Zaxcom has just announced that they too will be withdrawing from NAB 2020. We are just over 40 days until NAB 2020 and it doesn’t look like the Coronavirus situation is going to disappear anytime soon. SXSW 2020 which is in Austin, Texas has also been completely cancelled over Covid-19 fears. Zaxcom is sad to … Continued
The Australian Associated Press (AAP) has announced that it will be closing down in June, marking the end of the 85-year-old news agency and leaving many award-winning photojournalists out of a job as the Australian editorial landscape adjusts to the loss.
The closure—which was announced on March 3rd by majority shareholders Nine Entertainment and News Corp Australia—is being blamed on the rapidly changing media landscape that has rendered the wire service “no longer viable.”
“This difficult decision has been forced by the decline in the number of media companies subscribing to the news wire service in recent years,” reads the AAP press release. “The unprecedented impact of the digital platforms that take other people’s content and distribute it for free has led to too many companies choosing to no longer use AAP’s professional service. We have reached the point where it is no longer viable to continue.”
Too many of AAP’s former customers are relying on Google and Facebook, said AAP CEO Bruce Davidson.
Australian Associated Press employees look on in the Melbourne office as AAP CEO Bruce Davidson announces that Australia’s news wire is no longer viable. @aap_photos @AAPNewswire #auspol pic.twitter.com/je2RbBeMX4
— James Ross (@jamesrossphotog) March 3, 2020
“AAP has been a critical part of journalism in Australia since 1935, and it is tragic that it will come to an end,” laments Davidson. “Our reporters, photographers, videographers and production staff are second to none.”
180 journalists, including some of the best photojournalists in Australia, will lose their jobs when the AAP officially shuts down on June 26th. And while the release does mention that News Corp and Nine will both be expanding their own news teams, it’s unclear if any of those new jobs will involve photography. As Inside Imaging points out, both News Corp and Fairfax Media—which recently merged with Nine Entertainment—are major clients of Getty Images.
(via The Guardian)
Blackmagic Design Video Assist 12G HDR series adds RAW support for Panasonic EVA1 and Canon C300 MK II cameras.
The Video Assist 12G HDR series from Blackmagic Design recently received a colorimetry update, and now with Video Assist 3.1 and Blackmagic RAW 1.7, both 5″ and 7″ models support Blackmagic RAW recording for Panasonic EVA1 and Canon EOS C300 MK II cameras.
SXSW joins the Hollywood panic over the coronavirus by canceling its 2020 event.
On Friday, March 6, Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Texas, announced that the film, music, and interactive industry conference South by Southwest was to be canceled because of the pandemic of COVID-19, or coronavirus.
Adler held a press conference where he said: “Based on the recommendation of our public health officer and our director of public health, and after our consultation with the city manager, I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city In association with that, I’ve issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest for this year.”
SXSW was slated to run from March 13 through 22nd. It’s a special event that’s incredibly fun and a great place for the industry to debut genre-focused film and television shows.
This comes on the coattails of the new Bond movie shifting its debut to November and Hollywood set to lose $5 billion to the virus.
Fifty thousand people signed a Change.org petition to cancel the event, so at least someone is happy.
The “Surreal Beauty” of Venice is a documentary style for a TV series and potentially IMAX film, a challenge that cinematographer Peter Chang accepts with a smile. He just loves to break the rules!
Peter Chang is known for his work for the IMAX giant-screen, on documentaries as Jerusalem (2013) and America Wild: National Parks Adventure (2016). He recently completed his latest film, Cuba, which won the Best Documentary award at the 34th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival where it received great reviews, including from members of the large Cuban American population of south Florida.
The film is primarily available with a 44-minute run time, but a 20-minute version has been made available for a select number of venues. Cuba has begun releasing to museums, educational institutions and other giant screen and IMAX venues. Watch the YouTube clip and you’ll want to to go and see the whole film.
