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Sean Cunningham

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Everything posted by Sean Cunningham

  1. Yeah, I like both. I loved the original when I saw it but Fincher's version will be the one I reach for more often. Cronenweth's photography is a big reason.
  2. Yeah, it looks to be a dynamite little camera and it or the MFT BMCC are my first choice for upgrades for my GH2, even before Metabones introduced the BMD specific SpeedBooster models. Our last feature was very low budget and I just remember every dollar counting. Small luxuries made a major impact and if I'd spent the money in the beginning to get me a new camera it would have been felt elsewhere. We would have been without something, I don't know what, but it wouldn't have just been absorbed. A few months out before the actual budget was put together that would have been different, and then the new camera would have been included in the list of "existing assets".
  3. There's always the risk of feeling buyer's remorse with technology but, realistically, your film won't be any better or worse off no matter the decision you make. 4K isn't something most folks should be concerned about. It's no guarantee of a better looking film if it was projected in a theater and if it's not being projected in a theater it's pretty much a waste of money and resources and effort that could be used elsewhere. Most theatrical films are still finished 2K (regardless of origination) unless a director has the juice to force production to pony up for a 4K finish. You would think that for $100+ million dollar blockbusters this would just be a given, since they're already spending a mint but that isn't the case. It's still quite rare. Not as rare as even a year ago but it's not standard practice to finish 4K. Making your own feature, either putting up your own money or getting some from investors, you should save yourself the headache. Spend the money that might be needed for extra storage or an upgrade to your editorial on something like catering, being able to bump your key talent's per diem a bit or the wrap party (or wrap gifts...I didn't understand the importance of these my first indie). And make sure you even really need to upgrade your camera, considering it's an asset you already own. $1500 goes a long way on an independent feature. I admit I never thought much about the T2i but that was before seeing Kendy's stuff... ...I'm a GH2 guy and know it's technically a better camera but operator talent (along with the quality of the content) can render technical jibber jabber and megabits rather meaningless.
  4. Last night I watched American Hustle and it was mostly shot on a 24mm, all steadicam, where the operator moved in from wides to two-shots or tighter framing. Lots of long takes. Not only was the lens not overly distorting for the wides (like the annoying steadicam work in The Conjuring) but I didn't, in this instance, miss the giant, creamy bokeh of a CU/portrait lens for every close-up. Detail and skin rendition was not diminished any more than the magnitude of the performance and drama.
  5. No. This is entirely wrong. Please just stop Mark. Actually, no. You've continued to simply re-state incorrect information. That's okay, I don't care anymore. This is boring now. Goodbye.
  6. But I don't find Kubrick to be an exception and you haven't offered any supporting evidence to your claim that he is one. Take, for instance, Fincher. He doesn't frame like Kubrick or cover action like Kubrick and there isn't a lot of overly distorted perspective in his films yet he gravitates to sub-30mm lenses for films that are not action films, all narrative. Then there's the loads of anamorphic films which are not mostly covered 50mm+ Distortion is not a given based on focal length. It is not a uniform expectation. It is also effected by aspect ratio. In the context of Kubrick, his films were mostly shot in non-widescreen or the very conservative varieties that were still quite tall. A given lens's sense of distortion is incredibly enhanced by seeing so much headroom and legroom. Take the same lens package, put it into the hands of another filmmaker who masks to a truly wide widescreen and you will end up with a different sense of distortion. It wasn't just the lenses he chose it was how he chose to use them. So if Kubrick is an exception and Fincher is an exception, David O Russel is an exception, P.T. Anderson is an exception, Wes Anderson is an exception, John McTiernan is an exception, Edgar Wright is an exception, John Carpenter is an exception, Quentin Tarantino is an exeption, Terence Malick is an exception, Brian DePalma is an exception...I hope you see where I'm going. Exceptional directors, those known for bold, cinematic style, seem to be the exception here. I'm okay with that. I have no intention of using un-exceptional visual storytelling as any sort of guide. You have your Tony Scotts, Michael Manns and Peter Bergs who swing the exact opposite way and shoot everything with telephoto lenses from across the room and down the block but more often than not when I go to investigate the cinematography of a film I want to know more about it proves to be mostly shot on wider than middle-of-the-road focal lengths. I've got most of the references to back that up, going back to 2007 at my fingertips (with access to some material going back to 1997 online), since my older ACMs are in storage right now. Putting that into words, however, and thinking about it, sitting here, I will admit that my chosen sampling of filmmakers constitutes a statistical problem. My investigations of films, filmmakers and DPs reinforces my position. It's rare that I'll take the time to look into how a film that didn't grab me, visually, was made and there are an awful lot more of those than the work of the directors and DPs that I typically find exceptional and visually engaging. So, yeah, I could be totally wrong about the effective mode FOV looking at a larger sampling of production. I likely am wrong in this case (see Mark). Somehow I'm not feeling too bad about it though ;)
