Silence of the Tides

Pieter-Rim de Kroon is an award-winning director, cinematographer and producer. He just completed Silence of the Tides, an epic feature documentary on which he was director, co-writer and second cameraman. The film is scheduled for release in mid 2020.

Pieter-Rim describes Silence of the Tides as “a cinematic portrait of the largest tidal wetlands in the world, the Wadden Sea. It’s a hypnotizing large screen look into the cycles and contrasts of the seasons: life and death, storm and silence, the masses and the individual. All this is set against a larger than life backdrop of sky, water, wind, mist and constantly changing light.” read more…

Sound Devices Makes Its 8-Series Recorders Remotely Compatible with iPad and Android

Firmware updates adds SD-Remote app support for Apple and Android devices.

Sound Devices has released an update for its 8-Series Portable Mixer-Recorders. The main improvement adds compatibility to its SD-Remote, a remote control app. Now, the mixer-recorders can be controlled with Apple iPads and Android tablets.

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5 Ways Robert Eggers Wins at Being a Weird Filmmaker

Robert Eggers is one of the most interesting directors working today, and lucky for us, he has some insight to share about filmmaking.

There are few brighter minds working than Robert Eggers. As a writer and director, he’s always taking us into the past to confront hidden secrets and issues we have inside our relationships and heads.

His films are challenging, memorable, and leave an indelible mark on their viewers.

When I saw Eggers was giving an over hour-long lecture for BAFTA, I immediately sprang out of my chair, grabbed my goat, and settled back in to hear him drop some knowledge bombs.

Check out the video from BAFTA Guru here and let’s talk lessons after the break.

5 Writing and Directing Tips from Robert Eggers

Eggers has always been open about his approach to filmmaking. He even did an AMA that was incredibly useful to our readers, so seeing him on video was even more of the same. Below are some of my favorite things he said across the hour-long conversation.

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Berlinale 2020 Dispatch 2: The Salt of Tears, Siberia, Undine

At the risk of being canceled, I’ll admit that in the days since I watched The Salt of Tears, I’ve found myself wondering, “Who will make films like this when Philippe Garrel is gone?” (The best answer I’ve heard so far: Louis Garrel.) By “this” I mean a stereotypically oh-so-French comedy with an existential bent. Or a season in the life of a dour-faced, impoverished young artist who beds every beautiful woman he meets and is too young and too myopic to realize he’s a gaping asshole. Or the story of a boy who loved, disappointed and mourns for his […]

Cinematography Breakdown: Creating the Look of Parasite

Let’s take a look at the cinematography, blocking, and storyboarding of Bong-Joon Ho’s latest masterpiece.

These are the Finalists for 2020 World Press Photo of the Year

The World Press Photo Foundation has revealed the finalists of one of the most coveted awards in photojournalism. Picking from 73,996 photos submitted by over 4,200 photographers from 125 countries, the judges have identified six images that will go toe to toe for the title of World Press Photo of the Year, 2020.

This week’s announcement revealed all of the nominees for this year’s awards, including the six finalists for World Press Photo of the Year, the three finalists for World Press Photo Story of the Year, and three finalists for each of the eight categories included in the 2020 Photo Contest. The images below represent the best single photographs of the whole lot—ostensibly the six most important images out of over 73,000.

“Especially in the times we’re living in, when we have a lot of violence, a lot of conflict, it’s important that we have an image that inspires people,” said 2020 judge Lekgetho Makola, speaking about the nominated images for World Press Photo of the Year. “Every single image that made it to that level is a good image technically, so it’s no longer just about just judging around the technique. It’s about the potential impact of the image to a society.”

Scroll down to see the six images that this year’s judges chose to represent this incredibly high standard of photojournalism and societal impact.

Relative Mourns Flight ET 302 Crash Victim by Mulugeta Ayene

Photo by Mulugeta Ayene for the Associated Press

Image Caption: A relative of a victim of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 throws dirt in her face as she grieves at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 14 March 2019.

Clash with the Police During Anti-Government Demonstration by Farouk Batiche

Photo by Farouk Batiche for Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Image Caption: Students scuffle with riot police during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers, Algeria, on 21 May.

Straight Voice by Yasuyoshi Chiba

Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba for Agence France-Presse

Image Caption: A young man, illuminated by mobile phones, recites a poem while protestors chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, on 19 June.

Awakening by Tomek Kaczor

Photo by Tomek Kaczor for Gazeta Wyborcza

Image Caption: A 15-year-old Armenian girl who has recently woken from catatonic state brought on by Resignation Syndrome, sits in a wheelchair, flanked by her parents, in a refugee reception center in Podkowa Leśna, Poland.

