Blackmagic Camera Setup 6.8 Released

Blackmagic has released Camera Setup 6.8 which primarily improves the boot-up time of both the BMPCC 4K and 6K cameras. It also fixes a problem with the BMPCC 6K where EF lens stabilization cannot be turned on if the camera was started while the lens IS was in the off position. What’s new in Blackmagic … Continued

The post Blackmagic Camera Setup 6.8 Released appeared first on Newsshooter.

BAFTA 2020: The Special Visual Effects Winner

The BAFTA have announced their winner for the 2020 EE British Academy Film Awards!

Here is the winner for the Special Visual Effects:

Congratulations!

You can check the complete list here.

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2020

The post BAFTA 2020: The Special Visual Effects Winner appeared first on The Art of VFX.

FiLMiC Pro’s DoubleTake app has non-standard audio until fixed

As announced at Apple’s WWDC in June 2019, DoubleTake is an app from FilMiC Pro which allows multicam recording in up to 1080p. Currently for iOS on certain iPhones, the free DoubleTake app offers framerates like ≈24, ≈25 or ≈30 fps at VFR, as covered in prior articles. The problem is the current version uses an audio sampling frequency that is non-standard for video. It is completely reasonable to have a reduced, non-premium feature set in a freemium model, but it’s just wrong to be non-standard.

In my humble opinion, with only offering 44.1 kHz, DoubleTake is like offering 1900×1000 instead of the standard 1920×1080. It just doesn’t fit the standard!

Here is a list of features which are okay to limit the freemium version of DoubleTake:

  • Offer only compressed AAC/M4A 48 kHz audio instead of PCM uncompressed 48 kHz audio
  • Offer only lower bit rate compressed recording at H.264 instead of offering higher bit rates in H.265.

On the other hand, 44.1 kHz doesn’t match established audio sampling standards in standard video destinations like:

All of the destinations listed above demand 48 kHz as I have covered in many past articles. 48 kHz is also the standard audio recording sampling frequency standard in all current consumer and professional camcorder formats for both HD 720p and HD 1080p.

Conclusions

DoubleTake team at FiLMiC Pro: Please fix the broken 44.1 kHz audio sampling and make it exclusively 48 kHz ASAP! Stop forcing producers to upsample the audio later. While you’re at it, make 48 kHz the only sampling option in FiLMiC Pro too. Thank you! (I still remember when you added 48 kHz to FiLMic Pro in 2012!)

Content producers: Demand your proper 48 kHz audio in DoubleTake here!

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One of my favorite service for broadcasting live via is Google Fi. Click here to save US$20 on Google Fi, which now works on iPhone and Android. With Google Fi (covered previously in several articles), there is no extra charge for data-only SIM cards on the same account, for up to 10 devices. You only pay for the total data, and data is free after 6 GB per month. So you could be using one Google FI SIM card on your primary phone, another in a tablet or secondary phone (or third, of fourth…).

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William Friedkin Gets the Hitchcock/Truffaut Treatment in ‘Leap of Faith’

William Friedkin shocked audiences with his 1973 horror classic The Exorcist. Now, filmmaker Alexandre Philippe unpacks the director’s definitive film in his “cinema essay” Leap of Faith.

It’s rare to get the chance to really dive deeply into the story behind a movie. There are filmmaker interviews, but they are often short, and if they are done around the time a film comes out, they often avoid discussing the ending to avoid ruining the experience for audiences.

Leap of Faith, like other films by Alexandre Philippe, is something you don’t get to see every day. It’s a deep, deep dive into the work of a filmmaker. This is a feature-length interview with director William Friedkin on a single subject, The Exorcist. The whole film works as a window into the interior of the creative process, including an exploration of the collaborative relationship a director has with their actors.

We got a chance to talk to Alexandre at Sundance before the film’s premiere.

