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Sean Cunningham

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Everything posted by Sean Cunningham

  1. Yeah, I think I'm gonna watch it again tonight.
  2. The way I see it, once you rig up a small large sensor camera to actually shoot and handle like a motion picture camera you're around this weight, or heavier and something approaching this form factor.  Alexa, RED and the Panavision are bigger and heavier yet but when you see how they're actually used the Black Betty has more in common with them and is more ready to be used like them than any DSLR or FS-style camcorder that needs more mass and additional construction to correct their alien ergonomics.   Most DSLR rigs for handheld are "doing it wrong", placing the camera out, in front of the operator, at a distance from the operator's center of mass and on a pendulum, swinging through space for both broad moves and small corrections.  This design works like the better shoulder rigs, placing the camera back on the shoulder with the lens and image plane as close to center mass as possible.  It's like an Aaton or compact Arri.  Folks aren't shooting actual films with DSLRs and small FS-style camcorders as-is, generally.  When they do you can tell and regardless of how lovely the imagery is, as a still, small, lightweight camera movement plays worse than Bourne-style "shaky cam" done with real cinema cameras on hand-held rigs.   Naked camera ergonomics are usually a non-issue when you put them in the context of how the camera ultimately gets used, in a motion picture scenario (why the fuss over the BMCC or DSLR ergonomics has always been silly to me).  After all the rigging they tend to look quite similar and you're interfacing with the rig, not so much the camera.  This camera just requires less additions to get there and, unlike a DSLR or the BMCC or FS-style camera, you can just pick this one up in base configuration, out-of-the-box and shoot in a traditional, motion picture style that comes through in the footage.   But, yeah, Slumdog had a lot of SI2K footage that looked great and it took home the Oscar for cinematography that year.  This is also the same size sensor as used in the Viper which Harris Savides used for Fincher on Zodiac and Fincher used again on Benjamin Button.  We'd all rather be using larger than 2/3" sensors but there's no doubt this size is still capable of creating cinematic images.
  3. He responded on VIMEO saying he was using ND and shooting at f/2 but doesn't specify the strength.  I'm still not convinced it was enough knowing broad daylight on a GH2 I had to use an ND9 to get to f/11 or f/16 at ISO160 and 1/50 shutter the last time I shot broad daylight in the sun and without that I'd have been at f/22 and a shutter speed anywhere from 1/200 to 1/2000 depending on which direction I was facing.   I had an ND6 and ND3 with me and could have stacked to be able to open up further but that still would have put me closer to f/4 and, again, that's at ISO160 sensitivity.  Had I jacked the ISO to 800 I'd have been back at 1/3-stop above f/11 before resorting to stopping through shutter speed, if my math is right.   Seeing the blooming on car lights in night footage here in this thread leads me to believe it's not entirely a case of the raw data being totally incongruous with the meta exposure but I'm reminded of some of the first BMCC footage that I ever saw from someone's tropical vacation, shot RAW of course, and it did not have the same problems.     It's a non-phenomenon in the splendidly graded BMCC ProRes footage in "Conyne Eylandt" by Diego Contreras so there's that, assuming BMD is using the same ProRes luts between cameras and it's essentially the same sensor with the same color science.  But it's not the same exact sensor or camera so it's not safe assuming anything and there's still plenty of room for a critical flaw, somewhere.    Still, while there are multiple areas you can spot the blooming in "Auckland in My Pocket", it's way less objectionable when you're not a tit and you grade your log looking ProRes, like they did, like Bloom did and like Brawley does.  It doesn't stick out like a sore thumb like what we're seeing here and while present, if you really look for it in Brawley's market video, it's pretty much a non-issue or at least not a deal-breaking issue, even with the minimal grading he has been publishing.   But I'm just looking at the evidence and weighing what is common to the footage where the artifact is either not there, or doesn't jump off the screen and poke you in the eye.  The biggest common thread seen is you put it in the hands of professional photographers and you get nice looking footage.  From there you have to either assume there's a conspiracy afoot and the pros are all in on it or this is not a point-and-shoot camera, regardless of its looks, and Joe Blogger and Random Prosumer Customer are using a more complex hardware+software device than they're used to and that's why their footage looks broken.
