Category Archives: Comment

Testing Times

 

Testing kit is essential, whether it is a new purchase or just something you’ve hired in or borrowed. User manuals are great as are the hundreds of user videos on Vimeo and YouTube but actually testing and playing with a bit of kit gives you the opportunity to try things others have not thought of or in situations unique to you.

Next week we’ve got a time lapse running from Monday to Wednesday for a client using a GoPro HD Hero2. The reason we have opted for this camera is a result of several factors but mainly due to power, the GoPro can be powered from the mains using a mini USB adapter. This means the camera can be set up and left to run for the whole time using a large SD card. This brings the cost down for the client and hassle for us.

On this occasion the client is supplying their own camera but relying on us to capture the sequence. To that end I have bought my own GoPro HD Hero2 and started the testing. It is something I have wanted an excuse to buy any way and am sure it will get used in the future anyway. So today the testing started with a time lapse test on a drive from home to Pinewood Studios. I set the camera to shoot at half second intervals and I turned off the spot meter.

One thing I find out that I hadn’t read about was the fact that the GoPro seems to have a folder max size of 999 images and when it hits that limit it creates and starts a new folder. This of course means that multiple image sequences had to be created in QuickTime Pro. These were then edited together in FCP 7. Music came from audionetwork costing a whole £1 for a non commercial licence . Rather that then ripping something off itunes and not paying for it even if the project is non profit. Musicians are artists too. There are many instances where the internet becomes enraged when a filmmaker or photographer has their work is used without permission and shared with the world so it’s a shame so many don’t seem to have the same respect for other artist’s work.

 

An Education

I will start with I know nothing more or less than anyone else I just know different things from my experiences and education.

The other day I walked past my old university on my way to meet a couple of actors for a upcoming project. It wasn’t a campus I ever spent much time in if any but it was my old university all the same. Nothing much had changed, the same people stood outside, rain or shine smoking. The voices and faces may have changed but these were the same people I remembered.

There has been lots of talk about the merits of an education, a university education specifically, much of it has centred around the cost involved. It’s a tough decision for those weighing up their options and the lines of opinion seem pretty much divided these days between those who have been, being for and those who haven’t against. I went and oddly enough my friends are pretty much divided between those who went and those who didn’t. Each on are successful in there in their own area, most of the non degree friends wrk in the film industry although I have notices more and more people getting degrees and coming into the industry a little later than ten years ago.

Does anyone actually need a degree in the film industry, probably not. Most of the time the most qualified person on any film set will be the one person that is left of the film credits’ the Unit Nurse. The film industry has always trained it’s own and and had trainees in every department, people paid and learning on the job. The trainee position is essential, its the runners, camera trainees, people who are a vital job and get to learn how to do the nest job up the food change, such as clapper loader or third assistant director. These aren’t purely trainee positions they are important jobs in their own right. Continue reading »

Nothing To See Here

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Everyday people, companies and organisations all try to get our attention and garner our interest. This is what advertising is essentially about. For years communicating advertising messages to large sways of the population was restricted by money, the more money you had the more people you could reach. But heres the thing advertisers and advertising agencies have always known it’s not the quantity of people you reach its the right kind of people you reach. It is advertisings 101.

Today it is cheaper to connect with a mass audience using the web, advertising revenues are huge for the web at large and porthole sites such as google. Web advertising predominantly relies on click throughs from one site to another whether it be sales or information and this is the fundamental difference between traditional advertising, print, TV, radio and the web. Traditional advertising wants to take you somewhere else from where you hear or see an ad, that or in gauge a emotional connection or notion about a product or brand which outlasts your connection to the advert. If traditional advertising didn’t still work we wouldn’t have free to air TV still. Continue reading »

The Dangers of Sound

HDSLR’s have a problem.  The problem I am told is sound.  No the reason I say told is, is I don’t believe it. HDSLR’s and by that I predominantly speak of the Canon’s are lacking in the sound department, with the inability to manually control or even monitor the sound as it’s recorded.  On top of that internal mic is not great and it only has a single 3.5mm mic input jack.  So on paper the camera is as I am told rubbish when it comes to sound and people moan about it, or more over bore me to death about what it can’t do. It is worth remembering it is a stills camera that shoots video and not a video camera that takes stills. I actually think this is all positive and here is why. Having sound attached to the camera can be simply dangerous.

Continue reading »

Death of 16mm Film Somewhat Exaggerated

Twitter has been alive today with reports that Soho Images will no longer print 16mm film. There has even been a petition set up to get them to change their  minds  Now Deluxe, Soho images new owner has it’s main UK lab in Denham and as for as I am aware it stopped processing 16mm film back in the day when it was called Rank ilm Labs and  that was some time ago.

Should we be worried by Deluxe’s plans? I think not. Sad? A little possibly, less people will get the experience of playing their rushes on a projector or cutting it on a Steenbeck.  There is something very tactile and gratifying about film, but it is also very frustrating sometimes.  I’m lucky I learnt to edit on four and six plate Steenbeck’s. But today there is to real arena for 16mm projection or need for printing with the advent of relatively cheap edit systems like Final Cut Pro and Avid.  Films that are shot on 16mm like most 35mm films these days go through a digital intermediate process, scanned to telecine it, edited, selectively scanned, graded and then shot back to film or mastered into a DCP (Digital Cinema Package). Very little 16mm film is actually edited by hand. and the skills are somewhat redundant.

16mm or super 16mm is still a great format for image acquisition film has a huge latitude beyond the digital poster boy, The Red. It should be noted that widescreen 16mm,Super 16mm does not have room on the negative for an optical or magnetic sound track, making it pretty useless for projection without the use of a double header projector, running the film and sound separately.

16mm and super 16mm  cameras are more generally reliable than the Red camera by a country mile as well, less to go wrong.  The film itself can be manipulated to get fantastics looks with a good DOP and there is still lots of great kit that was designed to last a life time.  Film cameras don’t get replaced, they get repaired that is how they were designed and there is still lots of it around with sets of gorgeous image producing lenses. So lets not shed too many tears yet, 16mm is still alive and will. Improvement in film emulsions and scanners will along with people wanting to create interesting looks probably will keep 16mm around for some time yet.

Recent films shot or partly shot on super 16mm film include, Black Swan and The Hurt Locker.