Read More

The 2020 WGA Awards Winners

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) handed out its top awards of the year in concurrent ceremonies on both the East and West Coasts on Saturday night, with big winners including Parasite and Jojo Rabbit on the film side, and Succession and Barry in TV. Ana Gasteyer hosted the Los Angeles ceremony at the Beverly Hilton […]

The post The 2020 WGA Awards Winners appeared first on Below the Line.

Voices From Sundance: “Spree” Editor Benjamin Moses Smith

Art of the Cut Bonus episode Voices from Sundance Podcast with Spree editor Benjamin Moses Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to a special podcast series from Steve Hullfish and ProVideo Coalition! For the next few weeks, in addition to the regular Tuesday episodes of the Art of the Cut, we will be releasing Steves conversations with the editors of the top films at Sundance Film Festival 2020.

Spree Sundance film festival 2020 select
Joe Keery appears in Spree by Eugene Kotlyarenko edited by Benjamin Moses Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For our second bonus Sundance episode, Steve talks with Benjamin Moses Smith about his work on comedy thriller “Spree.” Benjamin’s previous credits include the features “Feast of Burden” and “Wobble Palace.” Benjamin has also worked on various TV series such as “Adam Ruins Everything” and “The Onion News Network.” You can listen to the full episode below:

The Voices from Sundance series is sponsored by Endcrawl. Endcrawls cloud render engine turns around preview renders in minutes, and 2k and 4k renders in about a half hour. The Endcrawl render engine is on-demand 24/7 so even if you’re in a late night session, you can sign in to your project, fix that typo — or add that late-breaking special thanks — with one click. Listeners of the Art of the Cut can skip the waitlist if you sign up using endcrawl.com/aotc. This is a limited time offer so if you want to skip the line go to endcrawl.com/aotc today!

Interested in listening to more podcasts focused on the art and craft of editing? Check out the Art of the Cut Podcast!

The Art of the Cut podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Pocket Casts, Overcast and Radio Public. If you like the podcast, make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app and tell a friend!

FX9 footage from Norway 2020

Here’s a compilation of footage from this years winter trip to Norway. This was all shot with the PXW-FX9. Mostly with sony lenses and autofocus. The AF was great for following the dog sledding. The camera performed really well and did a great job of capturing what was a very faint Aurora display in between cloud banks.

The daytime footage was shot using S-Log3 in CineEI. I didn’t expose any brighter than base, so used 800EI or 4000EI. I used the viewfinder display gamma assist rather than any LUT’s as I know I can use gamma assist no matter what frame rate I shoot.

DSC_0899-1024x768 FX9 footage from Norway 2020
The PXW-FX9 worked perfectly even when the temperature was below -30c.

The Aurora was very faint, barely visible to the naked eye, so I had to shoot using a 32 frame slow shutter (the equivalent of about 1.3 seconds at 24fps). I then used interval record with a 2 second interval to create the timelapse Aurora sequences.  As there were no dynamic range concerns I chose to shoot using the default S-Cinetone settings in custom mode so I could see exactly what I was getting. I was amazed at how many stars the camera picked up with such a short exposure, a sure sign of how sensitive the camera is. For the Aurora I used a Sigma 20mm f1.4 lens with Metabones speed booster and 4K s35 scan. I felt that the extra stop of light gained from the use of the speedbooster was better than the slightly lower noise that would have been present if I had used the 6K FF scan. I did also try S&Q at 1 frame per second with the shutter off to see how this compared to the slow shutter. The S&Q was much noisier, the cameras built in NR seems to work particularly well with the slow shutter function, so if you need a long exposure on the FX9 I recommend slow shutter and interval record over S&Q at 1 frame per second.