Injured Kurdish Fighter Receives Hospital Visit by Ivor Prickett

Photo by Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Image Caption: Ahmed Ibrahim (18), a badly burned SDF fighter, is visited by his girlfriend at a hospital in Al-Hasakah, Syria, on 20 October. She had at first been reluctant to enter the room, as she was horrified by his injuries, but a nurse persuaded her to go in to hold Ahmed’s hand and have a short conversation.

Nothing Personal – the Back Office of War by Nikita Teryoshin

Photo by Nikita Teryoshin

Image Caption: A businessman locks away a pair of anti-tank grenade launchers at the end of an exhibition day, at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on 18 February.


The winners of the 2020 World Press Photo of the Year Contest will be announced on April 16th and exhibited around the world starting April 18th, but in the meantime, you can see all of the nominated images and hear more from the judges of the 2020 Photo Contest on the WPP website.

The Best Filmmaking Deals of the Week (2.27.20)

Headlining our Deals of the Week, Glyph Technologies’ sale on its Thunderbolt 3 NVMe docks can save you hundreds.

This week in filmmaking deals: Kessler 22.5″ Mini Stealth Slider is $100 off retail right now. Also, Glyph Technologies is running a sale on its Thunderbolt 3 NVMe Docks, including the 2TB, 1TB, and No SSD version that can save you up to 36%. Both Adorama and Amazon are offering some great extras with Sigma fp Mirrorless Camera bundles that will save you about $100, and if you’re in the market for a new laptop, you can save $300 on a new 1TB Space Gray Macbook Pro. Finally, Adorama is running a special on the Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Power Pack Location Kit that saves you a whopping $1200.

Kessler 22.5″ Mini Stealth Slider

[deal id=”117666″]

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US Filmmaker Arrested While Documenting Pipeline Protest in Canada

US documentary filmmaker Melissa Cox had a run-in with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) this week while trying to document an indigenous protest in British Columbia. Despite the fact that she is a member of the press, the RCMP chose to arrest Cox, allegedly using “undue force” and tampering with her camera equipment in the aftermath.

Cox is currently working on a feature called “Yint’ah,” which documents the Wet’suwet’en First Nation land defenders’ efforts to resist a pipeline project by Coastal GasLink. On February 24th, while filming the arrest of Gitxsan hereditary Chief Spookw at a railroad blockade, the RCMP forcefully threw her camera to the ground and put her in handcuffs.

Later, they were seen tampering with the camera and “pressing various buttons,” according to a statement by the film’s producers.

Photo of the arresting officers.

Speaking with PetaPixel over email, Cox said that the RCMP were clearly trying to prevent her from documenting the arrest of 71 year-old Head House Chief and Matriarch Gwininitxw (Yvonne Lattie) on her own territory. The tactic ultimately worked, as Cox was unable to leave the scene or reposition herself.

Unfortunately, says Cox, this kind of behavior lines up with what she has been experiencing for the past several months.

“While reporting on Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Territories I have witnessed alarming levels of violent state repression of independent media,” she tells PetaPixel. “Since beginning to report on this issue of immense public importance, myself and my colleagues have been detained, repeatedly threatened with arrest, had our access limited by the imposition of an ‘illegal’ exclusion zone, and have been told what we can and cannot document (which included threats of arrest from RCMP if we documented tactical teams).”

“A free press is essential to a functioning democracy and is a pillar for peace,” she continued. “The repression of journalists covering this story across Canada is being enacted by police forces everywhere you look. The way that I was treated made me feel as if I was a targeted that needed to be neutralized.”

71 year-old Matriarch Gwininitxw (Yvonne Lattie) sitting on the tracks moments before her arrest.

Given that she was easily identifiable as press—Cox’ producers maintain the she was wearing NPPA credentials at the time of her arrest—the photojournalism community has reacted with understandable concern about what this kind of reaction means for freedom of the press in Canada.

“The NPPA is very concerned about reports of the arrest and treatment of Melissa Cox while she was documenting the protest,” NPPA President Andrew Stanfill tells PetaPixel. “We believe this work was in the public interest and we are working with the CPJ and other press groups in urging that the charges be dismissed.”

Meanwhile, Reporters without Borders (RSF) published its own statement on the arrest earlier today.

“RSF is deeply alarmed to learn the RCMP arrested a documentary filmmaker while she was covering the protests taking place in support of Wet’suwet’en Nation,” said Dokhi Fassihian, Executive Director of RSF’s North America bureau. “The authorities should not file charges against Melissa Cox. And further, the police must ensure journalists covering the Wet’suwet’en protests can do their work without fear of punitive action.”

