In late 2015, Smock Media, a Venice Beach-based film and VR production company, and the Victims of Communism (VOC), a Washington, D.C.-based human rights organization, came together and started The Witness Project. DP Benjamin Gaskell was brought on to tackle the first episode of the second installment, which would set the tone for the rest of the documentary series. The episode focused on Anastasia Lin, Miss World Canada 2015 and 2016, and her story.
Q What challenges were associated with shooting? Did you have a hard time landing any shots?
A My favorite filming location was on a remote hill that had these beautiful rolling hills of golden wheat. It was quite a logistical challenge to work effectively in the space, and I had a lot of concerns while we were location scouting about making it work. However our skillful producer J.P. Mandarino was instrumental in putting together a plan that made the whole experience a very efficient operation. It was one of those shooting days where the crew had such a good time working in a beautiful location capturing a meaningful story that you could almost feel the disappointment when we called wrap. If only every shooting day was like that! haha! Another moment that stands out to me was towards the end of our first half-day filming together. We ended up shooting past golden hour and deep enough into civil twilight that our overall ambient light levels required me to push the camera to 1600 ISO to get proper exposure. I’ll be honest about the fact that I was nervous about how the grain structure wouldn’t match, however I was pleasantly surprised at how the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K performed. The color rendition and noise pattern of our twilight footage matched up really well with the rest of the project’s look and tone. It’s a nice feeling knowing that you don’t always have compromise the quality of an established look or aesthetic in order to get enough footage in the can at the end of the day. When you work with good crew and the right equipment you can do almost anything.
StarTech takes a look at upcoming 4K video trends including how it's being adopted, what barriers exist, true 4K ecosystem and more. Learn more about StarTech at: https://www.startech.com/.
Q How is 4K Being Adopted and Proliferated?
A 4K technology opens a world of possibilities for content creation and consumption. 4K UHD augments the viewing experience in applications like entertainment, digital signage, education, sports, surveillance, games and medical applications. Native 4K resolution is significantly better in resolving detail, allowing closer, more immersive viewing and scales down to 2K output with a higher quality picture than if created in 2K. An entire industry has emerged to enable a truly end-to-end 4K ecosystem - from capture, production, initial distribution, and secondary distribution to consumers. Consumer electronics equipment manufacturers, in particular, are embracing this revolutionary display technology and are the driving force behind making 4K mainstream.
Technology is always evolving. In the television industry we’ve moved from standard definition to high definition and now onto, the Ks. Is this a technology trend that is here to stay or is it ahead of it’s time causing the excitement to die out before the rest of the television technology world catches up? In the following Q&A, Gene Duggan - Director of Sales and New Business Development at Imagecraft Productions, shares his insight on how the Ks have affected his clients and the television production industry, from the rental house perspective.
Q What is the biggest change you’ve seen since 4K was introduced?
A The camera and lens manufacturers have it figured out but the rest of the television community has yet to figure out affordable solutions to support 4k. For example, in order to see a proper 4k signal you need to purchase a $25k monitor. Most clients’ budgets don’t support renting or purchasing equipment like that.
Nela Pertl, Marketing Manager EMEA at Panasonic, talks Video over IP, 4K and more at IBC 2016.
Q What are some upcoming/popular trends from the world of broadcast and content creation that you think might make a big impact at the show?
A Alongside IP, 4K is still a huge talking point and every manufacturer is updating their camera, switching and recording equipment to accommodate the super-high resolution format, which will only speed up adoption across the industry. At Panasonic our 4K range is going beyond the traditional production cameras and in to other formats, such as studio and remote cameras. The increasing capability of network connections and processing power has meant Video over IP is becoming a crucial part of many news workflows. Again this has seen manufacturers updating their hardware to add IP capabilities, and Panasonic is fully committed to seeing out the full transition to VOIP over the next few years.
McLaren works with world-famous entertainment company to ensure safety of high-flying Bamboo Aerial Act performers and street crowds during Creative City Project in Orlando, FL. Andrew Habel, McLaren’s Florida Regional Director, answered a few questions about Cirque du Soleil La Nouba’s Bamboo Aerial Act and how they worked their magic to bring it to the streets of Downtown Orlando at Creative City Project.
