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Gavin Greenwalt

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About Gavin Greenwalt

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  1. I haven't seen a good HD feed yet, only saw it on SD. The only egregious stuff I noticed was focus but who knows how much of that is just trying to shoot /1.2 with a FF35 sensor and how much was due to trying to use stills lenses. Wasn't a fan of the shallower DOF, but that's just an aesthetic opinion. It just made it feel too much to me like it was all shot on a greenscreen.
  2. A non-trademarked term for digital photo manipulation software. Usually in reference to either Aperture or Lightroom. RAW processing software.
  3. No we just have a hundred other ones. :D There is always compromise. In the practical world it's time and rental budget. In the CG world it's just time. I do mostly commercial work. When it's practical you have the widget. You give it a nice polish and stick it on a stand. Less than an hour and you're done. (Yes it took a factory a few days to manufacture the thing, but that's not my concern). With CG you have to model it. Then someone has to pay close attention to all the surface properties and recreate them as accurately as they can. That can take days or weeks of one person's time. At that point if I don't like the way a light is playing across the surface I can change the very nature of the object itself. I can make the paint flecks a little more contrasty and bright while leaving the clearcoat untouched. I can have a chrome bit reflect a bounce card while having a glass piece not see it. Now you could say that's "no-compromise" but all of that takes time and time is a valuable commodity. What's possible and what you have time to do are two very different things. But that's true of practical shooting as well. If you have a motion control rig you can shoot multiple passes and then separate out reflections and lighting. It's unlikely you'll be able to get a custom finish or paint but it's certainly possible, just not financially feasible. Most of the limitation practically is budget. There are real world costs to doing something. You need more lights. You need to physically move a wall to make a composition better. In CG you run into a lot of time constraints, although those keep getting reduced year over year by improving technology. You also have to take render time into account. Sure you can create the gorgeous lighting setup but while each additional light on set costs $$ every light you create costs time to render. CG: Given enough time anything is possible. Practical: Given enough money anything is possible. Time/Money, really just two sides of the same coin when you get down to it. Can you do things that are impossible practically? Sure. But you'll be able to do impossible things to real footage in the DI suite in the not too distant future as well. I highly doubt we'll stop calling it cinematography just because sophisticated post-relighting and re-framing technologies become practical. Yeah but you could also just... shoot during the day. ;) And the location is already built! Besides the cinematographer isn't the one that's going to be out there on the scissor lift or condor running cable. He's going to say "I need a bunch of 18ks out these windows." The producer is going to scrunch their forehead thinking about the cost and a bunch of people will run off and get it done. He doesn't even have to push a button! It responds to voice commands. It's the electricians who should be really threatened by CG not cinematographers. If there is one thing that I think does give CG an enormous advantage over practical it's that you can have 5 setups being worked on simultaneously. You don't have to break down lights for a closeup you can be lighting the close up and the wide shot on separate 'stages'.
  4. Then you have a film like Coraline. How can Coraline compete for best Animated Film? By offering a great film! Sure there are things Pixar can do that they couldn't do on Coraline without CG but that doesn't make it a different category. Stop motion animation is animation. CG Animation is animation. Printed CG Animation as Stop Motion Animation is animation. Look at what Jim Henson studios did with the advent of CG. They took their skill-set and they applied it to the computer. They even employed the same puppet controls to drive CG puppets. Look at what Tippett studios did. They took their stop motion skill-set and applied it to CG. It didn't make them any less talented animators and it didn't create something that 'wasn't animation'. They just moved their environment from the stage to the virtual stage. If cinematographers concede control of their work as soon as it's shot virtually then they're going to be giving up authorship of a large portion of their films to the CG artists. Someone has to compose the shots. Someone has to light the shots. If DPs just 'offer some comments through email' they might as well do the same to the live action portions of their films. If it's "Just VFX" as soon as it's in the computer then be prepared to have no say of the outcome. Do really want to declare Virtual Cinematography the domain of the VFX supervisor? Not to knock VFX supervisors but that's what you're doing. By not acknowledging it's also cinematography you're saying it's not your responsibility to direct it. You're conceding control of (in the case of Avatar) 80% of your film to someone else who might not share your vision. It might turn out great. But so might a film lit entirely by your electricians without any supervision.
