In a departure from recent nature documentaries such as Planet Earth and Life that scoured the entire planet to capture living things in their exotic surroundings, the newest Discovery Channel project keeps it much closer to home. North America, the stunningly visual seven-part series from Silverback Films, premieres May 19. Narrated by Tom Selleck, it’s Discovery’s first independently produced nature series.
It’s been incredibly interesting to watch the rise (and fall) (and occasionally astonishing rise) of crowdfunded filmmaking. I love the principle of micro-investors collectively “backing” a film, and I especially love the democracy of it, that people can influence and participate in the production a film. (Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars Kickstarter film raised almost $6,000,000, proving there exists a film people really want to see.)
You can think of high-speed photography as having its genesis with Eadweard Muybridge’s series of shots of a galloping horse in 1878 that proved the steed did indeed have all of its hooves off the ground simultaneously at a point in its stride. To film that famous shot, Muybridge used a series of cameras triggered sequentially. The photos were later displayed either via a spinning disk or like a strip of film.
Send British naturalist and documentarian David Attenborough to the native habitat of virtually any creature in the world and he’s certain to deliver a fascinating expose paired with compelling footage of never-before-seen behaviors.
Following an involuntary “hiatus” of more than seven years, an entirely new fourth season of the critically praised, low-rated Fox sitcom Arrested Development becomes available exclusively for Netflix streaming on May 26 at 12:01 a.m. PST. As with Netflix’s initial foray into original content production earlier this year with the first-season release of the Kevin Spacey political thriller House of Cards, the Arrested Development release is widely expected to spur weekend binge viewing parties over the Memorial Day weekend by a few million fans of the Jason Bateman cult sitcom.
Hi5-4K and ROI Mini-Converters
AJA’s Hi5-4K Mini-Converter provides a simple monitoring connection from professional 4K devices using four 3G-SDI outputs to new and upcoming consumer 4K displays equipped with 4K-capable 1.4a HDMI inputs. Compatible with HD workflows, Hi5-4K is also a flexible Mini-Converter for HD workflows requiring 3G/HD-SDI to HDMI conversion. Hi5-4K is shipping soon for $595.
Talent from Chicago’s Beast, Company 3 and Method Studios recently collaborated to finish Nike’s “No Angel." Nike wanted “No Angel” to create a distinct and relatable identity for the sprawling, image-obsessed, Los Angeles market while paying homage to the City of Angels’ celebrated obsession with the spotlight. The piece was directed by Go Film’s Brigg Bloomquist for San Francisco boutique shop Union Made Creative.
Autodesk attracted a lot of attention last year with the revamped version of Smoke for Mac OS X. I had originally been working on a review with the earlier version (Smoke 2012) but held off when I found out Smoke 2013 was just around the corner. Indeed, the more “Mac-like” refresh wowed 2012 NAB Show attendees, but it took until December to come to market. In that time, Autodesk built on the input received from users who tested it during this lengthy public beta period.
Noise Industries was one of the first plug-in developers to leverage the power of the GPU by tapping into the core image component of Mac OS X. This approach took off when Apple added the FxPlug architecture to Final Cut Pro. From this start, Noise Industries has been able to develop its FxFactory product into both a powerful filter package and a platform to add filters from partner companies.
Let’s get right to the elephant in the room. Blackmagic Design is having problems delivering the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. The camera was announced at last year’s NAB Show and slated for shipment 90 days after that, though defects in the sensor (from a third-party manufacturer) set deliveries back months. Now, a year later, shipments are beginning to catch up with the backorders. It is my opinion that the user rage directed against Blackmagic on the forums (where you can say anything you want without your mother telling you to mind your manners) is unwarranted and unfair. Blackmagic worked earnestly to solve the sensor manufacturing problems and to be as transparent as possible to its customers during this process.
I make a little film—no, I mean video—for Mary. She comes here, sees it once and loves it.
“Put it on our YouTube channel and make me a couple of DVDs.”
Six Kodak Carousel projectors controlled by either Electrosonic or AVL boxes
“Want to see it again?”
“No, it’s perfect. Send me the invoice.”
A week later, via e-mail: “Stefan, we all love it but the general feeling is we should add a title at the start. Ken has written some words....”
How come last week it was perfect and now it needs a title?
Last month in DV101, I examined the issue of infrared contamination. I discussed the problems of IR radiation with digital cameras, especially when light is severely attenuated with neutral density filters. A couple months ago I spent a day at CamTec Motion Picture Cameras with cinematographers Christopher Probst, Phil Holland and Jesse Brunt to test a number of infrared-cutting filters on both the RED EPIC and the ARRI Alexa. Last month I shared the results of tests with the RED EPIC; this month we’ll revisit that test and see how our filters worked on the Alexa.
Judging our yearly NAB Best in Show Digital Video Black Diamond Awards isn’t pretty. We shut our editors, writers and tech experts in a windowless room, bury them in brochures and spec sheets, and feed them nothing but Twizzlers and diet soda. Despite the Twizzlers hangover, every year I am excited about the discoveries made on the NAB Show exhibit floor and the technological innovations these products reflect. I love the moment when a judge extracts something from a backpack pocket and says, “Can you believe nobody thought of this before?” These are the innovations we think will allow you to work faster and smarter.
To determine how much cable I need for a project, I use a rolling ruler like those used by police officers at accident scenes. The problem is that camera cables, which are usually made in Japan, are labeled in meters and the roller, made in the USA, measures in feet. To bring peace between the nations, I printed a small label listing the conversions for the most common cable lengths and pasted it on the roller.
82 ft. = 25 m
164 ft. = 50 m
246 ft. = 75 m
328 ft. = 100 m
Increase the brightness of available light during a field shoot by replacing the bulbs in table lamps and other practical fixtures with photo floods or 300 watt normal lamps. Watch out for overheating.
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t find a new way to use my iPad in pro video work. Here are three quality apps that make my professional life a bit easier.
Dale Grahn Color
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is also the greatest way to learn.
Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning novelist Philip Roth has remained elusive and controversial since his entrée on the literary scene more than 50 years ago. He’s granted relatively few interviews for someone of his stature. In the closest he’s come to a memoir, the deceptively titled The Facts: A Novelist’s Autobiography, he lays out the story of his life. Then, in a long epilogue in the voice of alter ego Nathan Zuckerman, he assaults the validity of the narrative.
Philip Roth stands in the garden of his Connecticut home during filming for American Masters Philip Roth: Unmasked. Photo courtesy of François Reumont.
Netflix wasted no time in the wake of its highly publicized (and reportedly quite successful) launch of House of Cards as an exclusive original series in February. Its next original series, the 13-episode Hemlock Grove, debuted on April 19. Like the earlier Kevin Spacey vehicle, all episodes of Hemlock Grove were released for streaming simultaneously (and commercial-free) to Netflix’s 30 million subscribers in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Latin America, Brazil and Scandinavia.
A monument to complexity, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece The Shining has so many layers and cultural points of reference that it practically invites the viewer to read his own subconscious directly into the film. In the decades since its release, a cult of devotees has emerged, fans who claim to have decoded the movie’s secret messages addressing everything from the genocide of Native Americans to a range of government plots, including a cover-up of the purportedly faked 1969 Apollo Moon landing.