Q How do you prepare for outdoor performance when things like weather and other conditions can affect performance?
A A High Wind Action Plan (HWAP) and Operations Management Plan (OMP) are created for the event which outlines responsible production personnel and actions to be taken in the event of inclement weather. These plans outline actions to be taken by production personnel when winds are forecast or measured to meet or exceed threshold wind speeds at various levels. An anemometer is used onsite and the weather is monitored by production personnel real-time with a local commercial or governmental weather service. If inclement weather is forecast, the HWAP and OMP are followed to ensure the safety of the performers and of the audience.
Documentary cinematographer, Richard Henkels, answers a few questions about work on his newest film, AUTHOR: THE JT LEROY STORY. The documentary that explores the greatest literary hoax of all time – when “it boy” wunderkid and Hollywood favorite JT LeRoy was unmasked as the creative expression of 40-year-old phone-sex operator turned housewife, Laura Albert. Richard shot the film in 4K on the Canon Cinema EOS C500 and the EOS 1D C.
Q How did you determine you would use the Canon Cinema EOS C500 and the EOS 1D C?
A The director Jeff Fuelzig and I really like Canon's look of how the sensor records color and contrast! Both cameras match perfectly in look. It was extremely convenient to have the 1DC on hand when we weren't all crewed up. It's a simple but powerful DSLR that records internally at 4K. This allowed us to do pick ups without a full camera package.
Image Engine's Dave Morley began his career in VFX more than 20 years ago when he started out as a flame compositor in Sydney, Australia. He has worked on projects such as Point Break, Unbroken and the upcoming Power Rangers film.
Q Which projects have you been most excited to have worked on at Image Engine, and which were the most challenging?
A Power Rangers for sure. I’ve been involved for a while now, putting together a pitch and concepts to help win the job. I love being involved in a project early; it gives me the opportunity to develop relationships and help influence the design and philosophy of a film.
Atlanta-born, Jewish-raised Feinberg once made a nice living in Los Angeles, playing big, bad-looking meanies (bikers, demons, etc.) on shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Charmed,” and now, he’s helming a family holiday picture called SANTA’S BOOT CAMP starring a bunch of kids with a cameo by Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts. Feinberg is eager to spread the message of SANTA’S BOOT CAMP – that when young people put their best effort forward, they can do anything – which is delivered both on screen by the kids who come together to save Christmas, and off-screen by the talented young artists who bring their characters and the story to such vivid life.
Q For any actor that is experiencing being typcasted, what advice do you have? How do you break away from that?
A I highly encourage typecasting because it makes it easier for people to cast you. Unfortunately, for me I always wanted to play the role of puck, but soon realized I would never get cast as puck. The business is predicated on what you look like, unfortunately. When I train actors, I encourage them to "know their type" to make it easier for them to book roles. Once an actor makes a name for themselves, then they can branch out and do different kinds of characters. But you want to be known for something, and being something close to who you are and naturally makes it easier for you to get a job. I called congruency between your look and your personality.
If you've seen Beyonce's lemonade, which let's be honest, who hasn't, then you are aware of Hannah Beachler's work as a production designer. She is currently working with director Ryan Coogler for Marvel’s much-anticipated Black Panther and she previously collaborated with Coogler on Creed, the spinoff from the Rocky film series, starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, as well as Fruitvale Station, 2013's Sundance Film Festival breakout, which won both the Grand Jury and Audience Prize. Hannah talked to ProductionHUB about her film MILES AHEAD, the differences between biological film and fiction film, and breakign into the industry.
Q How different (if at all) is production design for a biographical film vs a fiction film?
A Well I consider Miles Ahead to be factional (fictional and fact) so it mixed the two. There was a lot that was true and a lot that wasn't. It was a mash-up of his memory from many different times in his life, and you can never be quite sure what is real and what isn't. There are little hidden gems everywhere, from characters (that's all I'll say about that) to items that circle back to his real life that are a part of a fictional world in the film. I really can't say, but you have to watch it more than once to catch it. I think the die-hard Miles fans will pick up on it, but it’s truly brilliant stuff, influencing the narrative without the audience really knowing, another Miles thing if you will. It all comes back to his life and his memory during his silent period and how he remembers everything and who is real and who is not. I've said too much. Hahaha!