  5. I hear ya' but like I said earlier, then you also should exclude everyone who uses a techno-crane a bank of 100 20k spots to light 14 square miles of desert and a silk 4 miles long. Sure it's expensive but if you look at some of the Troy lighting diagrams! 8( Does your budget exclude you from competition? You could make the same argument for any award. "As a physical go-motion animation studio how can we compete for best VFX with CG?" "As a composer who only writes for wind instruments how can I compete with someone with no limitations on what sounds they can create?" I find it a huge double standard to say that cinematography is the one film making craft that can't be digitized. Composers synthesize instruments, Editors edit almost exclusively digitally, Animators now animate digital models, painters now use Photoshop and Painter, Sculptors are starting to adopt Mudbox and Zbrush, Photographers use digital dark rooms, top name photographers are now shooting and lighting on green-screen and digitally creating backdrops. We still refer to them as Composers, Editors, Animators, Painters, Sculptors and Photographers. The current challenge for virtual cinematography isn't the rendering it's the capture. It's horribly inefficient to create an entire world when the real one is sitting right in front of us. Once that challenge is overcome then you'll see the big shift. So you like what nature provides? Fine. Capture it. Bring it back to the studio and render it there. And those who don't shift with it might be put at a disadvantage but those films are already at a disadvantage. They often don't have the time and resources that a large production has. They don't have the amount of crew that a large production has. Take a film like Ben Hur. Anyone have a few thousand extras at their disposal? Or how about a large gladiatorial stadium? I might be able to afford to virtually shoot in such a setting but the cinematographer on Ben Hur probably has far fewer limitations even than I do today, even with a computer at my disposal just due to time. And Ben Hur had no shortage of matte paintings itself. Should any film which has a $80m set and prop budget be denied the title of cinematography just because the production can afford to create a fantastical environment to shoot in? And it's not like normal films shot 90% practically aren't already employing virtual cinematography to get those same impossible shots. How many 'impossible' shots do you want to put into a film anyway? If you need some shots that can't be shot except in a computer, shoot those 10% virtually and shoot the other 90% practically. I haven't really seen any huge limitations on what traditionally shot films are capable of. I predict a traditional film will win the Academy Award next year.
  6. No. But if you took 5% of the wages of the players and gave it to the people who clean the stadium, sell the hot dogs and run the scoreboards it would make a huge impact on their lives. The players meanwhile wouldn't probably notice. What's the difference between making 3.5 million and 3.325 million? Nothing. My spending probably fluctuates on average by about 20-30% per month based almost completely randomly. If I made 3.5 million or even 3 million I highly doubt I would notice any impact on my life. So why should the players agree to that? They won't. But if you form a union for all stadiums and have some bargaining power then I would like to see those players collect the $100 tickets at the door themselves.
  7. Interesting point. You could argue that income inequality created the economic crash since there wasn't enough 'working' capital being spent on actual goods and services to create the companies which provide sound investments. Investing in an investment of an investment is what happens when nobody is actually creating value anymore. I've always thought I was a poor target for tax cuts. Sure I'll buy computers, cameras and lenses but I'm also pretty frugal and save a lot. Give it to me and it'll sit in a bank account. Give it to someone poorer and they'll almost immediately put it back into the economy by buying goods and services. Bringing it back to the original post, I feel like this is the attitude that a number of businesses have engaged in which is short sighted and ultimate doomed. Instead of focusing on creating products which consumers want to purchase they invest all of their energy in cutting costs. It's always important to be efficient but if you create a quality product that people want to buy then you can spend what it costs to create quality. I would hold up the example of Pixar. They hired people who understood the market, how to create a quality product and invested in making something people actually want to purchase. As a result they've been incredibly successful. Compare that to Disney which had focused on cutting production expenses, hired accountants to run the studio and failed to foster talent and development collapsed. It doesn't matter how inexpensive you can make a widget if nobody wants to buy it. Yes you have to be able to afford to manufacture it and you have to be sensible. I'm not suggesting spending $1B on a romantic comedy but seeing as the vast majority of spending seems to be on above the line talent or VFX today I don't see how moving production would make a dramatic change in budget. Here is how I read that blog post: "I used to be able to take a $500k cut of every film I made. Now the only way I can make $500k per film as a producer is to take the film overseas. I can't help myself. If I used Union labor I would only make $250k. I can't live on that kind of money. That's why I pay people $5 a day. If people in LA would work for $5 a day I would come back."