Police line blocking the view of the matriarch’s arrest from the crowd.

Cox was released 7 hours after her arrest and has yet to be charged; however, she has been ordered to keep 10 meters off any Canadian National (CN) Rail property or work-site, and will need to appear in court on April 24th, when she will potentially “face further prosecution.” These conditions make it difficult, if not impossible, for her to continue her work by documenting further rail blockades.

In response to our request for comment, Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, District Advisory NCO of Media Relations for the RCMP North District, pointed us towards this RCMP press release about the arrests that took place on February 24th, and provided the following response:

I have not been able to speak to all those present during the arrests, but was advised that all those at the location were advised of the injunction, told to stand back, move off of the tracks and not to interfere with the police operations.

There were a number of people who were recording and we have not been able to confirm whether anyone identified themselves as a journalist or media. However, the police officer information and body camera recordings are being downloaded and compiled so they can be provided to the courts moving forward.

The press release confirms that the RCMP “attended and arrested a total of 14 individuals who refused to leave CN Rail’s private property (rail tracks),” in keeping with a court-ordered injunction obtained by CN Rail, but makes no mention of press in general or Ms. Cox in particular.


Image credits: Photos by Melissa Cox and used with permission.

Super slow motion effect for free

We’re back at it again: using machine learning to do cool stuff with video. This week it’s extreme slow motion, something difficult for conventional optical flow retiming tools to pull off. The tool is trained on high frame rate footage to be better at guiding motion vector warping when new frames are introduced, and potentially avoiding occlusion artifacts.

We have a quick video guide (under 8 minutes) of the installation and execution of the script on moviola.com, but if you prefer to read your words rather than watch them, here’s the rub:

Install into an Anaconda environment

This particular script is available as a repository on Github. If you’ve never downloaded from Github before, don’t be intimidated.

Just head to: https://github.com/avinashpaliwal/Super-SloMo (the repository for the slow motion script) and click the ‘Clone or download’ button at right to download a zip of everything.

You’ll also want to download the pre-trained ML model from here.

Then create a new Anaconda environment. Check out our previous article for the specific steps for this.

There are just a few dependencies you need to have installed to get the slow motion conversion to work. In Anaconda these can be installed with the following commands:

conda install torchvision -c pytorch
conda install -c conda-forge tqdm
conda install -c conda-forge ffmpeg

Run the ‘Super SloMo’ script

Running the script on your footage is pretty easy. You can slow motion encode any footage that ffmpeg supports (which is most of the modern codecs); for simplicity in the video walkthrough we just used MP4. Unfortunately the output is an MKV. Not ideal, but if you’re keen you can always go in and rewrite the script to support more standard export formats. I’ll show you in a bit how to convert the MKV to an MP4 using VLC player.

Make sure you’re in the same folder as the ‘video_to_slomo.py’ file (on Windows type ‘cd’ and then the path to the folder), and that you’ve copied the SuperSloMo.ckpt file you downloaded separately into the same folder. Then you can type:

python video_to_slomo.py --video [sourceFile] --sf [Speed] --checkpoint .SuperSloMo.ckpt --fps [fr] --output [outputFile]

Replace the text in brackets (replace the brackets as well) with the following:

[sourceFile] <- The full file path to the source clip, e.g. C:UsersmicroDocumentsmyVideo.mp4

[Speed] <- The slowdown multiplier. E.g. for quarter speed this would be 4

[fr] <- The source clip frame rate. E.g. for 24 fps footage, enter 24

[outputFile] <- The full file path and name of the slow motion file you want to create. NOTE: This needs to end in ‘.mkv’ since that’s the format the script’s designed to export to.

You may see some warnings when you run the command; check out the video for more details.

Convert the MKV to a standard format

If you’re wondering what an MKV file is, then you’re not a Blu-ray pirate. OK, that’s a little unfair; there are legitimate reasons for using MKV. It’s a media container in the way that QuickTime and MP4 are containers. Developed in Russia and open-sourced, it’s become a popular format for ripping Blu-ray media to digital files.

Never fear: VLC Player can convert it to a format your NLE will be able to work with. In VLC just choose Media > Convert/Save, locate the MKV to convert, pick a profile, then click the settings button (the wrench icon) to modify individual codec settings. Finally choose a destination file name and location and click ‘Start.’ Done.

You’ll find that this slow motion tool will work better in most cases than standard optical flow alone. In some cases it will be marginally worse. In an upcoming article I’ll actually walk through the process of fixing retimes when the optical flow and the AI fail you and you’re left with a bubbly mess. (No shot is truly impossible, it’s just a matter of how much money/time you have to throw at it.)