DSC_0887-768x1024 FX9 footage from Norway 2020For the  sunset shots I made use of the variable ND filter, set to auto to control the exposure. I used the cameras “backlight” auto exposure setting to obtain a bright exposure despite the strong sunlight. These shots were shot using S-Log3 in CineEI and it’s nice that the auto exposure functions work very well in this mode. The main lens used was a Sony 24-240mm f3.5-f6.3 zoom. Not the very greatest of lenses, but for such a zoom range the image quality is pretty decent. I used this lens because the temperature was often below -15c dipping to -34c at times. In addition there was a lot of blowing snow. I don’t like doing a lot of lens swapping in these conditions and the 24-240mm allowed me to take just one lens on most of the trips out and about on the snow scooters or dog sleds.

DSC_0856-1024x768 FX9 footage from Norway 2020
Getting ready to go and shoot with the FX9 plus Core V-Mount adapter and Core Neo 98Wh battery.

Another big help was the Core SWX V-Mount adapter. I used both the Core Neo 98Wh V-Mount batteries and some of my Pag Paglink 150Wh V-Mounts. They all worked very well in the harsh conditions and a great feature of the Core Neo’s is the run time indicator that gives an accurate time remaining readout based on the batteries capacity and the cameras power draw. This is very handy when using a V-Mount adapter as all the adapters currently on the market convert the battery voltage up to 19.5 volts to feed the FX9. As a result you don’t get any form of capacity or run time indication in the viewfinder. The Core V-Mount adapter also incorporates an LED indicator that turns red as the battery voltage gets low and then flashes red when it’s about to run out – a very nice touch. I did use a loose fitting insulated cover that I made myself. It’s not heated but does have a fleece lining so helps keep the heat generated by the camera when it’s operating in the camera. Where this really helps is to keep the lens warmer than the ambient air and this helps stop the lens from frosting over when shooting the aurora at night (see the picture at the top of the article where you can see just how frosty things can get at night).

DSC_0874-768x1024 FX9 footage from Norway 2020
Miller CX16 tripod head and solo legs works extremely well even in very cold conditions.

As usual on these trips we had one guest break a tripod. A lot of materials that are normally solid and robust become very brittle at temperatures below -15c. I was using a Miller CX16 tripod head with Miller Solo legs and once again this proved to be a great combination. The fluid damping of the head remain almost completely constant all the way down to -34c. A lot of other heads become unusable at these sorts of temperatures.

For file backup and file management I use the Nexto DI NPS-10. This is a relatively new device from Nexto DI. Designed to offer a robust backup solution at a much lower price than similar previous Nexto DI products it too worked very well even in these harsh conditions. I have a 1TB SSD in mine and I can backup a 128GB XQD card in around 5 minutes. I can’t recommend the Nexto DI products enough for those that need to have a simple, reliable backup on location.

The workshop shots are part of a sequence of shots for another video I am working on. For these I used Sony 85mm f1.8 FE and 24mm f2 FE lenses. The sequence is mostly available light but I did have a Light & Motion Stella 5K on hand to add a little extra light here and there.

Post production was done using DaVinci Resolve and ACES.


FX9 footage from Norway 2020 was first posted on February 2, 2020 at 3:34 pm.
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Sundance 2020: Spotlight on Zelmira Gainza, DP of Luxor

Zeina Durra returns to the Sundance Film Festival a decade after her first feature debuted in 2010.  She trusted the look of her film Luxor to long time friend and fellow NYU grad, Zelmira Gainza.  Read about their collaboration on this World Cinema contender below.  

Still from Luxor.  Image Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Name: Zelmira Gainza
Film: Luxor (dir. Zeina Durra)
Competition Category: World Dramatic Competition
Camera Body: Alexa Mini
Lenses: Zeiss Super Speeds

cinema5D: Tell me a little about your background at NYU. Did you know you wanted to pursue cinematography from the beginning?

ZG:  I went to NYU to the Graduate Film Program. I knew I wanted to be a DP, and as most people there wanted to be writer/directors it meant that I got to shoot a lot for my classmates. At the same time, I benefited enormously from having to take a wide range of classes and learn every aspect of filmmaking. I had to write and direct my own films, edit them, produce, do sound, even act. I think this all helped me as a DP being able to understand everyone’s role and what it takes to make a film, from initial idea all the way through to the end.

cinema5D: Which directors or cinematographers originally inspired you to pursue a career in cinema?

