Trials, Tribulation And Technology

Menthol comes to life with the help of Kickstarter, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and digital distribution

Digital technology has invaded nearly every facet of film production, not only in production and postproduction, but also in how films are conceptualized and financed. In 2012, executive producer Steve Nicolaides (Boyz n the Hood, School of Rock) teamed with producer Nate Kamiya, director Micah Van Hove and screenwriter Sam Jones to bring to life Menthol,... Read more

The Jazz Age

Cinematographer Simon Duggan, ACS, displays decadence in three dimensions for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s prescient 1925 portrayal of an America transitioning from humble agrarian roots to a rapacious capitalism. The book, often called the central fable of America, has been brought to the screen many times. In 1926, a film version appeared before the novel had sold 25,000 copies—a number it now achieves... Read more

Dual Disciplines

DP Sean Porter uses filmic techniques to shoot the Sundance digital feature It Felt Like Love

Sean Porter grew up in a small town 90 minutes outside of Seattle. It was a place where a new strip mall was cause for a huge celebration. Filmmaking entered his life as much as a necessity to stay sane as it was something that he enjoyed doing. "We didn’t watch high-art films or foreign cinema," says Porter, whose name has been on... Read more

Sundance 2013

America’s biggest and best film festival tries to remain relevant in a changing industry

For independent film, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. Times are good because low-budget filmmakers can now shoot professional-looking films for next to no money and distribute online for free a beautiful HD movie to a global audience. An even bigger development has been the rise of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo,... Read more

Visual Experimentation

In the first of our series of profiles on the new generation of leading creative professionals, HDVP talks with cinematographer Laura Merians about how she layers both practical and VFX into her work

Laura Merians recently returned from Iceland, where she shot a music video with the internationally popular Icelandic band Sigur Rós. It was the second time she has filmed in Iceland in less than six months, having also just wrapped Björk’s new video, Mutual Core, with director Andrew Huang. "It’s weird to go all the way... Read more

All Creatures Are Great And Small

Using RED EPICs and 3ality rigs, cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel and digital previs company The Third Floor create colossal images for Jack the Giant Slayer

Giants have been with us always—in the annals of fantasy storytelling, that is. From many a child’s fable to horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s the Old Ones, from one Irwin Allen TV series (Lost in Space—a Cyclops, no less) to another (Land of the Giants), the notion of a towering colossus as antagonist seems as much a Jungian archetype... Read more

Political Gains

Director/producer David Fincher and DP Eigil Bryld shoot Netflix’s first original series, House of Cards

When Netflix made a recent deal to bring Disney movies to its streaming service, it was hailed as a "game changer." But the February debut of its new original series House of Cards looks to be an even more important development, as it positions Netflix to directly compete with the likes of HBO and AMC on their own turf. Although the company’s... Read more

Welcome To Portlandia

Director Jonathan Krisel, DP Bryce Fortner and production designer Tyler Robinson bring the city to life

Ironically, what goes on behind the camera on IFC’s Portlandia juxtaposes the vibe the show itself gives off to audiences expertly. Behind the scenes, Portlandia‘s bare-bones crew must be spontaneous and ready for run-and-gun shooting situations, but on the screen it’s all mellow, hippie-dippie stories about Portland, which is the... Read more

Hold That Tiger — Life of Pi with Claudio Miranda

Best of HDVP — Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, shot by Claudio Miranda, ASC, who also worked om TRON: Legacy and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, brought the “unfilmable” tale to the big screen with ARRI Alexa cameras and CAMERON | PACE Group Fusion 3D rigs — Miranda and VFX Supervisor Bill Westenhofer discuss the making of the project!
Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is a lyrical, poetic, cinematic version of the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, who famously declared the source material "unfilmable." Even those who worked on it say that it couldn’t have been achieved even five years ago. The labyrinthine, bleeding-edge technology that made the film possible was a constantly... Read more

Man Hunt

For Zero Dark Thirty, director Kathryn Bigelow and cinematographer Greig Fraser expose the secret mission to capture Osama bin Laden

It’s sad, but true: Women directors rarely get any Oscar® love, but that all changed in 2009 thanks to The Hurt Locker, the Iraq War bomb-squad drama directed by Kathryn Bigelow, when the nail-biting, suspenseful underdog shut out the biggest gorilla in the room, James Cameron’s Avatar, the top-grossing movie in history. Kathryn Bigelow... Read more

SNL’s Digital Evolution

Cinematographer Alex Buono has spent 14 seasons behind the lens with NBC’s Saturday Night Live Film Unit

Saturday Night Live. A weekly network television tradition. An iconic proving ground for generations of top comedic entertainers. The basic format of SNL hasn’t changed much since its debut in 1975: topical humor about what’s happening at the moment. The opening sketch ends with "Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!"... Read more

To Middle Earth …And Back Again

RED and 3ality Technica help director Peter Jackson bring The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to life

Filmmaker Peter Jackson fulfilled a longstanding dream when tackling J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but his greatest achievement wasn’t just a matter of completing the grueling project, or even winning Director and Best Picture Oscars® for the third film in the cycle. Right out of the starting gate, Jackson succeeded where... Read more