‘Doomed’ theater chain AMC in the US has potentially been saved from oblivion, with over half a billion dollars of debt ($600 million) wiped out. Great news for cinema-goers and movie enthusiasts who want cinemas to actually go back to after the pandemic. However the machinations of how this happened are the far bigger story, capping a volatile and historic week on the stock market. (And yes, I have bought some DOGEcoin).
Sony go 8K finally – with the Alpha 1 (a1) mirrorless camera announced today. It is the most technically advanced camera Sony has ever released, and also the most expensive. It has a 30 minute limit in 8K mode due to heat, but a proper structure inside the camera to dissipate it more quickly. The camera is $2000 more expensive than the Canon EOS R5, but likely more dependable rather than the toy-like will-it-won’t-it get through a shoot reliability we have come to expect from Canon. Technically the Alpha 1 has a number of advantages over the cheaper Canon body. 8.6K oversampling and 4K/120p 10bit 422 ALL-I come from a faster sensor readout due to a stacked DRAM architecture and the world’s first electronic shutter that eliminates banding & flicker. The 30 minute limitation applies to 4K/60p as well but the 4K/24p mode is likely to record for longer. It is not known yet whether the 4K at regular frame rates on this camera comes from a pixel binned output or a full 8K sensor output.
The codec options are similar to the A7S III with 10bit 422 ALL-I at high bit rates, 10bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS in 8K (H.265). S-LOG 3, Creative Looks and S-Cinetone (hopefully the A7S III will also be getting S-Cinetone via firmware update). Real-time eye AF works in 8K and the new stacked Exmor R sensor enables an incredibly fast readout with minimal rolling shutter. We get 5.5 stop 5 axis IBIS and a large 9 million dot EVF.
Here’s the full headline specification for video shooters:
- New 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor in combination with an upgraded BIONZ XR™ imaging processing engine
- Full frame 8K (up to 30p) 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary detail and resolution, in addition to 4K 120p and 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 movie shooting capabilities
- 8K slightly oversampled from 8.6K. In Super 35mm 5.8K oversampling for 4K.
- S-LOG 3, Hybrid LOG Gamma (HLG), Creative Looks
- S-Cinetone color matrix as seen in FX9 and FX6 to deliver expressive cinematic look
- Fast sensor readout enables up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second (double the speed of the Alpha 9 II, even during 30fps black out free continuous shooting)
- World’s first 240fps 0.64-type 9.44 million-dot (approx.) OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder
- Silent, vibration-free electronic shutter
- World’s first anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter
- 15+ stops dynamic range for video
- 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization for a 5.5-stop shutter speed advantage
- Industry’s fastest built-in Wi-Fi, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 1000BASE-T Ethernet and more
- A hefty price tag of $6500 (US)
Canon’s imaging division general manager Takeshi Tokura has given an interview to Japanese camera website Toyokeizai in which he touches on the EOS R5’s controversial debut for filmmakers.
Tokura claims 8K went on there in an effort to be first ahead of other companies, and that he doesn’t care whether it attracts video users or not.
One of the great features Apple has introduced lately is to prevent tracking scripts following you as you browse the web, creating personal data profiles that are sold to advertisers. Advertises bid for banners on nearly all camera-related websites. In order to target the right people and bid for the most compelling slots, they need to know who is watching. Web surfing history and private user information is used to build a unique profile of you.
Recently I re-watched one of my all-time favourites of Kingsley’s movies “Sexy Beast”. This film is a gem.
He plays tense, psychotic London gangster “Don”. It is the character people will always compare to his most famous role as Ghandi if only to demonstrate the sheer range of the guy, but for me the true genius of Kingsley is his fierce intelligence and originality – how he has a knack for making performances so memorable. The video above is a great watch. I liked his account of Martin Scorsese’s working methods. That he trusts his actors to deliver, giving them the space to contribute, to work the scene themselves, without stuff being constantly telegraphed to them from the side of the set.
As it happens, Sexy Beast is directed by Jonathan Glazer, who came up through the music video ranks in the UK. Some of his earlier work, commercials, are unique experiences as well which stay with me. Sexy Beast is just so thoroughly enjoyable and everyone should give it a watch if they haven’t already. Also Under The Skin with Scarlett Johansson is another of his avant-garde voyage of discoveries – a really odd art-house style film to watch, not as crowd pleasing as Sexy Beast but still very memorable, nightmarish and original. Glazer had Johansson drive around Glasgow in a white van picking up prey (real men folk) on the streets, improvising with these unsuspecting members of the public, weaving them into the movie. It feels so real and believable because it is. They had no inkling or suggestion that they were being filmed in the van, or were in a film, other than the fact that the attractive driver looked unerringly like Scarlett Johansson. Glazer also directed the music video for Radiohead’s Karma Police.
Kingsley’s turn in Sexy Beast is available to watch on Amazon prime here.
Is there No Limit to our suffering.
Locked in a race as to who can kill the arts first, we bear witness to a gargantuan dick swinging contest fought between haphazard bureaucrats in government and a deadly bat pathogen. The fight is escalating with no end in sight, but one thing is for sure – corporate America will profit endlessly.
From the moment 11-year old Gal Gadot nearly gets her head sliced off by a giant pendulum, the tone is set. This is a film about complete bollocks. It isn’t even art. I can’t relate to, or enjoy any character. They are all selfish, privileged, shallow people. Yet Wonder Woman 1984 has nailed itself to gender equality, and female identity, thus putting itself beyond criticism.
WW84 starts right away in the spirit of equality and women’s rights. Yes, the opening scene is a fitness pageant. The winner being the one who can jump, leap, ride and shoot their way to the top of a podium in front of an audience of baying supermodels. On the way, a rainbow array of draped flags resembling a bar chart hang from a giant vaginal piercing to grade their progress, as they swim like sperm in a giant ocean. These horrible hyper-competitive masculine women in spandex rush around doing bad CGI gymnastics, covering superhuman distances as if in a video game with a cheat mode.
WW84 is a grating $200 million dollar B-movie.
Here begins a series of blog thoughts from me on the state of the world and filmmaking in 2021, after humanity decided to go headlong into a full dystopia like you see in the movies. There will in the future be many great cinematic masterpieces about our plight as citizens in the year 2020. Anyone who has seen Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker’s “Death to 2020” on Netflix can see for themselves the historic plot twists and sheer lunacy of what we’ve been going through the past year.
The overriding themes for me are very interesting and the basis probably for a very good script. Number one, the insane stupidity compounding all of our problems right now. Number two, the status of the truth and why people turn to conspiracy and superstition when faced with hard facts they don’t like. Exhibit A) The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shaking hands with coronavirus patients and putting himself in intensive care as a result. Exhibit B) All those loony conspiracists and covidiots, some in charge of entire countries, others packed into crowded beaches and shops during the summer as if it was all over.
This battle boils down to the beliefs of individuals, versus what’s right for the collective good of society and what scientific truth tells us. When I see the residents of Paris fleeing the government, due to arbitrary restrictions, I feel for them. The battle for our freedoms, versus the urgent containment of a public health crisis was never going to be easy for the French.
Then in Russia, the truth is pretty much what you can get away with. If a lie serves a means to an end, or makes you money, then it’s pretty much par for the course. I’ve been thinking about how our relationship with the truth is drastically changing like it has for the Russians, and we’re becoming more and more like RT News. When Angela Merkel gave her New Year’s Eve address from Berlin earlier this week, I couldn’t help being repulsed by the sheer logic and factual content of it. In her speech, I wanted to see some inspiration, some patriotism, some aspiration, some hope. I just got a bunch of dry facts telling it like it is and then felt like killing myself afterwards.