  8. You don't have to know how to write code. How many times do I have to say that. But writing code is no more technical (in fact it's far less so) than designing a lens coating, engineering a focus mechanic or designing a shutter. If you think a virtual cinematographer is writing code then you grossly misunderstand modern digital cinematography. As to it being "Visual Effects" I strongly disagree. Visual Effects describes something specific. It means creating an element of the shot. Not all CG lighters are cinematographers. Most VFX shots are just matching the existing look as closely as you can. A visual effects artist is analogous to a grip, set/prop builder or gaffer. They might be creating elements of the shot. They might be adjusting lights and trying to execute the cinematographer's vision but they are a very separate position and roll. To say that you lose the REAL WORLD is ridiculous. So you've never built a set? That's as real as any digital set. You've never used a matte painting in a film? That's as real as a matte painting in an all digital shot. Whether your set is constructed of plywood or polygons it's still fake. Whether your lights emit digital photons or real ones seems completely irrelevant to me. You have a light. You point a light. Light comes out. You flag it. You diffuse it. You gel it. You move it around. You scrim it. The process is the same. The skillset is the same. The outcome is the same. Cinematography is about the vision not the tools. Digital Effects is not cinematography. If I light a car in a studio or I light a car in a virtual studio you approach it exactly the same. The rigging is just easier and cheaper. Then again in your narrow definition of "cinematography" you don't even include anything manufactured because it doesn't have the "beauty in the real world". So a photographer who takes pictures of watches or cars isn't a photographer since they aren't finding BEAUTY IN THE REAL WORLD? If Third and Seventh was shot with a real camera would you agree it's cinematography? But because the sets and the lights are virtual it's a "Visual Effect". I wouldn't categorize anything in that short as a "visual effect". That's a very different skill-set. I consider cinematography framing and lighting a moving image. What tool you use to frame and light is irrelevant IMO. Just as your subject matter is irrelevant to whether it's cinematography. If you machine a gear and hook it up to a motor and light it and compose a shot it's cinematography. Which brings up the next question. If the real world is so great. If synthetic, man made fake lighting is so offensive do you only use available light? Why do we have setups like this: http://www.hallifordfilmstudios.co.uk/imag...truction-01.jpg Someone really went out there and found some Beauty in the Real World! I'll concede virtual cinematography isn't cinematography when you concede that any scene shot on a set or that even uses a bounce card also isn't cinematography.
  9. Wow. Threatening to commit suicide if technology and tools offer new areas of work. That's the most pathetic, mentally unstable comment I've heard in a long time. I think that's a better conclusion than I could have ever conceived. You heard it people. Cinematography isn't Cinematography in the virtual world and if it ever gets refined, Karl here is going to commit suicide because he'll have... nothing left to live for? And a nice insult on top of that to an entire industry of people with the exact same goals as you but different methods! Way to encapsulate the essence of douche bag so succinctly. I couldn't have asked for you to express it any better. Well if you'll excuse me I'll go back to working on unimportant video games while you save the world with natural unadulterated sunsets. Because as we all know, you can't save the world on a sound-stage (Please ignore just about every film of any significance ever made, it doesn't fit into Karl's narrow little world of cinema verite and Dogma-95 films being the only movies of importance.)
