When it comes to marking actors, the process is fairly straightforward. However, what should be something simple can actually end up being quite confusing: for instance, suppose two actors, with two different colors of expendable paper tape, have to end up on the same mark at separate times in a scene. The important question, besides how Michael Caine would handle this, is, “how to reconcile the two colors on the same mark?”
Do you find pulling focus to be tough? You’re not the only one. As Sam Garwood says, it’s “a really simple really difficult job.” The physical act is easy, but the mental pressure is immense. Even if you’re an experienced focus puller, honing the skill is an ongoing battle. The best way to learn is to be thrown into the fire, but there are ways to get better without a cinema camera setup at home — all it takes is some dedication and a bit of time on the weekend.
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Sometimes when I hear the word “low-budget” I think “long hours.” They always seem to go hand in hand. That doesn’t mean I don’t like the work or don’t find it rewarding, just that there’s a tendency on low budget productions to scoot past the 12 hour mark. That’s fine with me, as long as I get to eat, but going long days with no sustenance is a recipe for disaster — and ill tempers.
It can be embarrassing to be trying to get an actor or actresses attention when you don’t know their name, especially if you’ve already met. Whether you’re marking at their feet or pulling focus to their eyes, there are inevitably situations where you will need to speak directly to the on screen talent. Remembering names can be difficult, but you don’t always have to — there’s another way.
ARRI has stripped the “beta” tag off the 3.0 Software Update Packet (SUP) for it’s flagship digital cinema camera, the Alexa. The update was originally released early because it enabled so many features that Alexa owners had been dying for such as in-camera playback, audio recording, and a false color exposure check. I don’t want to write too much about this since I went in depth about the 3.0 software previously.
To download the 3.0 SUP, release notes, or new user manual, visit the ARRI Digital site.
RED, the company behind the lens of the RED Epic has been quietly shipping out Epic-M models to its first buyers. In turn, Epic footage, stills and R3D files have begun popping up on the REDuser forums from a variety of posters. I wanted to collect all of those recent forum posts and place it here as a chance to see what kind of images we can expect Epic to churn out once it goes into mass production, hopefully later this year.
Top Gear, the no-holds-barred car magazine show from the BBC, has firmly established itself as a cultural powerhouse both Stateside and in it’s homeland of the UK. Part of the draw of Top Gear has been it’s anonymous “tame” racing driver “The Stig.” Some say he is illegal in 17 US states and that he blinks horizontally. All we know is he wrote a book in which he talks about the precision, bravery and sheer talent that is required to breathe life into the beautiful cinematography that has become a staple of Top Gear.
The art of pulling focus is certainly a difficult one. On cinema style lenses — and even on DSLR’s — there is no auto focus option, which means the crisp sharpness of an image is left in the hands of a human. Or is it? Fritz Gabriel Bauer, the man who helped develop both the Moviecam and Arricam, has gone on to create a system called EasyFocus. It isn’t designed to replace focus pullers, simply make their job easier, but what is it and how does it work?
Zen, the ancient Buddhist practice of attaining enlightenment, has a lot to teach in a variety of disciplines. Its proverbs are purposefully vague while being explicitly contradictory to force the practitioner to find meaning within them. Camera assisting, I believe, takes a great deal of mental focus and zen can help push the mind to hone it’s power to the fullest extent. There are many zen proverbs that can offer advice about camera assisting and filmmaking in general. In this post, I’d like to take a look at some of my favorites and what they have to say about a career in film.
When it comes to cardboard and gaff tape, I’m a real MacGyver. That combination of raw material brings out the engineer in me. With one in each hand, I’m like Edward Scissorhands in the brush or Michelangelo in a rock quarry. For instance, when I heard a crackle in my radio ear-piece on Below the Beltway for a water bottle carrier, it was no problem. But that was minor construction compared to the challenge I received a few days later from the same guys.