  4.   If I'm not mistaken, he used ND, so that he was actually exposing closer to the camera's natural ISO rather than relying on the meta exposure that just scales the RAW values (which are over-exposed) before conversion to ProRes.  The BMD sensor sees further into highlights than the 5D or Epic but there are limits.     I bet the conversion to ProRes has a hand on top of this.  The BMCC's ProRes conversion was/is likewise pretty mediocre from what I remember in Andrew's story many months back.  It's definitely not as good as if you'd shot RAW and done the conversion yourself.   Wanna bet you throw some "black glass" on there and get closer to working at ISO 800 for these harsh daylight shots and all of the sudden the footage starts to look more like John Brawley's.     GD...WTF...why do people post ungraded stuff?
  5.   I didn't get that impression at all.  The world inhabited by most of the characters was old but part of the conflict, a key part of the themes explored in this film was old world versus new world.  There's plenty of parts of any city (generally, head east and/or south) where it's not all Starbucks and Chilis and The Gap and things are as they've been for a long time.  Liquor stores and check cashing places with inch thick plexi at every teller window outnumber banks or chain anything.  The slick, modern world is for the middle class suburbanite.   Pitt's character and the world of the underground card games and petty criminals all scrounging for their livelihood down in the gutter were the "old" world, oppressed but still relevant and the grease for the modern, streamlined and corporate bosses that were actually above it all, who didn't need to live in the gutter to profit from its existence, calling the shots with oblivion through a proxy, a man who was the one completely modern individual in the whole film.  He drove a period accurate, high end luxury sedan and was obviously not a part of the world he was visiting.   The unseen bosses simply wanted a return to the status quo, with money flowing upward and they had no personal stake in any local issues and  no interest in violence or the dog psychology observed by the trash that were now being guarded with their money.  Sounds familiar, politically speaking.  And that whole key part of the story would not have worked at all in a period piece set in the 1970s.   The film didn't need the extra parallel layer of political narrative, I'll agree, but by the time you get to the end you realize that the story is actually informing up from the street level to explain the political narrative and not the other way around.   Even Gandolfini's character could be seen as a casualty of the modern world, once part of Pitt's character's world and a fearsome player in the Underworld, now all twisted, emotional, decadent and worried for the future, unfocused and seemingly unable to change his own path.  To much indulgence in a more modern way of life, out of the gutter, had made him weak and now unable to take care of business.  Anyway, that was my interpretation.
  6. One of the major stand-outs for me, performance-wise, is Ben Mendelsoh (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0578853/) who I hadn't a clue about as an actor until first seeing him in The Dark Knight Rises and later in the trailer for The Place Beyond the Pines.  He's mostly a comedic foil but he's so committed to the junky sad sack he plays here it's one of those quietly amazing roles that's just so entertaining.  He's a true chameleon, like a Sam Rockwell or William Fichtner.
  7. Paulio, those are likely just two of the guys that are part of Riot Unit, not actors.  They make music videos and this isn't part of any of their work they were simply proving a point.  They have done some anamorphic projects but most aren't.  Whether or not focus like this is good or bad is also an aesthetic call.  You may not like it but there's a long line of folks who wouldn't be down for a 2X adapter with no flare.   Though it's not terribly necessary on an NEX they might have been trying the CU focusing technique employed by Harris Savides on ZODIAC where, due to the 2/3" sensor size of the Viper, he purposely focused in front of the actors with their faces skirting into the rear portion of in-focus volume.   We don't know any specifics besides camera, lens, adapter and diopter power, only that the point of these pictures is to prove that an oval bokeh is possible with a properly kitted 1.33X adapter.     edit: given that they were hard stopped to f/5.6 if any of these were actually taken at the 70mm end of the zoom, I'm of the opinion that they are definitely focusing in front of the actor if their eyes and nose are at different levels of focus.   They're likely trying to overcome how awful that Nikon zoom is for doing what they're doing.   edit2: It could also be that the diopter is too powerful for the distance they're shooting and needed to maybe stack a +1 and a +.5 or something.  Even a junk set of CU diopters seriously sharpens things up, ovals up the bokeh but it does put new limitations on workable focus distances.
  8.   That's actor experience (and the talent of your AC).  Believe me, I know.  You have to either alter your desired aesthetic to allow them to be spasmatic and overly-animated or you make them do it again.  I've noticed if they do a lot of stage and live performance or if that's where a majority of their experience is at you're going to have problems with them hitting marks in any composition.  The good ones know, however, small moves read and are what is appropriate for film.   They know instinctively when you put that CU lens on and they crave their CU.  Hinting that you may have to stick with wider in your coverage of them because they just can't hit their mark or appropriately scale their performance and odds are they're going to work on improving their craft.