With virtual reality (VR) viewing devices entering the consumer mainstream, VR content is on the rise. MAXON is pleased to offer digital creatives plug-in tools for rendering VR content as well a several comprehensive tutorial series to help CG artists learn the technical aspects of creating pre-rendered or interactive VR video content. We talked to Joshua Michie, principal at Toronto based Apiary Studio, and long time MAXON Cinema 4D (C4D) user, about ANTUM, the studio’s debut virtual reality (VR) experience coming soon to the Oculus Samsung Gear VR store to discuss the 3D experiences the team faced creating content in this emerging medium.
Q Tell us about your background as a 3D motion graphics artist and why you decided to step into the world of VR content creation.
A I worked in London and came to Toronto five years ago as I was attracted to the strong creative community here. In the last seven years I’ve collaborated with brands such as TED, Apple, Starbucks, Sky, McDonalds; agencies including DDB, Blast Radius, Brothers and Sisters; and studios like NEON, IAMSTATIC, Jam3, and Tendril. While I’ve enjoyed working with clients, I created Apiary to focus on building our own intellectual property and tell stories on our own terms. There's a lot of movement and opportunity for 3D artists and motion designers in the VR landscape right now and we are excited to play in this market.
Seven years ago VideoBlocks started producing 4K content and now others are starting to make the transformation. Joel Holland, Founder and Executive Chairman of VideoBlocks explains the vitality of creating and supporting 4K content. He believes that 4K is the future for technology and will become the new norm for the tech hub since UHD is already fading and advises companies to shoot in 4K rather than UHD since 4K resolution can be “bumped” down rather than trying to “bump up” HD content to 4K quality.
Q Will the quality of viewing in 4K substantially be better to persuade companies to change? How different is the quality?
A Production side: 4K is four times better resolution than HD. It is similar to the jump made from standard to High Definition. Once everyone has fully made the move to 4K, no one will go back to UHD. I think everything should be shot in 4K, you should source in 4K, not HD.
Rachel Morrison is the woman behind the camera of HBO’s Confirmation, starring Kerry Washington as Anita Hill. The film the film explores Hill’s accusations of sexual harassment against then-nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas. In our latest interview, Morrison describes how she developed the "look" for the film, creative freedom, visual references and more.
Q Describe how you got involved with Confirmation.
A I lensed Dope for Rick Famuyiwa. When he signed on to direct Confirmation, he called me right away.
Bryan McMahan is one of the motion picture industry’s most experienced and accomplished digital colorists with nearly 100 feature films to his credit. His recent efforts include Knight of Cups and Weightless, his third and fourth collaborations with director Terrence Malick and with Academy Award® winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. He has also worked with such directors as William Friedkin, Sam Mendes, Ridley Scott, John Woo and Walter Hill.
Q How did you get involved with 'Knight of Cups'?
A I’ve worked with Director Terrence Malick and DP Emmanuel Lubezki for a while now. For this film, they came to me and asked me to get involved from the dailies to help get the color right from the beginning. Then, it was a seamless transition to the DI.
Football concussion short film, 'The Duke,' based on the memoir "I'm the Duke" by J.P. Duke, is set to screen at Tribeca Film Festival which will run from April 13 - 24. Director Max Barbakow talks to ProductionHUB about the importance of tackling football concussions in the film and the impact he hopes the film has on those who view it.
Q How does it feel to have The Duke accepted at seven esteemed film festivals (including Tribeca)?
A Making movies is a marathon, and it's always gratifying to cap that journey with a festival run. When you finish something, the audience assumes ownership, so it's immensely helpful to the life of our film when amazing festivals like Tribeca give us the opportunity to share the work with more people in diverse, distant markets. Hopefully, the consistent flow of CTE-related news and the NFL's shameless attempts at damage control keep our movie relevant so we can continue to focus on the athletes struggling with this very real malady.
With the world's longest focal length and highest (20x) magnification among Super 35mm zoom lenses, the new Cine-Servo zoom lens offers cinematographers new possibilities for shooting scenes in HD, 2K and 4K on single-sensor cameras. Senior Advisor, Film and TV Production at Canon, Tim Smith, describes how the 4K Ultra Telephoto Zoom Lens has changed the game for cinematographers.