  7. I'm sorry, I wish I could but some things still need addressing because I'm not fully convinced... If that was the only thing that he'd written, if that was a paragraph on its own or a single line reply you would be correct. But you're cherry picking and/or fixating on one line without placing it into the context of the paragraph it's in. You're going to continue to confuse yourself if you don't take context for the entire thought into account before trying to be a grammar nazi and throw discussions needlessly off track. Here we can agree and you shouldn't throw stones since you've done it yourself in this thread. Um, no, you're wrong again. Anamorphic is not printed on Super 35mm or a Super 35mm format. In fact it can be considered the antithesis to Super 35mm. Also, anamorphic would never be "printed" on Super 35mm but films shot Super 35mm were routinely printed to anamorphic release prints. Both Super 35 and anamorphic 35mm are 4-perf 35mm formats. Super 35mm is full silent aperture and spherical and an acquisition format. Anamorphic 35mm is both an acquisition and release format. In the case of what I was responding to my tone might have been a response to the mentioning of "perfs" which is an irrelevant component to FOV given the context of "anamorphic". By this time all hope for clarity for the OP had virtually been lost and the thread was a complete mess. Before you can champion standards and precise thinking you need to also be correct in your precise use of standards. Seriously, dude. I welcome anyone to point out when I'm wrong about anything. You're the one going on about "standards" and misuse and have been the most un-knowledgeable poster here. I would also like to point out that I'm likely in the 1% of this board that's actually worked extensively with 35mm material and in the context of my work I have to be precise. It's why I absolutely loathe the whole concept of "crop factor", because I consider them imprecise bullshit and often completely irrelevant when introduced into a motion picture conversation. I was paying you a compliment by originally not wanting to believe you were this wrong here, hence the "troll" comment. I fully admit aggression though. I'll own that. You better be capable of bringing it if you want to dispute or argue something with me. You better be able to actually argue, not simply state an opinion. I don't respect opinion I respect argument. If I'm wrong about something, I'm wrong and I'm not too proud to admit it. But you had better be able to prove it and back it up. Put me on ignore if you like.
  8. Nobody said Alexa did full frame. Nobody put the "full frame" label on a Super 35mm film. You have been confused this whole time it seems though I should also point out that you should not put the Super 35mm label on a digital film shot on Alexa. It would be acceptable to apply the Super 35mm label to a particular sensor, regarding its size. It is not acceptable to apply the label Super 35mm to any motion picture shot on Alexa (or any other digital camera). VistaVision is the common brand of "full frame" 35mm for motion pictures and the only reason it was even brought into this discussion was due to what seemed like odd confusion in your contribution to the thread. If you're talking motion pictures and "full frame" you're talking about VistaVision because that's what there is. This should clear things up for you: First, you misread Andy's post regarding the photography of Skyfall. Andy was agreeing with Axl's erroneous theory that there's a preference and/or standardization in motion picture photography on an FOV equivalency to a 50mm lens shot on a "full frame" camera. Andy was not saying Skyfall was shot "full frame" (which would mean shot VistaVision (or on a 1D or a 5D)). He stated that the 32mm lens favored on that production was close to the FOV of a 50mm on a "full frame" camera. Go back and re-read it. He then re-iterated to you that he wasn't saying the film was shot "full frame" but on Alexa. You then asked whether the Alexa shoots "full frame". You then got multiple replies that it did not including info relevant to the OP's thrust for this thread, confusion over 35mm film and "full frame" 35mm as it relates to motion pictures. For all intents and purposes, VistaVision is how "full frame" relates to 35mm motion pictures, end of story. A brief anomaly and mildly interesting historical footnote. You then stated the redundant, obvious fact to Andy that the Alexa doesn't do VistaVision. At this point I was just giving you the benefit of the doubt in offering that you were trolling us. Sorry to seem mean. I really hope you get it now.
