After 4 Years, Kogonada is Back with a New Video Essay on ‘Roma’

Roma is getting its own Criterion release and kogonada essay. Lucky us!

Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma certified Netflix’s place in cinema. It was somewhere auteurs could have their vision, reach mass audiences, and still be recognized for awards. But the release on Netflix meant we would never go in-depth and behind the scenes.

Until now.

In an unprecedented move, Netflix has allowed Roma to be made into a special edition Blu-ray for Criterion. As part of this special release, the film comes with a video essay from none other than kogonada, Columbus director and revered video essayist.

Check out kogonadas latest piece of “sushi” and let’s talk afterward.

After 4 Years, Kogonada is Back with a New Video Essay on Roma

Kogonada made his feature directorial debut with Columbus, which came out in 2017, but he is most famous for his video essays on Wes Anderson, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Yasujirō Ozu, and lots of other topics.

So what happens in the video essay?

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Sundance 2020 Final Dispatch: Softie, Farewell Amor, A Machine for Viewing, Infinitely Yours

Previously, when attending a premiere heavy festival like Sundance, I was usually lucky enough to be present as part of a team of programmers. We divided the screenings between all of us to cover as many of the films as possible. (There are spreadsheets and rating systems involved.) Watching films as a freelancer, I realized over the first few days at Sundance that I was playing it safe by watching films by filmmakers I was already familiar with for the guarantee that at least the film would appear finished at the screening. For programmers working at festivals like Sundance, what […]

Sony announces Ci 2.0

Sony has just released Ci 2.0, its cloud-based media utility designed to streamline content production and collaboration with teams. You can learn more about the features of Ci on the Sony MCS website. What’s New? The key additions to Ci 2.0 include an updated global navigation panel, secondary filter panel, filters, folders and finders, a … Continued

The post Sony announces Ci 2.0 appeared first on Newsshooter.

Creating Homemade Photography Backdrops on the Cheap

Anyone who has had any exposure to still life photography or studio work will know just how expensive backdrops can be. I have a couple from Kate Backdrops company, one of which I use very often, but I’ve been hankering after a few more.

I find the addition of new props and new backgrounds often sparks a flurry of creativity. At the very least, the desire to use the new additions immediately spikes a renewed endeavour that can lift you out of a photographic slump.

With half an eye on wanting some new lenses (I’d like an 85mm and a tele zoom ideally) money saving is uttermost in my mind; with a new commission from a gin producer just landed, my creativity needed a boost. A new backdrop, in a colour I don’t own, was required.

I had a blinding thought: I’ll make my own!

Examples and instructions abound on YouTube. These usually revolve around painting, using sponges and so forth. However, I had the idea that some ultra cheap dust sheets and some fabric dye could work, and be easier to create and clean up than an invariably messy paint job.

A set of three cotton dust sheets were duly sourced from Amazon (£25.99) and four packs of dye at £3.73 each. Total cost £41.42. Oh and two 25p tubes of salt from Waitrose. Colours ordered were Ocean Blue (for the Gin Commission), Plum Red, Espresso Brown and Sandy Beige.

I didn’t want to use dyes for washing machines as the colour would be uniform and I was after something a little more creatively patchy. Each dust sheet was cut in two, damped and then scrunched up before placing in a tub with the dye. I experimented first with the Sandy Beige, but this didn’t produce anything I thought I could use… too light. So this was re-dipped in the Expresso Brown.

More experimentation: keeping the inner portion of the sheet above the main body of dye helped produce a vignette. And mixing Plum Red and Espresso Brown together produced exactly what I was after. As did the blue mixed with the red.

The soaking in the dye takes just 45 minutes… the natural drying rather longer. Over a weekend I produced six different backdrops for just £6.90 each. A total bargain. Was I pleased with the results? You betcha! They do need a bit of ironing mind you…

About the author: Andrew Barrow is a professional still life photographer and associate of the Royal Photographic Society with a Masters in photography from Falmouth University. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and Facebook. This post was also published here.