ZG: Kubrick, Kieslowski, Claire Denis, Antonioni and Visconti are some of the directors who initially inspired me to pursue a career in cinema. Cinematographers like Sven Nyqvist, Slawomir Idziak, Agnes Godard, Vittorio Storaro and Harris Savides continue to be my heroes.

Behind the scenes on the set of Luxor.

cinema5D: What’s your individual DP motto?  How do you like to run the camera department?

ZG: I think it’s important to keep growing as a filmmaker. I like projects that are different, that allow me to do things I’ve never done before. I try to create an inclusive and friendly atmosphere in my camera department. They are working so hard, and I remember from when I used to assist how stressful and physically tiring it can be. I don’t like people who yell. I try and keep a good mood so everyone is inspired to do their best work.

cinema5D: How did you become attached to Luxor? Did Zeina seek you out?

ZG: Zeina and I are friends, I love her work and had wanted to shoot for her for ages. One day over a phone call,  she started coming up with this idea to shoot a film in Luxor, Egypt. I told her instantly that I wanted to shoot it. Luckily, she said yes!

cinema5D: Other than the location, what made you most excited about this project?

ZG: First and foremost, I was excited to work with Zeina. She is an incredibly visual director, very bold in her decisions, and I love her pared down aesthetic. When I read the script, it really resonated with me. I thought the story of this woman Hana, who is on a journey of self-discovery, was very modern. There are so many coming-of-age films, and I liked that the characters in this film are more mature, in their forties. The script is a wonderful blend of drama, humour, mysticism and romance. I had never seen a film like it. On top of that, I knew that we would have stunning locations, since we would be shooting in temples and ruins that were thousands of years old.

 

cinema5D:   It’s great that you went in with not only friendship but professional admiration.  What’s your advice to other directors on how to optimize their relationships with their DPs?

ZG: I like to be as involved as possible in pre-visualising the film. I feel it’s my job to get inside the director’s head, to understand how they see their film, and then make that happen. The more they can share with me and involve me from early on, the better. I like getting the conversation going between the director, myself, the production designer, and costume designer so that we are all on the same page about the palette. All the elements in front of the camera have to come together. The more time there is for prep, the better.

cinema5D: Talk a little about pre-production for Luxor. What went into planning the look?

ZG:  Pre-production was very tight, as the film came together very fast, but luckily Zeina and I had already gone to Luxor to scout before prep started. As soon as I came on board we started discussing the look. Zeina and I would send film references back and forth, and we talked a lot about the script: the characters, the locations and what their significance was in each scene.

This was the period where I felt like I was getting inside Zeina’s head and getting a grasp on her vision. We watched The Passenger many times. We loved the palette, the naturalistic lighting, and the discipline of the camera movements. Zeina exercises restraint at all times and designs her frames with great attention to detail—nothing in excess. She uses minimal coverage, and she doesn’t want things to be beautiful just for the sake of it. It has to serve the story.

Once we started official prep in Luxor, we scouted every day and talked through blocking and took stills. That time in the locations was invaluable. We knew them so well by the time we showed up to shoot, that we were able to move fast. Zeina planned all the production design, and we thought very carefully about wardrobe for each scene:  not just what made sense for the character in that moment, but how colours would play out against the existing colours of the locations. We did not have time for any camera tests, and Zeina does not work with storyboards, but she does make her own shot-list.

cinema5D: How did you choose the camera body? In a panel at the Sundance TV Headquarters, Zeina mentioned that originally Kodak was onboard to support with film?

