The industry doesn’t do as many pilots as in years past, which is a shame, because they can be a valuable format for testing not just story ideas and actors but new technology. In my role covering new cinema technology for the Digital Cinema Society I am often offered gear to test and evaluate, everything from new lighting units and cameras to various digital cinema recorders. Since I need to keep busy earning my living as a director of photography, I honestly don’t have time to run scientific tests, so I prefer instead to use the gear in real world productions I’m hired to work on. You could call me a technology test pilot. I get a better sense of how these tools perform where the rubber hits the road, and it’s a good way to help out the productions I’m working on, pulling in items they might not otherwise be able to afford. The perfect opportunity to put many of these items through their paces came up recently when I was asked to shoot a feature length pilot for a new action/adventure show aimed at young adults entitled, Tribe of the Wild.
Filmmaker Matt Ogens latest effort is a feature length documentary called Meet the Hitlers. When he selects the right for any of his projects his first thought, though, is how best to tell the story is wants to convey. “It all comes down to telling great stories,” said Ogens. “There are different types of stories, and the nature of the story itself may change how I capture it on film. To decide on that, I collaborate with a director of photography and ask what type of camera he or she thinks is best for each project from a creative perspective, but sometimes the reality of a budget may also dictate what cameras are available to me. We will discuss the look I want for the story and then the DP and I will choose the camera.”
Re-creating the past can be challenging for filmmakers, especially when tasked to duplicate the look of a particular time in history for a period movie. Add a tight budget, cramped locations, and underwater photography, and you have the situation James Chressanthis, ASC, faced as cinematographer for the movie The Watsons Go to Birmingham. Based on the novel by Christopher Paul Curtis, the film depicts a fictional family’s 1963 road trip intersecting with an actual terrorist bombing during the civil-rights era.
The creators of the patented iOgrapher mobile filmmaking case for the iPad have announced that the new iOgrapher for Apple iPad 3 and 4 is available for immediate delivery.
Amazing in Motion is a set of projects by Lexus that explore the complexity of motion. The second installation of the brand series, Swarm is a spirited story featuring custom-designed small aircraft known as quadrotors that roam through various locations in Vancouver, Canada at night.
Framestore used 16 Vicon T40 cameras on the pre-visualisation for space scenes in Gravity. Framestore integrated the cameras with Blade – Vicon’s data capture and data processing system – to help create complex and extremely realistic visual effects. They will also use the cameras for pre-vis on the upcoming film Jupiter Ascending.
When Devin Lund, director of photography for The Aviators on PBS, goes on assignment, he’s got to be ready for constant change. “Sometimes we’re dealing with the military. Sometimes we’re dealing with private aircraft owners. I’ve got to be ready to deal with last-minute changes. It always happens,” Lund explains.
Sony Electronics has announced a 4K movie-making project Sony/AFI 4K Shorts: Be Moved, to showcase the talents of the alumni of the AFI Conservatory, the world renowned film school of the American Film Institute.
One of DP/colorist Gavin Fisher’s on-going assignments is a series of commercials for Adult Swim Network.
“In the true tradition of independent film, Cold Turkey is a dialogue- and character-driven movie,” explained director of photography Lucas Lee Graham. “We wanted an intimate, personal look with a really shallow depth of field and nice portraiture so that the visual emphasis would be on the characters and what they were doing.”