Q How has the Cine-Servo 50-1000 mm 4K Ultra Telephoto Zoom Lens enhanced opportunities for cinematographers?
A It’s been overwhelming; having a lens that does things that cinematographers have never been able to do before has really sparked their imagination.
Interlude, a media and technology company that enables production and web distribution of selectable, interactive multimedia videos teamed up with Coke for its Super Bowl 50 ad. Using their own platform and creativity, they reimagined Coke's ad and delivered a completely interactive masterpiece featuring The Hulk and Ant Man.
Q How did you and Coca Cola collaboratively come up with the idea to reimagine their Super Bowl ad?
A We took the Coke ad and re-imagined the story using our platform and a little creativity. Coke has been a strong supporter of Interlude for some time, and when we introduced the concept for this interactive ad, they were really excited. Teams across several disciplines collaborated to make it happen, including filmmakers, animators, producers, and developers.
O2 Filmes, one of Brazil's top film studios, handles a variety of tasks across the production process, from pre to post, across feature-length movies, television series, advertising, and even VR. Weekly children's TV show, 'Which Monster Bit You?' which blends live-action segments with 3D animation, matte painting and puppets, trusted ftrack to help get the job done. VFX supervisor at O2’s post-production department, Sandro di Segni explains how they get the job done.
Q Describe the pre-production process for each of these animations. What sort of planning goes into each episode?
A We would look at the script with the directors alongside the children's drawings and discuss the personality of the monsters. We were heavily involved in shooting and planning all the character interactions and green screen shots.
Paladin’s unparalleled portable work and scene light was introduced last spring to give construction crews the flexibility to extend working hours and work safely in dark places, without power cords. Now, Paladin introduces the new Case Light CLU10K featuring ultra-durable construction made in the United States of America.
Q Why was the Paladin Case Light, CLU10K created?
A The Paladin LED Case Light is a portable, durable, lightweight solution to scene lighting that sets up in minutes. High lumen output LEDs transform even obscure, remote areas into planes of visibility for an extended period of time.
AMC’s hit television series “Into the Badlands” took a unique approach when it came to color grading the first season. The first three episodes of the six-episode season were graded by Colorist George Delaney and the latter three were graded by Colorist Shane Harris both of Deluxe’s Encore. All grading was overseen by the show's Supervising Colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld of Deluxe’s Company 3.
Q What direction were you given for the look of the show?
A George Delaney (GD): Stefan worked with the clients and then did a first pass, but like a lot of television shows, there were things about the look of this world that evolved as they continued to work on it. It's futuristic, but it's also got several kinds of looks. Some of it is naturalistic and some is a bit more intense.
The poppy fields play an important role. Shane Harris (SH): We worked with the cinematographer, producers and AMC giving us notes as the look of the show took shape. There are also a lot of visual effects in the show and as is usually the case, we did some massaging to integrate them into the surrounding shots. The poppy fields are very important, and there are a lot of shots with them and fortress walls, and it was important to give the poppies a consistent feel while being aware of the overall environment so that everything looks real.
The highly anticipated Sundance film “Operation Avalanche," shot by award winning director Matthew Johnson and DPs Jared Raab and Andrew Appelle, was shot using the Pocket Cinema Cameras, along with a unique film conversion workflow to capture the look and feel of an underground 1960s documentary. To capture Johnson and the DPs’ vision, the film had to be shot with the look of 1960s film stock and had to look like most of the footage was shot covertly. Raab and Appelle explain how they got the job done in our exclusive interview.
Q Describe your thought process for 'Operation Avalanche' and why you went with a '60s documentary feel.
A Jared Raab (DP) - One of the greatest challenges of the film is getting the audience to suspend their disbelief and buy in to what is essentially a rewriting of real history. Many things were working against us on the production end, from budget constraints to the fact that we like to shoot in real environments with real people. Nailing the authentic look and feel of 1960s verite documentary was something we knew we could control. If we got that right, much else would be forgiven.
Andrew Appelle (DP) - Yeah, shooting a film like this in a conventional cinematic format would have made the subject matter much harder to swallow. If we're trying to tell the audience that man didn't make it to the moon it's much easier to do so if we say the cameras (and cameramen) are right there along for the ride, documenting the entire process. Also the incredibly improvisational scene work doesn't really allow for a "controlled" shooting environment which means that the documentary style just really ends up complimenting the run and gun mentality of the set.
