Tag Archives: Equipment

Winner Takes All

Winner Takes All from Christopher Hughes on Vimeo.

Back in the dark ages, 1997 I directed a short film, Winner Takes All as part of my final degree course work at the University of Westminster. My course Contemporary Media Practice spanned four disciplines, Film, Photography, Video and Digital Imagery, that and having a rather good time. Looking back I think I may have highest marks in the having rather good time part.

Winner Takes All has barely seen light of day ever since it was made, but for a couple of degree show screening, back in 97. The copy here is only on I have a digitised version of a Beta Sp playout from the avid it was cut on, so quality is not the best compared with todays technical standards.

The Film was shot over five days, easter 97, in Essex, Islington and Harrow campus of the University of Westminster. The film was shot Kodak negative  using 16mm Arriflex SR2 and prime lenses. The negative was processed and TK’d by Metrocolor. Editing was done on Avid at  Jim Bambrick and Associates.
Winner takes All stars Tom Lovegrove, Tony Gabriel and Mark Benton, with me doing a bit of a Hitchcock at the end.

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.

Freeing Old Negatives

There use to be a time when people would quite often only shoot one roll of film a year.  The roll would either contain 24 or 36 exposures and would have a family Christmas at the beginning then a sumer holiday and then at the end of the roll the start of the next Christmas.  Today we all takes more pictures than ever before. Not only do we take more we probably share them more with email, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.  But what about all those old negatives we have in draws, packets and files? Just like that pile of CDs that are now on the computer it’s possible to do the same with those negatives.  Film scanners can be relatively cheaply bought either new or on Ebay.  Use it  to scan all your  archive and then you can stick it back on Ebay or pass it on to a friend to do theirs. Last thing any of us want is another un-unsed box cluttering the place up.

Here are a few I scanned in the other day.  Most of the negatives are from my work as Picture editor at the University of Westminster Students’ Union fortnightly magazine, The Smoke.  Most of the photos were shot using either my  my trusty Olympus OM2n, using a mixture of Ilford HP5 and Delta 400. The scanner is no way be means up to modern standards, it’s ten years old and has lived in a draw for much of that time. The software is not great and the whole thing is rather temperamental but its nice to rediscover images that I had forgotten. The scanned negs have not been altered but for the removal of the odd bit of dust, just shows how good the faithfully thirty something year old OM2 is.

 

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Aussie Bloggers’ Christmas Markets

Aussie Bloggers’ Christmas Markets from 1000heads on Vimeo.

I edited this just before Christmas using Final Cut Pro at Angelic Films office in Pinewood Studios, whilst surrounded by snow.  Although not shot by me it was shot entirely using my Canon 5D mk2 and a Rode Videomic, over two days in December.

The Best Camera.

Although I am very lucky to have some great equipment I don’t have it will be 24/7. However I more likely than not to have my iPhone with me.  My iPhone allows me to quickly take photographs with out much effort at all. “The best camera is the one you have with you” to quote Chase Jarvis.

The iPhone like many mobile phones as an incredible camera built into it which alone a few years ago would have cost more than the phone itself does today.  This is great for everyone and unlike traditional cameras and I include film and digital in that, it is far easier and quicker to show and share your pictures with others via MMS picture message, by email,  or social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.  Now of this will come as any great headline news I would imagine but with a new raft of Apps for the iPhone it is even easier to create even more stunning and interesting images where once you would have needed thousands of pounds worth of software to do so.  My current favourite App is Best Camera created by photographer Chase Jarvis.  Best Camera, unlike other photo Apps gives you the ability to create your own unique look by stacking a selection of filters on top of one another and there by giving you greater input into how the final image will look.  Best Camera also allows you to share to all your social media, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, email and to it’s one community gallery in a couple of clicks once you have set it up. Genius!

A few recent iphone photos.