This summer’s record-setting heat wave is enhancing storylines in Low Winter Sun, a 10-part AMC series shot in Detroit that premieres August 11. The show is a co-production of Endemol Studios and AMC Studio. The ensemble cast includes Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty) and Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Jericho).
Julian Assange and the story of what came to be called WikiLeaks inspires strong opinions. It’s a tale that includes so many threads: our secretive government, operating in a democracy whose lifeblood is the free flow of information; the controversial wars waged since the September 11 attacks; the interrelated information and internet revolutions. Some say Assange is a hacker hero, a peace-loving truth-teller, and an icon and martyr for freedom of speech. Others are sure he’s a villain, a sociopath and a thief who could have followed journalistic convention and released information in a way that didn’t endanger good people around the world.
Christopher Guest’s latest project, the HBO original series Family Tree, features many of the hallmarks of the other “mockumentary” films he’s directed, including This Is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman and For Your Consideration. All of these comedic films feature actors playing unselfconsciously funny characters with sincere, if somewhat ridiculous, aspirations. Guest’s modus operandi often involves improvised scenes, ensemble casts and Super 16 film. The latter three films were made with the same cinematographer: Roberto Schaefer, ASC.
The documentary film Call Me Kuchu presents the harrowing stories of gay rights activists in Uganda and the anti-homosexuality politics they are up against. Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall joined forces in making the documentary and running all aspects of production as a crew of two.
How did you approach Call Me Kuchu?
Paul Schrader has been a major force in filmmaking since the early 1970s as the screenwriter of films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ, and as director on quite a few others, including American Gigolo, the epic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters and the Bob Crane biopic Auto Focus. So it was news when he and bestselling author Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, American Psycho) announced they were using Kickstarter to try to raise about $100,000 to make a micro-budget feature.
The Lifetime feature Anna Nicole, which aired on the cable channel toward the end of June, attracted as much attention for its director—Canada’s Mary Harron—as it did for its lurid portrayal of the model/tabloid star and her prodigious assets.
Multimedia artist Doug Aitken is not intimidated by large spaces. When he was commissioned by art patron and philanthropist Bagley Wright to create an outdoor installation for the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), Aitken responded with a 12-story LED display that wraps around the northwest corner of the museum’s façade in downtown Seattle.
In the late 1980s, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg was a working class neighborhood populated by small manufacturers, family-owned butchers and auto repair shops. The city’s bohemians—artists, writers and filmmakers—began to filter into the area, establishing themselves in commercial loft spaces built out with DIY ingenuity and old-fashioned elbow grease. Williamsburg landlords turned a blind eye, and an artistic community blossomed and thrived. Then, in 2005, the neighborhood began to change.
Fresnels have been around for quite a while. They have evolved with increasing efficiency, reaching a pinnacle of lighting achievement with Litepanels’ Sola 4 and Inca 6. These two Fresnels, distinguished by their size, color temperature and output, are miserly LED fixtures that combine all the features that make LED lights great.
The JVC GY-HM70 proves conclusively that the under-$2,000 camcorder market is alive and well. While DSLRs and large-sensor cameras seem to get most of the hype these days—users flock to them, and for very good reason—there are many shooting scenarios in which the conventional video camera may actually be the better tool for the job.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Kurtis Hough (@kurtishough on Twitter) is a digital artist and filmmaker who has been making experimental time lapse films for more than a decade. Hough’s interest in the rhythms of the natural world is evident in his work, which combines the visual style of a nature documentary with CG animation to create a dreamlike, otherworldly feel.
Sam Levy, best known for his sensitive cinematography on Kelly Reichardt’s hit Wendy and Lucy, recently turned his eye to Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha. Shot in subdued black and white and co-written by Baumbach and lead actor Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha follows an amateur dancer as she tries to hold on too tightly to her best friend and her youth.
Greta Gerwig as Frances and Mickey Sumner as Sophie
Baumbach, whose resume includes Greenberg, The Squid and the Whale, and Margot at the Wedding, was introduced to Levy by the late Harris Savides, ASC.
As its title suggests, Orange Is the New Black is not exactly a typical women-behind-bars TV series. Based on Piper Kerman’s 2010 prison memoir and executive produced by Jenji Kohan (Weeds), the show is a dark comedy. It’s also the latest in the growing list of Netflix original series rollouts, which means all 13 episodes of the first season will be made available simultaneously, albeit only via streaming, to Netflix’s 37 million subscribers in 40 countries.
Director Zal Batmanglij’s The East caught the buzz at the Sundance and SXSW film festivals. It was produced by Scott Free Productions with Fox Searchlight Pictures. Not bad for the young director’s sophomore outing.
Life is full of noise, most of it produced by the electrical devices in motion all around us. So what does a world without electricity sound like? Fans of NBC’s Revolution hear it every week, though they have to use their electric television sets to do so.
It’s Friday morning and the phone is ringing.
“Howard here. I need a 10-minute video about my new product. Can you do it?”
“Sure, how about 10 tomorrow. I’ll shoot it greenscreen.”
Greenscreen is a quick fix. If I’m an expert in anything, it’s fast, painless greenscreen.
We do it in our living room. From normal domestic family room to greenscreen deluxe studio—voilà, 15 minutes flat!
The Lowel Rifa light goes here, the chair and mic here. The Dedolight greenscreen light right behind the speaker; the greenscreen itself, at the back of the room. I’ll add a touch of Dedo backlight on hair or skimming the dark side of the face.
A skier soars from a mountaintop, taking viewers along for the adrenaline rush. Motocross fans get a ground-level view of the tension at the starting line before the gates drop. An IndyCar speeds around a curve, and the driver’s viewpoint appears on screen.
GoPro athlete Shaun White takes several GoPro HERO3s up in the air for a test flight
It’s the evolution of the point-of-view camera that permits these behind-the-scenes perspectives, allowing broadcasters to accentuate their productions and provide new angles of coverage.
From birds to mammals to reptiles, there are lots of cute and cuddly animals in the world. Perhaps few believed sloths belonged on that list, though, at least until Lucy Cooke (@amphib_avenger on Twitter) turned her attention to them in a series of popular videos on Animal Planet and Vimeo.