Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It's all about the lenses......

 While at the CCW expo I saw a lot of cameras with a lot of lenses on them.  We always talk about a pristine image, and one that is detailed, but a GOOD lens is what can make the difference.  Are lenses expensive?  They can be and the good ones usually are, but for us cinema obsessed people renting a good lens is something cinematographers do constantly.  But there are a whole host of lenses to choice from, and which one will be right for your project is not always an easy answer.

But your in luck.  A classmate of mine has just written a pretty good tutorial about lenses.  I suggest you pop on over and get schooled.  Remember an image is as good as the lens it is being seen through, so when talking about 4K you'll want a GOOD lens in front of your camera to catch all the detail of the scene.  The best lens to give you a variety of different shots would be a zoom lens.  I'm a lover of good prime lenses, but zooms have saved my bacon on many occasion, so one should know about them.  Mr. Gladstone does a good job in describing them, and tells you on what to look for.  Give it a read.  You'll won't regret it.

Cinema Zoom Lenses by Steven Gladstone.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why 4K? CCW part 1

So this week I was at the content & communications conference here in New York.  The conference is always interesting and somewhat informative.  Usually each year there are themes, and this year it seemed all about 4K.  Last year there were a lot of panels for 3D, and this year not a peep about 3D.  I always knew 3D was a fad, and would not catch on.  It's all about consumers voting with their pocket book, and 3D never had a chance.

4K on the other hand is another story.  It's all about product, and what will drive 4K will be content, and will that content be worth seeing in 4K.  Right now consumers are pretty happy with their flat panel screens of various sizes.  At one time the bigger the screen the higher the price, but not so today.  LED panel screens are the rage, and they reproduce HD content really well.  But the thing is no broadcaster is broadcasting in 1080, and so we're not truly seeing HD.   In the United States, 1080p over-the-air broadcasts still does not exist; all major networks use either 720p60 or 1080i60 encoded with MPEG-2.  So why this talk about 4K.

One of the seminars I went to was called: "Is a 100 year work flow possible?", and there the discussion about 4K was about that 4K has four times the data of 2K.  Every step of the process will take longer, and taking longer means more money.  4K with it's demand for increased bandwidth, and storage capacity can be taxing on a productions budget, so as many post production professionals said that it's hard to justify the expense.

Sure it certainly is nice to shoot in 4K and have it, so that way when the technology becomes more available in the market or more in demand by the consumer the producer can output a 4K program, and sell his movie, or program to that market.  But that's a BIG if.  Right now the expense is way too high for a low budget film to even think about finishing in 4K.

I did see 4K displays at the expo, and the images were great, and the bigger the screen the more cinematic it felt.  The price for a 4K display on the other hand was high.  In time I'm sure the price would or will drop, but right now it's all about the money, and will consumers go out and buy another display to see a superior image?.  I don't really think so.  At least not until the cost drops, but it's never too late for producers to shoot 4K and try and future proof their work flow for the future.  To not shoot in 4K is short cited, and it may limit your products distribution in the future.

The argument will go on for some time.  Some facilities will want to have the capability to go 4K since it is a choice that they can provide to the producers, but till there is significant product in the pipeline, and till the consumer sees a true difference between what he or she has now 4K will will take a back seat in the home theater arena.  For 4K to catch on it needs a foot hold, and there I would think it would begin with sports. Sports bars investing in large 4K displays for BIG highlighted games could be the foundation of where 4K catches on.  But for that to happen the networks need to have another tier on their cable channel offerings to consumers, and that may take awhile since the networks would need to invest on new equipment.  But 4K is here, and it's not going away, so welcome to the future because someday we'll all be looking at 4K, and we'll watch programs from the past like we do today, and wonder how we ever got along without 4K.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Bukowski: Born into This (2003)


 I know didn't I already write an entry on Bukowski?  Yes, but there is so much about him that I think a review of the DVD "Born into this" is something worth noting.  Released in 2003 and directed by John Dullaghan the documentary is worth seeing if you know nothing of the man and his work.  The film is also pretty much a warts and all about Bukowski.  The good and the bad, and as the filmmaker says in the film it was just as well that Bukowski never saw it because some of the footage would have made Bukowski uncomfortable.   Seeing this footage shows us how Bukowski is such an interesting and worth while artist and a one of a kind.  His wife Linda Lee Bukowski gave the film it's blessing and the filmmaker worked real close with his wife and had access to a lot of footage that Charles Bukowski left behind.

The most interesting documentaries show us the human condition good and bad.  After all we all have things in our closet that we are not proud of, but what makes us us.  Being an artist and laying bare all your faults and your genesis is something that I admire.  Bukowski was a work in progress and to pigeon hole him as a writer would be a disservice to his memory.  For example the scene where he has a fight with his then fiance  Linda shows a very ugly side to the man, and yet through that scene we see Bukowski's weaknesses and the demons that really drove Mr. Bukowski.  Every artist has them and this documentary really gets under Bukowski's skin, and we see a little glimmer of what made him tick and why he was such a prolific writer.  

Bukowski wrote from his soul, and bared it all to us.  Almost like a chain of thought, but what Bukowski saw nobody else saw.  Even the filmmaker who fully admits that he just went out and began shooting his documentary and in time it grew and evolved into what it was.  Much like a Bukowski novel the filmmaker delves right into Bukowski, and what we see first is a caustic, and bitter man.  There is no narration discussing Bukowski's origin.  Instead we hear it from the man himself.  How he was abused by his father, and how his parents showed no love to him, and his writing.  How he was so conflicted as being an artist and having a job.  He was an everyday man who knew the realities of the world, and had some contempt for the world of art.  All he knew was that he had to write, and that he had to feed the demon everyday.  Ever day life became poetry and his life experiences became books.  To read his novels is like peeking into his soul and what made Bukowski Bukowski.

I highly recommend the film, and it is worth seeing just to admire Bukowski's talent, and his tenacity towards his work and life.  The filmmaker should be given high praise for his work also, and to think Mr. Dullaghan had no idea where to start and how to approach his subject, and yet he does a great job.

If you're a writer, and you feel frustrated.  Pick this DVD up, and give it a viewing.  I think you'll find some inspirational things here, and you'll see how  genesis and madman can be applied in the same sentence when describing Bukowski.

The film is a great look into a writer who is complicated and passionate about his work.  Worth viewing.