  9. No, there's no reason for a cine camera to do that since there's very little precedent for 8-perf motion pictures. It was a very short lived format which got a revival for visual effects plate photography. Economically and physically, it's just not terribly practical (lots more footage that has to run horizontally rather than vertically). You're better off shooting 65mm if you want large format, realistically. Super-35mm is a 24.89mm wide image area so electronic cine cameras will gravitate towards approximating that size or smaller so that motion picture DPs retain continuity with their lens preferences from film work. Arri and RED went a little larger with 27.8mm and 27.64mm sensors, respectively. RED went a little larger with a 27.65mm sensors (Epic & Scarlett). I quoted a bogus figure from the most handy table I had on various digital cameras and it had an incorrect figure for the Alexa, which is actually 23.76mm wide.
  10. High quality, large diameter diopters just aren't common. Doublet even less so which are the best. After all, they're designed for stills photographers trying to squeeze macro functionality out of non-macro lenses. Those most useful to anamorphic enthusiasts (an incidental quality with respect to their main purpose) are going to be in the decimal strengths which may have less appeal for the stills guys. Looking at what's commonly available, most are smaller than the Tokina doublet's 72mm diameter and way stronger than its +.4 strength. Depending on what you need the diopter for you might be able to get by for a while with an alternative. A multi-coated singlet design should be just fine if you're mainly needing to be able to focus closer and not as concerned about cleaning up aberration. I don't know that Hoya makes any in the sub +1 strength though, which is too strong for anything but ECU, generally. Folks wanting an alternative to Tokina now should contact Andrew at SLR Magic (support@slrmagic.com) and inquire about their new 77mm doublets (achromatic, like the Tokina +.4) as a +.33 and +1.3 set. They'll set you back less than half the going price for the Tokina.
  11. This would be the first time I've heard of this. It still seems very special interest though with lots of sports potential. You would of course have to light for high speed by default. Not a big deal for sports though.
  12. Unsqueezed, I'm assuming you're meaning. Width wise it actually represents an even larger image area than the 5D's 135 format sized sensor, clocking in at 42mm x 17.5mm for modern 2X anamorphic photography, 42.6mm x 17.8mm for films between 1970 and 1993 and 42.6mm x 18.2mm for anamorphic films prior to this.
  13. Filmmakers like David Fincher will often go with two main lenses. One for close-ups and a wide for almost everything else. This depends largely on the type of coverage the director goes for as well as their framing style. If they like longer takes and don't like to chop everything up with lots of coverage they're going to use fewer lenses and skew towards wider focal lengths. The now-in-theaters American Hustle, for instance, was shot mostly on a 24mm.
  14. Yes, he's an amazing guy. It's too bad he went a little crazy with the whole ShowScan thing and took his toys and left when nobody wanted what he was selling. I can only imagine how things might have turned out different by the early '90s if he was still a presence in the VFX industry because nobody else, not even ILM, did miniatures and mattes or opticals to his level. As for Moon, I'm assuming you're making a reference to 2001. Trumbull was very innovative on that film and the work stands to this day but I feel his name has mistakenly been associated with the entirety of the work and absolute responsibility. Con Pederson was the effects supervisor for 2001 and deserves the lion's share of the credit for the work. He was a quiet guy though and preferred to stay in the background. He went on to co-found two award winning effects companies (Robert Abel & Associates, Metrolight Studios) as well as become one of the godfathers of computer graphics. Not only a major influence on my getting into the industry but, as luck would have it, one of my first mentors once I'd arrived. I don't know that any of the Dark Knight effects really derive directly from Trumbull. He's one of several giants that all visual effects pay respect to. His legacy is more one of optical quality and design. Don't forget, the difference between how miniatures were handled between the days of 2001, where you couldn't do repeatable pass miniature photography (which dictated the style of photography and compositing used in that film), and Blade Runner, whose work depended on heavy use of repeated photography of miniatures plates, was because of John Dykstra. Trumbull's company was ultimately just better at it and so his work in the '80s stands above ILM's on the Star Wars trilogy, Indiana Jones and E.T. (among others) or that of Richard Edlund's BOSS Film (2010, Ghost Busters, etc.). You didn't see distinct matte lines or obvious density changes or hue shifts in the optical composites of effects elements in Trumbull's company's work. He even proved to be a gifted storyteller. Brainstorm, to this day, is one of my favorite films (scifi or otherwise), was decades ahead of its time and is often criminally overlooked because its failure at the box office is so linked to Trumbull's failure to make ShowScan "a thing". It's too bad. No. It's an involuntary reaction. Trumbull (and perhaps psychologists before this, but his work on ShowScan is the most appropriate in this context) and his research measured what was going on in a person's brain under different stimulus. That's got nothing to do with culture and everything to do with evolution. It's getting into fight-or-flight territory. This isn't frontal lobe stuff. If it was just the temporal aesthetic then, yes, audiences could grow to at least accept HFR but the brain is processing HFR stimulus in a completely different way than "normal" film and this is wired and unavoidable. It isn't simply an aesthetic issue and that's why Jackson was a fool. Jackson is essentially making the fat/ugly girl's argument on the subject. Here too, science has already proven that attraction is involuntary and derived from areas of the brain beyond the bounds of our conscious control (or influence by culture). edit: besides the temporal issue, going back to the spatial issue, it's been a known phenomenon since the birth of HDTV that techniques that used to work with old formats, be that SD analog or film, do not work with HD. That compounds Jackson's error. None of the craft associated with what it takes to pull off the visuals in a fantasy film are unaffected by the change. They have not kept pace with technology, many of them. Make-up is hit the worst. They've failed to keep up even with an audience's expectations and changes in shooting styles on film. The shift to digital is something whole sections of the make-up effects industry may never recover from. They need multiple quantum leaps in materials and mechanical techniques now. The days of locked off cameras and shooting everything in the dark are long gone.