ZG: Initially, we planned to shoot on Super 16, the format Zeina used for her last film The Imperialists Are Still Alive. However, due to logistical issues we had to shoot digitally. Nevertheless, I wanted to deliver as filmic a look as possible that would be in keeping with Zeina’s aesthetic, so we chose to shoot with the Alexa Mini. I knew this camera could handle the extreme contrast that we would encounter in our day exteriors amongst the ruins and also give us the best skin tones. Its size was a consideration, since we had a lot of car shots and some hand-held. Also with an 18 day shooting schedule, we could not afford to lose any time due to technical problems. The Alexa Mini has never let me down.

cinema5D: What about  optics?

ZG: Our lens package was a set of Zeiss Super Speeds. We wanted to avoid any digital crispness, and since these are old lenses, they are slightly softer than the more modern ones we looked at (which Zeina liked). I also knew that you can shoot with them wide open, which we needed for many of our night exteriors.

cinema5D: What was your collaboration with Zeina like during principle photography?

ZG: Although we had never worked together before, once principle photography started, it became a very fluid process. Zeina would rehearse and block with the actors, I would watch her and be making mental notes to share with the gaffer and the camera department. When she was ready, we would discuss what lens, and she would look through it on the viewfinder and set the frame. Zeina is very intuitive.  She knows what she wants, and it was my job to execute it.

cinema5D: Any fun new tech on this shoot? Any new strategies that worked out well?

ZG: I didn’t use any new technology, but I did try something I hadn’t done before. Since we were going for a filmic look, I brought along my 35mm stills camera and shot Cinestyle rolls of film. I had 2 different stocks, basically the 50D and the 500T. I then brought these stills to our colourist Elie Akoka, and they became a great reference for the colour grade.

Behind the scenes on the set of Luxor.

cinema5D: Any go-to glass filtration in your kit?

ZG: The usual ND’s and Polarizer. I used Lo-Cons for most of our day exteriors. I sometimes use a light filtration like Black Pro Mist, I tend to use ¼ strength.

cinema5D: How about lighting?

ZG: Zeina’s aesthetic is naturalistic, and she loves soft light, as do I. We discussed being able to shoot with all available light, timing our schedule to the best light for a given location, but our schedule was too tight. Our gaffer, Chad Dougherty, came on all our scouts and worked with a local Egyptian gaffer Ahmed Goma and his G&E team. They all did an amazing job.

Chad watched all our reference films and Zeina’s past work, so that he was really on the same page about what we were setting out to do. The main challenge was how fast we had to shoot, given that it was 18 days with multiple locations involving company moves every day. In terms of lighting, the hardest thing was balancing contrast. Outside we used bounce to fill in shadows when necessary. Our challenge indoors was windows, which we wanted to see out of but we didn’t have ND gels. We had to build up the light inside, but keep the natural shape and feeling of it. We were really happy with how it all came together.  It feels soft and film-like:  appropriate for the tone of the film.

cinema5D: Do you negotiate involvement in post into your contract?  Were you involved in the color process on Luxor? 

ZG: Zeina and I felt it was important to do the colour correct together, which we did in Paris at United Post Production with Elie Akoka. I had worked with Elie a few years earlier and remembered how brilliant he is. He did an amazing job, using the 35mm stills I had shot as a reference and then creating a look with smoky blacks, softly muted colours and a low-contrast, whilst still keeping the delicate feeling of the day scenes and the moodiness of the night scenes. I knew from the outset that we would not have an on-set DIT or camera tests to be able to build a LUT, I monitored in Rec 709. I felt comfortable with this because I knew we would have Elie at the end.

cinema5D: Lastly, what’s your advice to ACs, Operators, and younger cinematographers who are trying to level up their careers?

ZG: Watch movies, as many as you can. Build up your own reference library in your head, I think it’s a great way to learn, learning from the greats. Treat the people you work with as you would like to be treated. Experiment as much as you can, take risks, remain curious and open.

Luxor’s international rights are being handled by Totem Films, while  CAA is the custodian of the North American rights. Distribution is to be determined.

The post Sundance 2020: Spotlight on Zelmira Gainza, DP of Luxor appeared first on cinema5D.