Adobe releases substantial update to the desktop and mobile versions of Photoshop for its 30th birthday

Today, on the 30th anniversary of Adobe Photoshop launching, Adobe has released an update for its desktop and iPad app, bringing substantial improvements to a few key features, as noted in its announcement blog post.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2020 (Desktop)

Adobe kicked off the updates with an impressive improvement to its desktop iteration of Photoshop with an improved Content-Aware Fill workspace, updates to the Lens Blur tool, a slightly updated UI and a number of bug fixes. We’ll take a look at the details of the updates in the sections below.

Content-Aware Fill

Previously, if you needed to make multiple Content-Aware Fill edits, Photoshop required you to make the edits one at a time. Now, with this new update, you can make multiple selections and apply multiple fills within the Content-Aware Fill workspace without needing to exit every time. This not only reduces the number of clicks, it also allows you to preview edits in real-time when more complicated scenes require multiple edits at once.

Lens Blue

Another major improvement in this update is to the Lens Blur tool, which now relies on the GPU of your computer, rather than the CPU. As seen in the comparison images below, offloading the processing of the Lens Blur tool to the GPU dramatically improves the realism of the edit through more refined edges, more accurate bokeh (thanks to specular highlights) and an overall sharper image that looks more pleasing than edits process with the CPU.

Lens Blur tool processed using CPU Lens Blur tool processed using GPU

‘The results are created by an algorithm the [Photoshop engineering] team built by studying first the principles of physics and how light interacts with objects in the real world,’ says Photoshop Project Manager Pam Clark in the announcement post. ‘It is carefully tuned to simulate a 3D environment to create the most realistic results possible, while also consuming the least amount of computing power so you don’t burn up your machine.’

UI and Performance

Adobe has also added support for the new dark mode in macOS Catalina, with all of the new system dialogs matching the light/dark mode settings you have turned on at the system level.

Other improvements throughout Photoshop CC 2020 include improved mouse control, with better responsiveness when panning and zooming across an image, particularly with larger documents.

Photoshop for iPad

Moving onto the more mobile version of Photoshop, Adobe has brought its Object Selection tool and improved Text settings to Photoshop for iPad. Above is a quick promo video shared by Adobe alongside the update.

Object Selection

The Object Selection tool, which was first released for the desktop version of Photoshop, makes it easier to select multiple objects within an image to isolate them. Unlike the Select Subject tool, which is meant for images where there is a single, large subject, Object Selection is refined for more precise edits where multiple, smaller objects need to be isolated.

Type settings

Adobe has also updated the Type settings within Photoshop for iPad, bringing a number of controls over from the desktop version. Specifically, Adobe has added type layer, character and options properties within the Type settings. ‘This includes tracking, leading, scaling, and formatting things like all/small caps, super/subscript,’ reads the announcement. Adobe says Kerning will ship in a future update.

The updated versions of Photoshop should be live for Creative Cloud subscribers. If you’re not seeing the updates, try restarting your device and checking for updates again within the Creative Cloud app or iOS App Store.

Want to Watch Unlimited Movies at the Alamo Drafthouse for One Low Price?

The Alamo Drafthouse has introduced a season pass that offers great deals for cinephiles.

Love movies and want to experience watching with other movie lovers? Well, the Alamo Drafthouse is the ultimate way to enjoy cinema, especially with its “rowdy” showings where people can scream and interact with the movie as it plays. But now that the theater chain has launched its own subscription program, Season Pass, across its 41 locations all over America, this might be the perfect gift to buy yourself or someone else in your city.

Season Pass is the only subscription program that allows guests to have the Alamo Drafthouse cinematic experience every single day all for one low monthly fee. The membership provides one regularly priced ticket per day, with reservations available up to seven days in advance.

And it’s not just the new releases…

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Canon Video Grant: first edition accepts applications until April 15

Canon Video Grant: first edition deadline ends in April

The Canon Video Grant – Short Film Documentary starts this year, and the first edition is accepting applications until April 15, 2020. The recipient of the grant will be selected in May.