  10. And a beautiful example of not-cinematography: http://vimeo.com/7809605 Because this was all 'Painted'.
  11. Let me re-summarize and prove why it's "Cinematography" It's not cinematography because 'The Cinematographer' didn't do it. The award is "Cinematography" not "Cinematographer". Production designers don't create every prop in a film. They have teams of people who they "phone in comments to" who create the vast majority of the concepts and designs. Just because a film has multiple concept artists and set designers doesn't mean the film didn't have great Production Design. If a film is the product of 1 Cinematographer or 100 isn't the point of the academy awards, and it certainly doesn't make the cinematography done by 100 any less impressive. In fact, it's even MORE impressive that a DP can maintain a consistent and quality look through an entire film while employing 100s of workers. It's not cinematography because it's too easy. So every cinematographer who has ever shot a film handheld with available light shouldn't be nominated because it's "too easy"? If "too easy" is a disqualifying standard for cinematography in a film (which is impossible to judge from the final product) then I guess we should impose limits on the number of grips, electricians and gaffers. And too easy to what? The cinematography for Pirates of the Carribean required an entire parking lot of generators to power all the lighting in some shots. How many of you have dealt with that kind of production? I guess none of you are cinematographers since you have it so "easy". It's not fair to Pirates that they require 40 tractor-trailer generators when you can get by with with a couple generators. It's too easy also means any film shot on a stage is omitted. There is ample power on stage. If there is a rental house on premises then it's too easy to just go get another light. I think we should also put a max size on grip trucks. Because if your grip truck is too large and has too many options then it's no longer cinematography. It's not cinematography because you don't have any limitations on your vision. That means anything shot on a sound stage is out. On a sound-stage you can control every minute detail. It's unfair to all of those indie productions which can't afford a soundstage if someone can shoot on a stage and have that level of control over their set. In fact I move that only Dogma-95 films be eligible for Best Cinematography because they had no control over the lighting. It's not cinematography because they can create shots and lighting I can't with a camera. Boo F***ing hooo. So anyone who uses a technocrane is out now. Anyone who uses cable system is out of academy nominations. Anyone who uses a miniature shoot is out. Anyone who uses expensive HMIs are out because indies can't afford that sort of lighting budget. And as we all know the academy has historically given SPECIAL CONSIDERATION to the budget of a film when awarding best cinematography. At even the slightest hint of using some sort of expensive or complicated system not accessible to every cinematographer they just yank away nominations. Also anything which goes through a DI should be excluded since you're creating lighting and shaping that's impossible in camera. It's not cinematography because it's not 'Photographed'. You create lights. You create sets. You choose lenses. You set the colors of a light. You set the positions of lights. You set the directions of lights. You set the size and diffusion of a light. You chose the position of a camera. You choose the focal length of the camera. You set the direction of the camera. You set the focus. How is that not photography? If digital rendering isn't photography then neither is shooting on a digital camera since both just record arbitrary digital values from a circuit board. The digital camera determines the values for each pixel based on voltage. The rendering camera determines the values for each pixel based on simulation. Results are results. The process is pretty much identical. This is just a tech demo but fast forward to about 2:00 and explain to me how this is more like painting or drawing than photography. http://vimeo.com/6715300 (BTW perhaps by the end of the year their card will be out which will allow another 10x faster per card. And you can stack cards. So imagine that but another 30x faster.) If your cinematographer or lighters are "writing code" then you're doing something horribly horribly wrong. Your cinematographer should be presented with lights and cameras and lenses exactly as if it was a real set. With a modern renderer you can ask for an EXACT light and if I have the IES file you can recreate that light in CG. This is one area where the architectural world has actually been making more progress than the vfx world. They want exact lighting from exact lighting fixtures so that they can get government certification even on illumination. If it "isn't photography" because you can break the laws of physics then simply mandate that all renderings must be as physically accurate as is humanely possible. But I'll also say then we have to mandate all films must have motivated light sources only. Not more eye lights. No more large silks just out of frame. All night shoots must also hence forth be pretty much black. I've seen what it looks like at night and it's not natural what I see in numerous best cinematography nominations.
  12. As a counter point I'm going to be seeing a 70mm print of Laurence of Arabia next week. 3 hours and 40 minutes I believe...
  13. Actually if I could fit it into a 41 cent envelope I would send it for free if you want it. I think it's small enough it might not even need to be 'shipped'.
  14. I have a Handspring Visor Deluxe which is pretty much identical. If you want it send me a PM or email. I'll send it to you at shipping cost (I'll toss it in an envelope). I was about to throw it away last week. Battery life is like a week on two AAAs. You would need to buy a USB cable for syncing and a stylus though. Both of which I've lost over the years. im.thatoneguy at gmail.com
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