Featured Stories

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 13:44 -- Bob Gibbons

This movie is more ambitious, more aggressive and more atmospheric than the first one. It’s darker, more desolate, with characters that are more multi-dimensional, sets that are more elaborate, a plot that is more complex. And yet, it ends so abruptly that it makes the whole movie feel more like a set-up for the next chapter than a fully formed piece of satisfying entertainment. The audience simply left in silence when the credits began. There was no applause. Did they, like me, feel a bit cheated? The movie is long, overburdened with detail, incessantly gloomy, intermittently cruel, but only lightly violent. But there is real production value here.

Last Vegas

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 13:41 -- Bob Gibbons

This is, at best, a mildly entertaining movie for older audiences. The good news is – there is nothing embarrassing in it. The bad news is – there is nothing particularly funny either. If you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve seen most of the best jokes. The whole movie plays like a montage of Las Vegas’s greatest hits, a look at what there is to see and do in the city. If you’ve been there, you’ve seen and done them all. You know the stars of this movie – Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline and Morgan Freeman. Of those, Freeman is the most fun to watch because he can elicit a smile from just a twist of the head, the arch of an eyebrow.

All Is Lost

Mon, 11/25/2013 - 13:38 -- Bob Gibbons

In some ways, this is a perfect title. Here is what will be “lost” if you decide to see this movie: your time, the price of admission, the cost of transportation to get there, any other expenses you have. Oh, but this is a huge waste of time – and everything else. And here are six more opinions: I saw it on a Monday night, and when the film began, there were seven people – including me – in the theatre. Not a big audience, but not bad for a Monday. But then, two left. Then one more.

Rising to the Dark Challenge of Lighting a Horror Film

Fri, 11/22/2013 - 12:23 -- Nick Dager

Horror films have a certain style: cramped quarters, heat, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t or did-you-really-see-it. Lighting for the suspense, and horror of the genre is always a particular challenge but one that cinematographer Steve Romano believes he handled nicely the indie feature The Girl, which was directed by Jennifer Blanc-Biehn.

Framestore Uses Vicon T40 Cameras for Pre-Vis on Gravity, Jupiter Ascending

Thu, 11/21/2013 - 12:07 -- Nick Dager

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.

Size Matters on The Aviators Shoots

Thu, 11/21/2013 - 11:58 -- Nick Dager

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.

Finding Creative Ways to keep a Franchise Fresh

Wed, 11/20/2013 - 12:15 -- Nick Dager

Keeping a hit television show that’s been on the air for 14 years fresh and interesting is a demanding challenge. As scripts get bigger to sustain audience interest, budgets inevitably get smaller. “When a show reaches syndication, it has primarily done it’s job of crossing the finish line of making money for a very long time,” says CSI: Las Vegas cinematographer Crescenzo Notarile, ASC. “So, why spend more when the networks, at this point, don’t have to. It’s a creative challenge to keep the audience coming back with what we have. It’s not making more – it’s making the freshest.”


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