Filmed exclusively for the giant screen format Peter Cheng loves so much, Cuba tells the powerful story of a land preserved in time yet poised on the cusp of dramatic change. The nation’s vibrant culture, meticulously maintained colonial architecture, and pristine ecosystems provide a vivid window into the island’s history and spirit. To capture the spirit of the place, Peter Chang broke with tradition and used Cooke S7/I full frame prime lenses, adding close-ups for the portrait-oriented sections of award-winning IMAX and giant-screen presentation. He had used the lenses previously, in another project, and was eager to explore further.
Breaking the rules of IMAX with Cooke lenses
“Cuba is focused on the beauty, spirit and character of this Caribbean country and its people,” said Chang. “One of the primary stories in the film centers around a young ballerina. I was really looking forward to using the Cookes as we knew we would be shooting on stage with challenging theatrical stage lighting, and breaking that sort of giant screen IMAX norm of not having any close-ups. That’s exactly what we did — shot some close-ups of her face, which came out beautifully.”
“IMAX has flat screens that are typically used for 3D, and you also have dome theatres where you’re looking at the bottom half of a 1.43 image and then the rest of it is over your head and you’re not typically looking at that,” explained Chang. “A close-up has to be framed in that bottom half or third of the image. With an image as big as we’re projecting – at times, 90 feet x 65 feet or more – a close-up can be rather jarring because you can see a lot of the imperfections on people’s faces, you can see the makeup on their skin and blemishes that can be unattractive, but I wanted to see how far we could push it with our ballerina to gain more intimacy.”
Shooting for TV and IMAX
The experience was important, because it shows how the cinematographer Peter Chang likes to break the rules. In fact, he is doing it again, also with Cooke S7s in his toolkit. This time at another location, where this past Summer, the award-winning cinematographer and documentary film director embarked on an assignment any visual artist would dream of – capturing the beauty of one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Venice, Italy on the northern shore of the Adriatic Sea.
“We are shooting for a documentary TV series and potentially an IMAX film, but both are still works in progress and under wraps so I can’t talk about them in too much detail yet,” says Chang.
What he can talk about is the challenge of capturing the architecture, canals, and the people who live and work in Venice in a way that serves the panoramic demands of IMAX and the more intimate images seen at home or on a mobile device. “We have to frame for multiple formats. IMAX is weighted to wider angle shots, whereas something for television is going to have a lot more close-ups,” says Chang. “Finding that balance is a challenge.”
A tripod for small studio setups
It all sounds much like the balance struck when filming Cuba. To meet that challenge, Chang brought in the finest tools of his trade – large format cameras like the Alexa LF, the Sony Venice system, and the Red Monstro. Lenses included ARRI’s Signature Primes and Cooke S7s. “I wanted a certain creaminess to the lens to add to the surreal nature of Venice,” says Chang. The director shot the video “Venice in Venice” used to promote the Sony Venice system in 2018.
For camera support, Chang brought along a Ronin II and a Cartoni Focus 22 tripod system, one of the most versatile supports in the Cartoni range. It supports payloads up to 49 lbs making it an excellent choice for cinematographers or small studio setups. And for Chang, the Cartoni performed great, and opened the door for some different ways of work.
“There’s a lot to love about the tripod,” said Chang. “The head performance on the Focus 22 is very smooth and stable no matter what the payload was and we had some pretty heavy loads. The Cartoni is designed and fabricated very well with a broad range in terms of pan and tilts. I was introduced to Cartoni tripods by my producing partner Steve Gibby, who is a highly experienced cinematographer and a longtime user of Cartoni tripod systems.”
Using a Cartoni to support a Ronin
“Shooting in Venice means you are going to be very near the water, sometimes in boats, and there are plenty of instances when using a tripod made a lot of sense such as shooting indoors including portraits, statues and other works of art or even just static, framed shots.”
Chang says the advent of stabilizers and gimbals such as a Ronin II have only added to a tripod’s effectiveness. “Sometimes we would use the Ronin as a remote head by putting that on top of the Cartoni. There are different ways to use it that aren’t necessarily traditional but that are versatile and work in combination with other tools,” says Chang.