This year Canon, in association with Images Evidence, launch the first edition of the Canon Video Grant – Short Film Documentary. The Canon Video Grant – Short Film Documentary is presented to a videographer/photojournalist who wishes to cover a social, economic, political or cultural subject in a journalistic manner, on presentation of a dossier that has to follow the rules defined by the organizers.

Applicants must have completed at least one video reportage (broadcast or not), they must be professional photojournalists/documentary, speak and write in French of English and offer clear indication of the participation of each co-producer in the financing of the project. The participation rules, which those interested should download, point to the other conditions required to participate, namely a signed application form, a copy of the applicant’s identity card or passport and an affidavit stating that the candidate is a professional photojournalist (attestation of honor written by the photographer/videographer or from an agency, production company, media).

Canon Video Grant: first edition deadline ends in AprilA short film documentary

Apllicants must also indicate a projected budget for the video-reportage project for which the Grant is to be used if obtained as well as a complete financial estimate of its realization. Follow the link to download the document and note that the applications are only accepted until April 15, 2020. We’ve collected some key notes from the application document that are shared in the following paragraphs.

The Grant will be given to an individual videographer and photojournalist and not to a group, without any consideration of their nationality. The Grant is given in order to allow the winner to carry out the short film documentary reportage which has been presented for the Grant. This short film documentary should not exceed 8 minutes.

The applicant agrees that, should they obtain the grant, they will include the title « Winner of the Canon Video Grant – Short Film Documentary » in the video-reportage and in all communication connected with it and that they will keep Canon and Images Evidence informed about the progress of the project and the end results. The winner also agrees to let the Images Evidence and/or Canon present their video-reportage financed with the grant, for a screening.

Canon Video Grant: first edition deadline ends in April

Visa Pour l’Image

End of April or later beginning of May, the jury will start selecting and studying the dossiers before choosing the winner. The applicant agrees that, should they obtain the Grant, they will be in Perpignan beginning of September 2020 to attend the evening projection of the 32nd International Festival of Photojournalism « Visa pour l’Image-Perpignan », where they will be presented with the Grant by representatives of Canon and will receive the 8 000 euros. The first installment of 4.000 euros will be settled in May 2020, while the second and final installment of 4.000 euros will be transferred in September 2020, in Perpignan.

Should they obtain the Grant, the Applicant agrees to provide a teaser of their future video-reportage by August 10, 2020 at the latest, to be screened at the ceremony award during the 32nd International Festival of Photojournalism « Visa pour l’Image-Perpignan » which will take place from August 31 to September 6, 2020. The complete and final video report will be screened in Perpignan one year later, in September 2021. The applicant agrees that, should they obtain the Grant, they will not present the same project for any other Award or Grant until the Visa Pour l’Image – Perpignan Festival 2020, when their work financed by the Grant will be presented during the festival screening.

Once the work has been completed, later on April 2021, they also commit to give an high-resolution version from the final project which will be screened during the 33rd International Festival of Photojournalism « Visa pour l’Image-Perpignan » in September 2021. With reference to the short-term loan of a Video Kit, the winner and Canon will identify the suitable Video Camera and the 2 lenses, (not exceeding the price of €15,000), to be returned latest to Canon on April 2021.

The Winner agrees not to reapply for a period of 5 years.

The NONS SL42 is an Interchangeable Lens Camera that Shoots Instax Film

A Hong Kong-based company called “NONS” has created a M42-mount ILC that can be used to shoot Fujifilm Instax Mini film. They’re calling it the world’s first M42 mount SLR instant camera, and it allows shooters to pair easy-to-find Fuji Instax film with much-beloved (and often very cheap) classic M42 lenses.

The NONS SL42 camera is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a rudimentary SLR with an M42 mount and a few basic features like a shutter speed dial, the ability to shoot multiple exposures, support for a cable release, and a hot shoe for using external flash.

The camera runs off of 2 AA batteries, and taking a picture is as easy as loading up some Instax Mini film, choosing your shutter speed, pressing the shutter button (as many times as you’d like), and then pressing the eject film button when you’re ready. Since the M42 mount was made for 35mm film that’s much smaller than an Instax Mini frame, the resulting photos will have a circular vignette of varying size and intensity depending on the lens that you’re using.

