it’s tough enough.

The 10 Most Overrated Movies of The 2010s

Subjectivity constrains and widens the lens through which we view and experience life, and our own taste of culture and art is widely determined by it. It is infinitely difficult to trace how subjectivity births in us – it can very well be the result of our hierarchical social standing or the cultural influence and upbringing in our youth. Since, even after using these sociological terms, subjectivity maintains an air of mystery, we can generally attribute it to the random play of our DNA.

This article is not about the philosophical argument concerning subjectivity, but its influence on cinema. Why a film hailed by some as a masterpiece of the medium is thrashed by another, or the frequent distinction in the critical evaluations of a film by the masses and scholars – the answer is still awaiting. Cinema is also a product of time, a worthy friend of life. So, it is not so surprising that the success and acclaim of a film would depend upon a particular time, and the political and social tension and standpoint of that era.

Viewers and critics would always have some bias in their evolution; after all, they are very much human. So, sometimes the technical and cinematic mastery of a worthier contender is overlooked, and a more sentimental but uninspiring film will take all the accolades. It has happened over and over and this is the subject of the list. The films listed in this article are unfairly presented with unprecedented love and acclaim from the masses, while the latter-day critical evaluation says the opposite or the opposite is expected to come soon. Without further ado, here are the 10 most overrated films of the 2010s.


10. Les Miserables

Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Musicals always strike a chord with Hollywood viewers; it is a sure crowd-pleasing genre, but the great critical appraisal of “Les Miserables” was still hugely unexpected. “Les Miserables,” the film adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel of the same name, is soothing to the ears, pleasing to the eyes, but the appeal doesn’t extend to the intelligence. The camera is seldom static, in order to give a sense of extra dimension, but this constant frantic movement doesn’t give a scope to invest in the great emotional story or simply obstructs it.

There is a great deal of close-up and fish-eye lensing that doesn’t add anything to the story apart from a stylistic decision, and as the performers are never comfortable in their singing capability, this revelation weakens the impact of the melodramatic flow. Classic film fans will love the film, but it’s not a great film for all-encompassing appraise.


9. Wonder Woman

“Wonder Woman” was a breath of oxygen to the DC franchise who was falling behind its competitor Marvel films. The film is surely one of the good ones from the superhero franchise films of DC comics, but it is not one of the better films of the decade. Gal Gadot is amazing as the titular character, the script supplies a much-needed feminist storyline in it and the action set pieces shot by “Monster” director Patty Jenkins. But other than that there is nothing in the film to take home to think about or gladly remember about.

“Wonder Woman” has its fair share of cringe-worthy dialogues, stupid building of political tension when the story comes into a contemporary setting, and the usual bad CGI that attracts bad attention. “Wonder Woman” is a charming film for a while, but the charm soon looses out in favour of a lacklustre pace. Here, Jenkins has shown that she can direct action scenes pretty well, but the human emotions are not compelling to hold to. Perhaps, the familiar studio meddling story has something to do with it.


8. Spectre


The opening scene of “Spectre” is spectacular with a long chase scene amidst the Day of the Dead festival. Taking over from Roger Deakins, Hoyte Van Hoytema creates a remarkable action sequence in the festival with Bond frequently missing his target in the crowd; but as the film progresses, the uninspired writing becomes prominent and the fantastic visuals can’t help the film to maintain its quality.

“Spectre” was concerned to maintain the blockbuster quality of the recent mainstream offerings and tried to maintain the serialized storytelling from “Skyfall”; as a result, the film suffers and can’t stand on its own. Daniel Craig later declared that he is tired of the role of James Bond and this boredom is evident in his performance in the film. The urgency is missing in “Spectre,” which is a distinctive quality of the Bond franchise films. “Spectre” only gets its praise for the visuals and for Craig, and to a lesser extent, because it is a James Bond film. Its overpraise is an indication of today’s mediocre sensibility.


7. The Square

The Square

In the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, “The Square” surprisingly won the trophy of Palme d’Or, the top prize of the festival. The response of the film was good throughout the festival, but not even the biggest romantics hoped for “The Square” to win the biggest one. Since then, the film has been overtly accoladed, which sometimes questions the film’s true merit. The best cinematic device to expose uncomfortable truths – using sharp satire filmmaker Ruben Östlund – deconstructs the art world and its laughable under-the-cover histrionics.

“The Square” is episodic by nature and truly, some parts of the film are extremely laudable, but the quality is varied in the segments. Thus comes another weak point of the film – the narrative structure is loose and borderline incomprehensible for the general audience. Because of the cluelessness of the narrative, the film sometimes becomes a burden to watch. It may have made a great short film, but for a fictional film, “The Square” is certainly over-appreciated to a great extent.


6. American Hustle

american hustle renner and bale

“American Hustle” loosely bases itself upon the infamous Abscam case, a curious and complicated political scandal in the history of the United States. Just like the case itself, the film is also a complicated and bloated mess, only balanced by the superior performances from the lead cast. But the incoherent plot always distracts the viewer to enjoy the performances from the lead cast, and the bad visuals don’t work either.

The art direction is overwhelming to create an exuberant period setting, but the composition is flat. “American Hustle” works for some and fails for the rest for a singular reason – the theme of the shattered American Dream. This is no Scorsese film, only a rework of various masterpiece genre pictures.

Lawrence Sher shoots short film entirely on the iPhone 11 Pro

Apple has released a film about three generations of Chinese women coming together at Chinese New Year, which was entirely shot on the iPhone 11 Pro. The film was directed by Theodore Melfi and the Cinematography was Lawrence Sher. If those names sound familiar, they should. Lawrence Sher was the DP for Joker, Godzilla King … Continued

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