  15. The "sharper" aspect has to do with the shutter speed, not the frame rate. When you increase the frame rate you're also increasing the shutter speed. Shooting with a high shutter speed at 24fps produces the same spatial crispness just without the temporal fluidity that the higher frame rate would have given it. In the 48-60fps range your brain chemistry changes how it interprets visual stimulus. At these speeds it's treating it as something happening live and now. That doesn't mean that you consciously accept what you're seeing as real, because you don't suddenly forget you're watching a movie and sitting in a theater but your brain is interpreting the imagery as something that you're witnessing in realtime. This can create certain involuntary reactions to what you see (good for novelty/theme park films). All of the research into this phenomenon was done a long time ago by Douglas Trumbull. As a measured scientific fact this is something that Peter Jackson needlessly screwed up on, either because he failed to research previous HFR for narrative attempts or because he failed to properly interpret the data (as well as appreciate the absolute flop that ShowScan was). He likely thought that the very real changes in brain chemistry that happen when a viewer is stimulated this way would aid the audience's suspension of disbelief but it works in the opposite way as well. HFR allows the audience to see through the veil of pseudo-realism that works for narrative films (that used to also count on the impressionistic recording of light and color by celluloid which added 50-75% more production value to what was being photographed in the case of miniatures, mattes and make-up) and perceive what's actually happening before their eyes: people playing dress-up, with heavy make-up on, carrying props that look like expensive items from a Halloween Store.
  16. No you're not. You're waiting for someone else to bring you and/or give one.
  17. It looks like there are tradeoffs compared to the LA7200. On the one hand, it's sharper, particularly at the edges and you can use it at okay stops below 80mm (pre-diopter). I can't recall ever seeing any LA7200 footage that wasn't either soft all over or really soft at the edges when shot wider than f/5.6 at nearly any focal length unless a diopter was used -OR- the unit had been modified so that the front and rear element could be spaced by the operator. Flaring looks muted, even in other tests from their (supposedly) most flare friendly coating, and it doesn't appear to allow follow-focus with any lens that breathes (like an LA7200 modified so that the front and rear element could be spaced by the operator). Someone needs to do a thorough side-by-side with the Panasonic to see what's really going on. Even better if they've got one that's been split, to see if that's all it takes to make an LA7200 a better flaring Letus. It wouldn't solve the new caveat precluding follow-focus but I'd eat my words that the Letus kills demand and street price for the Panasonic.
  18. Cinema lenses feature T-stops which is an actual measurement of the light transmission rather than simply a physical calculation of the focal to iris ratio of a lens. F-stops don't guarantee the same transmission of light between lens type or manufacturer. An SLR zoom, for instance, will likely transmit slightly less light than a prime at the same F-stop (because of light loss in the glass), meaning f/4 isn't always f/4 in terms of effective exposure. The two lenses would have different T-stops if measured. It's just a more precise reference and when you see it used you know the lens in question was designed for cinema. Yes. I think it's significant too that the first clips coming from the D16 are nicer looking than the earliest footage from the BMCC/BMPCC. There's great looking stuff now, to be sure, but perhaps the D16 will be easier for some folks to get something decent, more out-of-the-box where too many BMD customers bought more camera than they know what to do with, to see all that still-raw looking, flat footage still being posted online.