Director, Editor and Colorist, Jon Carr led a glimpse into the EOS C300 Mark II's post-production workflow at Sundance, where visitors could witness Carr's tricks for ingesting, editing, and coloring 4K footage in Adobe Premiere Pro CC at The Canon Creative Studio. Carr provides an exclusive look inside The Canon Creative Studio (4K edit bay), the interactive experience attendees were able to have and the impact of 4K in the production world today.
Q Describe Canon's 4K edit bay and what attendees could expect on-site?
A The Canon Creative Studio is a really cool experience where visitors can get their hands on all of the great cameras and lenses that Canon has on the market. One of the the big pushes that Canon is making is with 4K. The new C300 Mark II shoots 4K internally to CFast 2.0 cards. The goal of having an edit bay within the Canon Creative Studio is to get people comfortable with working with these large files. The C300 Mark II also has a new log curve called Canon Log 2. This log curves requires post know how and we go over color correction techniques using the Lumetri color correction tools in Premiere Pro to get the most out of your imagery. The goal is a one on one experience where we can really go over whatever people would like to know in terms of post workflow to develop a comfort level in delivering the best possible imagery.
Andrew Kowalchuk, Technical Director of the "Gaming Show" at B-Minors, the kids programming division of Banger Films, discusses why he and his team chose Blackmagic Design SmartView & SmartScope monitors for Family CHRGD's "Gaming Show (In My Parents' Garage)", what things to consider before you choose a monitor and how they produced gaming visual effects for each episode.
Q What makes a good monitor? What factors do you look for when deciding which monitors to use?
A Video professionals know that monitors can can be just about any price, from $100.00 to $30,000. So cost is always a big factor: do you get good value for the money? For me Blackmagic products always deliver in the value department. The Blackmagic Design monitors deliver good picture detail and colour rendition at a price that works for my budget.
DP Scott Sorensen is using 10 Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras to shoot secondary footage, cold openings and the new opening title sequence on Discovery Channel's hit television show, "MythBusters." He debunks how these cameras helped him get the perfect shot, its best features and what other types of projects the cameras can be used for.
Q How did you determine you would use Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras on MythBusters?
A We adopted the Pocket Cinema Camera at the start of a new season of MythBusters. The show had changed dramatically at the beginning of the tenth season and we wanted to update the look of the show. In San Francisco, we'd been toying around with DSLRs and liked the look achieved with a large sensor. It was our Director of Post Production, Anthony Toy, who first suggested the Pocket cam.
Zeiss recently opened up about upcoming projects, the impact of 4K and how compatible their lenses are for all of the new cameras that have just been released. Find out what they're blogging about (Lenspire) and what's on the horizon for 2016.
Q What’s new from the ZEISS lens family? First, for film and video production - and secondly, for any of our photographers as well?
A It has been a busy couple of months for us. First we announced the Milvus lens family for Canon and Nikon mount cameras. The interesting feature for film and video productions is the ZEISS patented DeClick feature for the Nikon version of these lenses. With a simple turn of one screw at the lens mount the aperture stops can be disabled. The result is a continuous aperture.
We also added a third Loxia lens to the manual focus lens family for Sony A7 cameras. The new Loxia offers outstanding image performance – across the entire image field of a full-frame sensor. And we did announce the latest wide angle addition to the Otus family.
With NeuLion's newly released white paper, "The Complete Path to Video Delivery in 4K and Beyond," Eric Grab, NeuLion Co-CTO expands further on how the introduction of 4K is shaping video quality, video interactivity, and the future of 4K technology. View the full white paper from NeuLion here: http://www.neulion.com/fls/30000/pdfs/NeuLionWhitePaper_ValueOf4K.pdf
Q What does the introduction of 4K mean for video quality?
A At four times the resolution of HD, 4K (or Ultra HD) increases the level of detail and realism and provides an enhanced visual experience with crisper text and graphical overlays. Getting up close and personal with an immersive video experience also helps to increase audience engagement times, which allows providers to deliver more ads with which users will interact during their viewing.