  9.   Hmmm, that must have been someone else here as I've had mine for a little over a year now and have never been tempted to sell it.     Did you find that the Panasonic needed f/5.6 regardless of focal length?  I was able to work out on my Century Optics that f/2.8 was the cutoff for 24mm without diopter, corresponding to an 8.571mm opening.  Consistently, as I worked my way up through my lenses I had to stop down to get as close as I could to being at or smaller than this 8.571mm opening in order to have serviceable focus that I could then improve with the Tokina.     The lens experts here would likely be all, "well duh," but I can't say that I've ever seen this phenomenon expressed as more than a generality and the need to be "stopped down" which is generally true for anamorphic outside some of the 8mm and 16mm adapters that have their own laundry list of caveats, many of which preclude them from being interesting to me outside the novelty of having one.   So for my 35mm it was f/4 and 50mm it was f/5.833 but at f/5.6 plus the Tokina I was okay.  That definitely feels restrictive.  On MFT you can get a very decent looking CU and MCU with a 50mm but being that stopped down means weighing the aesthetic pros and cons of facial distortion + background control versus flatter CU but less depth separation.   The pre-production SLR Magic lens is focusing without a diopter at f/2.8 on a 35mm which is very encouraging.  At worst it points to at least offering one extra stop without diopter.  Hard to tell at this point but it looks like it could be sharper and cleaner at the edges than the Century as well, though I'm not bothered at all by a little fringing since you can find non-linear edge performance in Panavision Primo photography in the right/wrong set of circumstances.  I'm a fan of "dirty" anamorphic, full of flare and dreamy, the look of KILLING THEM SOFTLY being an extreme example.  It works for all the genres I really care about.
  10. It's less poetic Elmore Leonard style pulp fiction.  If you like noirish looks at petty criminals, heist films and dark humor there is a lot to like besides the highly stylized photography and anamorphic porn.  People went in with preconceived notions because of Brad Pitt and wanted something heroic.  Pitt is understated and accessible.  Humorous, brutal and (as is often the case) the pragmatic philosopher and hater of bullshit.     Audiences want him as the heroic protagonist but this is yet another in a long line of films that shows he's at his best as a character and as far away as can be from his tabloid cover image.   I love how the filmmaker uses the TV soundbite politics leading up to the 2008 presidential election as a parallel commentary on the motivations and actions of the economic microcosm at center stage of the film.
  11.   Oval bokeh with 1.33x adapter...     ...using a close-up diopter, like you would be having to use with most 2X cinema anamorphics for close focusing and to sharpen up the image not being stopped down.     ...more with a Century Optics 1.33x adapter and CU diopter.  The SLR Magic lens is already demonstrably sharper at faster apertures, meaning the potential for at least two stops more dramatic ovals.
  12. Just watched it.  Freakin' loved it.  This so didn't look like a contemporary film.  The only shots that didn't work for me were some of the process shots where it was obvious to me that Brad Pitt was shot against a greenscreen looking out the car window.     This film, like Fight Club, maintained a fairly consistent shooting stop regardless of day or night, interior or exterior, within ~.6 of a stop between the two films but the dogma is much more noticeable here because anamorphic.  This had such practical benefits with respect to lighting the scenes with economy, achieving naturalism while still being interesting and often beautiful to look at.     Totally works for me.  This, like the other, is a character driven film and it focuses the eye on the character, giving only an impressionistic view of the world they're inhabiting (in the case of Fight Club one that is, like Fincher purposely did with Se7en, never named).   Loved the car door shot.   That guy's 1st AC is a genuine focusing god.
  13. The filmmaker commented that the video was shot @ f/2.8 which gives this adapter, even in its current form, a distinct advantage over the Century Optics style adapters, since they can't do the same thing on a 35mm lens without a diopter.     This is looking like a nice upgrade for MFT anamorphic photography.  The earliest footage they released had a coating that produced a more pleasing flare so I'm not worried about that.