  19. Here ya go: Planet5D article on "Happy" ...sorry for the derailment of the Bolex thread. PS> down in the comments section of that article, 1st AC Scott Johnson confirms about 80% of the video was shot at T1.4
  20. You haven't watched enough of it, really watched it for technique, or read about it then. Seriously, I triple-dog-dare you to tell any 1st AC familiar with that production that it looks like an easy job. Flip a coin whether they laugh or want to punch you. You're looking with Joe Audience eyes. Great 1st ACs are the hardest working guy on the camera team and their work is practically invisible. That's a 50mm and the stop varied between T1.4 and T2.8 and has many moments of "godly" focus pulling, considering there were practically no second takes. Regardless of all that, even in the short, chopped up version it's easy enough to see how impossible it would be for any dual-focus system. You can't move once much less constantly be adjusting. The opening shot (from 1AM), before the first cut, has no point where the focus is static or at a fixed distance. Williams even stops moving forward while the camera continues on and goes from an MCU to a Medium. Then a bunch of cuts that are a second or two out of full-runs of the song (there is 24hrs of performance that went into the 4min posted edit BTW, and you can see it all), and we see the camera pulling back from a fixed subject. It's full of moments like that, and subjects going from back to foreground, through frame, end of song + subject handing off to new subject and restart of song. The steadicam ops were wasted after walking backwards for 12-15Km a day but the 1st AC would be exhausted as well, not only because they were constantly working but from the stress of no second takes (they claim ~10 restarts out of 370 setups). No sir, it's the gymkhana of focus pull productions. Watch harder.
  21. For my needs only one of the rare focusable options will do, if shooting 4:3. That precludes anything "reasonably priced". One of the most important features any adapter must have, for me to buy it, is the ability to follow focus. It has to pass what I call the "Happy Test" now. If you couldn't have used it to shoot Pharell Williams' 24hrs of Happy I'm not interested. Moving camera, moving subject, cinematic stop (and allow for wide angles). That's just me though. Lots of folks work around the fairly static tableau a reasonably priced, dual-focus adapter imposes because they have different requirements or interests.
  22. Take that preset as a start but up it to at least 25Mbits. Professionals upload 50-70 or even 100Mbit files (and they are officially encouraged to do so, no matter what their BS upload guidelines are for average users) and that's a big reason why when you look at an official trailer, music video, etc., even if you're looking at a 5Mbit stream, it will look lightyears better than any 5Mbit stream Joe Sixpack uploads (if they're using 5Mbit presets intended for and included for novices whom Adobe knows likely can't tell the difference and aren't creating content where it matters anyway). Here's a good read on the subject, and a quote right from a YouTube infrastructure insider: ...the exact principle applies to VIMEO.
  23. I'm more commenting on it (D16) having, per the official spec sheet, a 320x240 2.4" viewfinder. I wanted to believe that this was simply a horrible misprint but there it is. For all the heat the BMPCC and BMCC have taken regarding their LCD at least you can make it work. The swivel LCD on my GH2 is totally useless outside without my loupe. Even a cheap loupe like mine makes the average 3" LCD on the GH2 useful regardless of ambient light. That or something nicer like a Z-Finder and you don't absolutely need external monitoring or EVF. They've got a pretty nice one tailored for the BMPCC too. There's the very real issue of the rigid screen not being optimal for all operation styles but it can work. Ironically, the loupe/viewfinders for the BMD cameras only work well in exactly the shooting position the D16 is designed for, face height, close to or pressed against the face for stability. $20 and you get a nice pistol grip to complete the "rigging". But there's just no getting around some form of external viewing/monitoring on the Bolex though, unless you're just going really old school with a fixed focus lens at the family reunion BBQ or Christmas party. I wouldn't call that a deal breaker, it's just a reality. You have to really compare this thing to buying the BMD 4K camera since you'll need to add about $500 or so for a halfway decent means to see what you're doing and by that point you're really close to $4K being the true price of entry. 4:3 though, that's a compelling capability if they follow through. I'm also hoping to see that little crank do something truly useful and unique, like speed ramping perhaps and doing Man on Fire and Domino style hand crank footage. It seems like a given that this is what it should do if it does anything at all.
  24. It reduces the image circle so that the sensor sees more of it. This has the effect of boosting the light the same way a magnifying glass makes light that passes through it brighter (and if focused to a point burn wood, ants, etc.). The reciprocal effect is also valid so you can think of it as scaling up the size of your sensor (ie. the standard MFT SpeedBooster turns the GH2's 19mm sensor into a 26.76mm sensor). That is very cool if they can make good on their 4:3 promise. That would be the one feature that could make me consider buying a D16 over a BMPCC or BMCC and well worth the slightly lower DR, goofy case and much higher cost of entry (besides base price, that little display is a joke so add on an EVF or mini-HD monitor).
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