Reality Is Relative

How Rango’s photo-realism is changing the future of movies

Misinformation isn’t always unintentional. As Martin Scorsese’s Hugo made lovingly clear, filmmakers have always been magicians and illusionists, expertly blurring the line between reality and fantasy. But while early audiences naively ducked and scattered at the novel sight of a train thundering toward them on the silver screen, audiences... Read more

Modern Sound Reports

Recording stereo, and apps for writing sound reports

RECORDING IN STEREO Q I’m embarking on my first student film and want to record the sound in stereo. Assuming the film will end up mixed in stereo or surround, is this a good idea? Ari R. Via email A You ask a simple question that actually has a pretty complex answer. Anytime you record or play back stereo signal, you’re creating or re-creating... Read more

Monitor Problems

Tips for proper viewing

Q We all know that when we attach a monitor to a DSLR, the screen on the camera goes black and the image is shown on the monitor. But what if I want the director/producer to see the footage without having to follow the DP around? Is there a way to attach a second monitor and maybe even make it wireless? I’ve been looking around for setups, but... Read more

Over/Under

Does HDR help take the art away from cinematography?

One of the most difficult tasks for a director of photography is controlling the contrast range between highlights and shadows. This technique usually separates the good cinematographers from the bad, and oftentimes differentiates the look of film versus video since one of the biggest giveaways for video is blown-out highlights. So far this year, the... Read more

Tanks For The Memories

A film production newbie learns some valuable lessons

For years, I dreamed of being in films, so after the Army, I came into contact with a local FX and stunt coordinator. It wasn’t long before my phone rang with my first job offer. There I was, standing on my first set complete with pyrotechnics, WWII tanks and people barking orders in what might as well have been Latin. My job was easy: I’d... Read more

LUTs, Looks And Scene Files

What’s the difference?

At a recent AbelCine seminar introducing the new ALEXA Studio camera, I gave a presentation on ARRI’s Look Files and their online LUT generator. Afterwards, several people asked me to describe the difference between a Look File and a LUT. I explained that ARRI’s Look Files were more like Scene Files. It seemed like an easy answer, but it... Read more

iRecord

Recording sound with iOS devices, plus lavalier mic options

iPHONE/iPOD TOUCH/iPAD SOLUTIONS Q Is it possible to record professional-level audio with my iPhone? William F. Via email A I hate to answer a question with a question, but the big one that comes to mind is, "Why?" If you’re asking just to see if it’s possible to do, the answer is yes, it’s possible to record fairly decent-quality... Read more

New Categories

The RED Scarlet-X vs. the Canon EOS C300

When the RED ONE was released back in 2007 at a price point of $17,500 (body only), it created a whole new market for the production industry. This new market consisted of filmmakers or cinematographers who might not be shooting at the studio level yet, but by owning their own camera package, it gave them an advantage in competing for jobs. RED immediately... Read more

Optimal Viewing

The Super 35 image sensor

TIMING Q It seems like there have been a lot of cameras introduced in the last year or so, and while it seems like they’re different than previous years, I really wonder. I’ve wanted to stop renting and buy, but I’m a bit nervous of my timing—2K, 4K, 8K—when will it stop or at least slow down enough so I can hop on this merry-go-round?... Read more

Hiding In Plain Sight

How an orange cone almost derailed my career

I was the B-camera/Steadicam operator on a big action movie in the mid-’90s. We were filming a shootout in the desert, and I had been assigned a telephoto shot over the shoulder of a baddie firing a machine gun at a car rigged with 250 bullet hits. The thick bundle of wires from the hits ran in front of my camera, so set dressers buried the cables... Read more

Did I Judder

24p stuttering explained

As part of my responsibilities at AbelCine, I handle a number of technical support questions from our professional clients in the field. Recently, I had two different clients inquire about a "judder" they witnessed in their new cameras. They described a stuttering effect from frame to frame that was visible when shooting 24p. Both believed... Read more

Lost In The Supermarket

Recording sound in a crowded supermarket and other issues

RECORDING SOUND IN A CROWDED SUPERMARKET Q I’m doing sound on a series of walk-and-talk commercials with a spokesperson that will shoot in a real working supermarket—yes, I know, buzzing refrigerator cases, buzzing fluorescent lights and lots of stuff that we don’t want to hear. We get to block off a portion of the store to shoot, but... Read more
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