  14. The flare aesthetic will improve with the coating.  You can get oval bokeh with 1.33X adapters and the use of a +2 diopter.  What I'm interested in is what was the actual widest aperture used here.  Regardless of what the taking lens is capable of.   If it can't go wider than f/2.8  then it's not really an improvement on the Century Optics adapter, aside from possibly increased sharpness and reduced CA in the corners sans diopter.   So for this 35mm lens I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some of this was wider than f/4 which would make this adapter significantly better than a Century Optics.  
  15.   Make sure to check their actual speed though as 600x cards aren't a tight spec anymore than folks have found with the 1000x cards.  Many I've looked at are rated at no more than 45MB/sec write speed which isn't fast enough for Julian's highest confirmed, stable raw writing performance on the 50D.    Some brands you have to look at their 700x or 800x models to find fast enough write speeds.
  16. Seller with no feedback...yeah, wouldn't touch that with a 10' pole.
  17. Oh wow, I didn't know they had expanded up North.  That's cool.  I was back in LA for a week not too long ago and try to make it by to visit whenever I'm in town.  I know he's not the only sup there but whenever I see anything with the Zoic name attached I can't help but wonder if it's a Rocco show.  He's good people.
  18. Nobody really cares about GH2 stuff anymore but I figured I'd post these here anyhow.  Anyway, while we're waiting on financing to materialize for our next feature, Tim and I decided to shoot a series of spec commercial spots to go after some cashflow business.    All of these were shot using the Flowmotion patch and graded with Shian Storm's ColorGHear Tools for AfterEffects, each one geting its own look.  They pretty much cover looks from mild to more extreme.  Two of them, the beer and the BBQ spot, passed through Film Convert prior to grading.   http://vimeo.com/65760215   http://vimeo.com/65845523   http://vimeo.com/65759064   http://vimeo.com/65754973   ...there's a fifth one I'm dragging my feet on with motion-graphics and VFX.  Focusing so much attention on shooting and learning more about cameras and playing around with grading and such it's actually hard staying motivated to work on tedious visual effects these days.  Oh well.   Anyway, we basically brainstormed quick, humorous concepts for each spot after coming up with a list of local or Texas-based brands.  Then we shot them all over a couple days, minus a couple pick up shots that I went out solo to get.    
  19. I really liked the rain shot.  That was neat.   I saw the one Zoic spot in there too.  Was this on a show that Rocco was supervising?  
  20. It's a very common line of anamorphic adapter.  I'd suggest selling the copy you have and acquiring one with the larger rear element.  The bayonet mount versions can be adapted such that a step-up ring with 52mm at the smaller side fits perfectly around the rear element.     There's even at least one version that's much larger at its rear element, but I've only ever seen one of those.
  21. I'm liking these 5DmkII clips better than most of the 5DmkIII clips.  Maybe Andrew's right though and it's not that the camera is better it's just that these folks are better at grading than your average 5DmkIII owner.   ;)
  22. The new compression schemes, if they can be implemented on the 5DmkII might get its resolution back up to at least a full 1920 wide, though 1880 is still respectable.  That's considered a "2K Academy" scan, believe it or not.  It was rare dealing with them, since more often than not 2K for me meant 2048x1556 but I'd still rather have the option to shoot at least 1920 wide if possible.   Yeah, things change fast but you don't have to change for the sake of changing.  Once you can shoot at least 1080P and uncompressed, you have a camera that you can make useful for a good while.  Digital TV is still full of fake HD channels, many of whom don't even have the decency to do a proper uprez through a Faroudja or equivalent, they've only done the bare minimum to meet federal broadcast standards, which, unfortunately, don't specify that the channel can't look like you're watching an old 8mm videocassette.     And movies aren't going to be uniformly 4K for many years.  Arri has the right attitude here, and they've forgotten more about filmmaking and cameras than Sony will ever know.   Several of my lenses are Nikkor AIS as well (24mm, 35mm, 105mm).  I have a 50mm in bad need of service (aperture shifts when I focus in one direction) but have discovered that my OM mount Zuiko 50mm, given to me by an aunt,  is fantastic and sharper to boot (I didn't have the preferred 50mm Nikkor to be fair).
  23. Seriously?  It's already established the original BMCC sensor captures 16bit linear, this is reduced to 12bit log (unpacking back to 16bit once loaded into Resolve).     edit: sorry, my bad, the sensor is capturing more than 16bits.  It takes that, reduces to 16bit lin, then from that writes a 12bit log file to disc.
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