“It was refreshing to use a tripod on this shoot,” says Peter Chang, whose recent IMAX offering, the documentary on Cuba, relied heavily on movement. It’s as if he is rewriting all the rules applied to shooting for IMAX. The results, as seen in Cuba and the footage available from Venice suggest he is creating some new visuals from places that have been filmed over and over. It may have to do, too, with the way he approaches his subjects.
A less conventional career path
Chang describes his shooting style as story-driven and informed by an education at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California and a stint at the campus newspaper where the director worked as a photographer. “That’s where I developed my love for the image,” says Chang. “I was able to take advantage of the convergence between DSLR stills and video, and you know the Canon 5D Mark II was a major shift to being able to shoot high-quality video on the same camera used for still photography.”
He says tripods are handy to put on dollies or to get the shot low to the ground. “I am glad I had the tripod because Steadicams and gimbals have taken off to where there is a temptation to leave the tripod behind in the truck, or in Venice, the boat. ” One beneficial aspect of the Cartoni says Peter Chang is that it isn’t bulky or heavy. “But having it with you – having it in your tool bag – it’s just a versatile option to have.”
Chang’s career path didn’t go down the more conventional route through film school. He studied English Literature and Creative Writing in college. His advice for aspiring filmmakers is to “develop and explore your curiosity for subjects and places and stories” and then figure out how to approach that in terms of your craft. “The craft is something that is easy to learn and you can always find people that are skilled to support you,” says Chang. “The hardest thing is to find a story to tell and how to tell it.”
Peter Chang has shown he is more than up to the challenge of capturing the surreal beauty of Venice, even as the city is besieged by record flooding. Chang’s interpretation of Venice and its “surreal beauty” may be his most brilliant work yet.
French photographer Hadrien Picard was recently put to the test by his friends at Red Bull. In one of their recent “Pressure Shot” episodes, Red Bull challenged Picard to capture a full photo essay with BMX star Matthias Dandois. The catch? He had to capture the whole thing in a single roll of 36 exposures.
Challenge any modern-day photographer to capture a dynamite photo series in only 36 shots total and you’ll get people sweating. Add in a sports photography component—a genre where you can easily fire off 36 shots in less than 3 seconds with the most recent flagships—and the pressure to make every shot count really starts to build.
For his “weapon of choice,” Picard borrowed a Nikon F100 from a friend and loaded it with a roll of his favorite black and white film: Kodak Tri-X 400. Then he and Dandois hit the streets, shooting only natural light and hoping to capture as many keepers as possible.
You can watch the full behind the scenes episode up top, and then scroll down to see some of the keepers that Picard was able to capture with only 36 shots at his disposal:
Speaking with Red Bull after the fact, Picard summed up the pros and cons of shooting film vs digital in this kind of environment:
“It’s a weird feeling, you’re obviously less sure of what you’re doing so I was a little stressed… in a way I think it’s cool to accept having less control & just let go,” says Picard. “BUT you sometimes take fewer risks, since you can’t see what you’re doing. For example, it’s hard to know exactly which slow shutter speed will look good with film, so sometimes you don’t dare to take the risk.”
Check out the full behind the scenes up top, and if you want to see more from Picard—who usually shoots goes through a few more than 36 frames per photo shoot—head over to his website or give him a follow on Instagram.
Image credits: All photos by Hadrien Picard, and used with permission.
Oregon Doc Camp, a four-day retreat for nonfiction filmmakers, is now accepting applications.
Documentary filmmaking can be a lonely pursuit. Now in its 7th year, Oregon Doc Camp provides a chance for documentary filmmakers to build community and develop their careers amidst the natural beauty of Oregon. Oregon Doc Camp is now accepting applications for this year’s event, which will be held from May 14-17 at Silver Falls State Park, about an hour and a half south of Portland.
This year’s programming will focus on 2 themes: Story and Impact. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from an impressive roster of nonfiction filmmakers and other industry experts, including this year’s keynote speaker, the legendary Frederick Wiseman.
Band Pro’s in-house Service Department will be conducting free camera and lens evaluations. Space is limited and available on a first-come-first-served basis. RSVP by calling (818) 841-9655. Ask for the Service Department and make your free Service Day appointment. read more…