Here’s a closer look at the camera in action:

And some sample images captured with the current prototype:

The NONS SL42 SLR is seeking funding through Kickstarter, where it’s already raised over $15,000 on a goal of $25,750, with 21 days to go in the campaign. If they raise the necessary funding and all goes according to plan, the goal is to begin shipping cameras to backers in August of 2020.

Securing a NONS SL42 will cost you at least $200 (early-bird pledge) for the body only, $220 for the camera plus two 10-shot packs of Instax film, or $230 for the NONS SL42 and an 50mm f/1.8 “M42 lens for beginners.” Prices go up from there for additional cameras and film.

To learn more about this quirky camera or take a chance by pledging your support, head over to the Kickstarter campaign page. As with all crowdfunded products, we’ll throw out the standard warning: this is not a pre-order, and any money you throw at this thing could very well disappear if the NONS SL42 becomes vaporware.

Is Street Photography a Fad that Has Run Its Course?

Fourteen years ago I took an interest in Street Photography. I went looking for resources and information on this amazing genre, unfortunately to no avail, until I came across a great free ebook in 2006 called “Street Photography for the purist” by Chris Weeks.

I downloaded and printed and read every page, but still, no good books were available in the coming years explaining in layman’s terms how to take good street shots, what settings to use, etc. until James Maher published the “The Essentials of Street Photography” in 2012.

This, for me, was a game changer, as was the introduction of the Fuji X100.

Photo by Des Byrne

Since then, street photography has become increasingly “mainstream” and highly commercialized. We have more books than ever, and there are street photography festivals worldwide—from London, to Rome, Miami, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Brussels, and L.A.

Cheap and overpriced workshops alike promise to make you invisible on the Streets, like Harry Potter with his cloak of Invisibility. These courses with the unknown Masters of Street Photography will gladly part you from your money, costing anywhere between $50 and $1,000 per course. One such course advertised four one-hour Skype sessions for a “reduced” price: now $450, down from $850.

“Classic” street photography style has also seeped into other genres. Wedding Photographers have now turned candid and black-and-white.

Photo by Des Byrne

Photography competitions are popping up every week charging anywhere between $20 and $50 per image to enter. There are now hundreds of influencers on Instagram and YouTube, too many collectives, and far too many inexperienced “expert” moderators in Facebook groups critiquing photos and giving advice.

Photographers who never considered themselves street photographers jumped on the gravy train. But now, it seems that many of these photographers are moving away from calling themselves street photographers at all. Well-known international photographers who earn money from street photography have started to disassociate themselves from the genre.

Is it a purist thing, or was the very term “street photography” just a fad? Are they jumping off the bandwagon because they’ve found the next photography fad?

Photo by Des Byrne

I recently started working on a project idea about street photography, and in the course of this project I contacted a well-known, famous photographer that most of the world immediately classify as a street photographer.

I messaged him about the project and made the mistake of referring to him as a street photographer, only for him to reply that “it is a misnomer to say this is what I am.” When I reached out to another well-known street photographer friend of mine and mentioned this, he agreed. He would not consider himself a “street photographer” either.

Am I missing something?

Photo by Des Byrne

All of this back and forth—the vast commercialization of the genre, and people’s attempts to get away from it—has made me question my “identity” as a street photographer. Is it all just a fad? Are they right? Did the greats who we considered to be street photographers even think of themselves in this way? Has it run its course, or has the money dried up? Have all the shots been taken? How many more umbrella, puddle jumping, pigeon shots can we even take?

A fad is defined as “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze.”

By that definition, I’m not sure that street photography counts. But as more and more photographers identify as something else—even as they practice what most of us would instantly recognize as “street photography”—I have a feeling the classification, if not the genre itself, won’t last forever.

About the author: Des Byrne is the Founder of the Irish Street Photography Group, a Miami Finalist 2019, curator for International Street Photography Exhibitions in Dublin Ireland, and part of the multi-award winning Insight Photography Project for the Dublin homeless community. You can find more of his work on Instagram.