White Lightning

Moonshine Kingdom is the first natively shot 4K movie to stream in 4K

Although 4K-shot productions are heating up, we’re still in purgatory in terms of 4K distribution into living rooms. As you probably know, movie and television studios move at a slower pace than camera manufacturers, and at the moment, typical delivery specifications for VFX and theatrical exhibition are currently at 2K while deliverables for... Read more

Boozy Tales

DP Blake McClure channels film history to create the past for Comedy Central’s Drunk History

Director of photography Blake McClure was hired for Drunk History at a party, while drinking. That seems logical for a show that involves getting its lead actor drunk to recite an important historical event. Okay, it didn’t happen exactly like that, but neither do the historical reimaginings in the web short-turned-Comedy Central series. McClure... Read more

Super Charged

With the Canon EOS C500, cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, ASC, delivers an immersive behind-the-wheel experience for Need for Speed

The title of the new DreamWorks Pictures movie Need for Speed says it all—fast cars, fast women and plenty of action and burning rubber along the way. Based on the hugely successful racing video game franchise created by Electronic Arts, with over 140 million copies sold so far, Need for Speed taps into what makes the American myth of the open road... Read more

TV V.2.0

Led by streaming and binge viewing, television is going through a revolution

For the first time in half a century, television has a new model. From the ashes of appointment TV viewing, streaming has risen as a means to most likely reach coveted millennials, as well as other generations. Whether the device is an OTT (over-the-top) TV screen, laptop or mobile phone, original content—from more sources than ever—is king. At... Read more

Independent’s Day

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival adapts to the digital democracy

Martin Scorsese recently wrote an open letter to his daughter in an Italian news magazine about the current state of movies. In the letter, he sees a bright future ahead for her due to the current low cost of making a movie. "You can get beautiful images with affordable cameras," he wrote. "You can record sound. You can edit and mix and... Read more

The Man-Machine

A whole new RoboCop stomps the mean streets of future Detroit

Released during the highly competitive summer of 1987, the modestly budgeted RoboCop managed to do more than "stay out of trouble" (as its titular character was known to intone). The face of cybernetic law enforcement held his own against many a higher-profile entry that same month, besting both Stanley Kubrick and James Bond at the box office. ... Read more

Triple Threat

With his Canon EOS C300 in tow, indie filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier writes, directs and shoots Cannes and Sundance fave Blue Ruin

Writer-director-cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier looked at a bunch of cameras before diving into his sophomore feature Blue Ruin, a revenge drama whose prolific festival run bowed out at Sundance in January, having scooped up a FIPRESCI prize at the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes. Saulnier didn’t want to test these cameras in the usual environments... Read more

Naval Gazing

Although shot on film, NCIS mixes numerous digital formats to help create a unique action-drama series

In this age of network conservatism, the Don Bellisario-created series NCIS is nothing short of a phenomenon. There are hundreds of fan clubs and blogs, and hundreds of thousands of rabid fans known to interrupt major meetings to make sure the TiVo is set for the week’s episode, schedule vacations around NCIS marathon weekends and haunt video... Read more

Digital Noir

Cinematographer Bill Pope, ASC, uses a brash color palette to bring a classic comic strip to the big screen

You only live twice; once when you are born and once when you look death in the face. Although the preceding was a haiku ascribed to James Bond by his creator, novelist Ian Fleming, it might also be the motto for Denny Colt, late of the police force and currently hunting—or is it haunting?—ne’er-do-wells who plan and scheme against his beloved... Read more

An Epic Journey: Ellen Kuras Discusses Oscar Winning Movie The Betrayal

Ellen Kuras, ASC, makes use of both film and digital to capture codirector Thavisouk Phrasavath and his family’s journey from Laos to America in The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), which was filmed over 23 years

Ellen Kuras, ASC, earned Oscar® and Film Independent’s Spirit Award nominations for The Betrayal (Nerakhoon). She produced, directed and shot this extraordinary documentary, which paints a vivid and compelling picture of a Laotian family that migrated to the United States as political refugees after the war in Vietnam ended during the mid-1970s. Kuras... Read more

HD Independents: A Prolific Indie Filmmaker

Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg discusses the ins and outs of low-budget filmmaking

In current times, it seems the dream for most aspiring artists is no longer to write the next great American novel, but to make the next great American independent film. Case in point: At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, there were yet again a record number of feature-film submissions—3,661 compared to 850 a decade ago. Even for the lucky... Read more

Public Enemies

Shot with the Sony F23, Public Enemies re-creates the Depression-era 1930s in modern high-def

When director Michael Mann and cinematographer Dante Spinotti, ASC, got together to discuss their fifth pairing, their first thought was to bring the 1930s world of John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) to the screen in a more classic kind of approach. The characteristics of film stock naturally support images of that era. However, "Michael always brings... Read more
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