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Phil Jackson

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About Phil Jackson

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    Director
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    Los Angeles

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  1. It's definitely an interesting discussion. I was always partial to Dynamic Symmetry and the teachings of people like Myron Barnstone, but the guy has a point that they tend to a bit on the dogmatic side and a bit reductionist in approach. Also Stan Prokopenko is a very good teacher and I really enjoy his YouTube series on drawing.
  2. You know looking closer at that NBC image it looks like there's four or five lekos firing at that talent position. One or two on the far wall maybe at 11:00 to the talent, and probably the same around 2:00 on the right. I would think this would create a light that didn't have directional shadows or would eliminate them altogether, which basically is what you'd get with soft lighting (the quality of light isn't quite the same as using diffused light because of the difference in specularity a hard light source produces, but for all intents and purposes it works well especially on someone with fairer skin). Also I misspoke on the Oscars. They use amber no color gels to warm up the talent not CTO. Lighting the Oscars
  3. Those studio lighting setups often have lighting that is directional but not necessarily always super hard. These days there's a lot of LEDs involved too. Traditionally you might have two or three diffused lekos cross shooting each talent position with one as a backlight/hairlight. Subject to background ratio is almost always 2:1. In this photo of the NBC Nightly News set you can clearly see the talent has two lekos focused on him and a panoply of open and fresnels and everything else. Awards shows sort of have the same look, especially those lit by Bob Dickinson. In awards shows the talent is cross lit with two followspots around 30 degrees to the talent, which is lower than a normal theater follow spot position (and usually with a little bit of CTO to warm up the talent) and a usually bluish hot backlight with a 2:1 ratio subject to background.
  4. I'd be curious to see something rendered on a serious render engine like Vray RT (even VRAY for Unreal), Arnold or Renderman. Something with some real physically based shaders and raytraced lighting and shadows. I remember Octane, a few years back, had a product they were trying to launch called Brigade, which they seem to have pulled the plug on, but it looked very promising. UE5 seems to have taken huge strides and could be a real viable option down the road especially if people like Lucasfilm are helping with the R&D. Even in UE4, they showed the ability for a paradigm shift in film making altogether, not just backgrounds, but the ability to create entire animated films in real time. Check out Reflections which was made a few years back as a demo (I love the musak version of The Imperial March). They did a demo where the presenter actually places himself 'on set' and can move the camera around the CG characters and environment and all the lighting and reflections respond accordingly.
  5. Here's the actual quote from the video: It sounds to me like they're cooking up something other than their current ALEV III sensor.
  6. Anyone catch Arri's (sort of) announcement about the Alexa S35 coming out next year sometime? Supposedly a new true 4K Super 35 sensor in a Mini LF body. They seem to think (and they're right) that there's still a huge market for Super 35 for TV and movies that's not really being served in all the resolution and large format posturing. It's buried at the 34:40 mark of this Arri Tech Talk from last week. The entire talk is actually quite good.
  7. I think they need more market saturation (and someone besides Philip Bloom to do something serious with their products) before they become viable. It's frustrating because I think their product is superior to just about anything out there in its class, and can easily compete with Red, Arri and the Venice no problem. I would argue it looks better than most of its competitors too and for a fraction of the costs. But their marketing effort is very weak and disorganized. They have little trade show presence and only recently have rental houses picked up the Mavo LF, which is a fantastic camera and should've been a gamechanger for Indie filmmakers (pretty picture, 6K large format for under $10,000!!!). I've heard some people say earlier versions of their cameras were occasionally buggy, which is no good, but again there's so few people out there using them its really hard to know. The one thing they have going for them is superior image quality and fantastic color renditioning, which is what attracted me. The dynamic range of the Mavo LF was not as robust as say an Alexa, but pound for pound, the image quality can be quite stunning and very filmic with little manipulation. Here's a comparison someone shot. Red Gemini/Alexa Mini/Mavo LF Comparison And some dynamic range tests Alexa/Monstro/RED/C700/Venice Dynamic Range Tests Spoiler alert: the Alexa destroys everyone.
  8. And this is highly contingent upon it being a union job to begin with. A large chunk of work out here isn't. I know editors working on high end projects for as little as $300 a day. I think the NABET rate for broadcast editors is something like $40/hour. Non-union editorial is probably in the $500-$1000 a day rate if you're good and a known entity. I can't imagine too many production companies would pay much more than that for non-union editorial. The guys that make the money are Flame Artists (but this is a highly specialized trade), and some colorists depending on the house. The problem is that the business is overrun with editors, because it usually has the lowest barrier to entry of any position and its one of the few jobs you can get good at before you get into the business as a professional. I suppose motion graphics and 3D modelling fall into that category as well. Maybe some audio jobs. So you have an endless supply of young editors, most of which are halfway decent at most work (big feature work is a different ballgame altogether). It is not uncommon for me to get hired on a job that multiple editors before me, or after have worked on. I've been on several commercials that had like 5 editors over different periods of time because of costs, scheduling, personalities, etc.
  9. I would think a Drive In with today's digital projectors and HD radio should be pretty good. Drive ins don't necessarily reproduce a theater experience though. Depending on where you park the field of view of the screen is more like watching on television -- so you might as well watch on a television. But hey, maybe those big 70s conversion vans might make a comeback -- kids gotta have something to do! Drive in and chill.
  10. It's an interesting question. I wonder if theaters go back to more of the movie palace format where only the biggest movies are released theatrically in one or two locations in a city. I mean I guess this is the way movies worked before the era of the multiplex. While it might be a death knell for the theater business as it currently sits, it could result in an elevated movie going experience and make going to the movies an event again. Maybe the films get released in the big theaters a few weeks before streaming. It could definitely help quality control or directors like Tarantino who want to do 75mm releases, etc. Just thinking out loud. The other thing is that the streaming model is a bit dicey to me. It's a little like the pay cable TV model where the content provider is basically paid for the right to stream their content, but the problem with a movie is that you have no idea how well received its going to be. On television you have ad revenue to help gauge interest and viewership. For something like HBO you have subscribers. But with streaming it all seems like guesswork. Like "okay we'll make 6 Underground for 100 million because we guess it's worth that much..?" Maybe I'm just ignorant of the process but how do they gauge ROI without tangible metrics like tickets sold, DVDs sold, or ad dollars? Yes a million people might watch something on Amazon Prime, but those same million might've already been subscribed and are paying a blanket fee for all content. I guess in some ways streaming is less risky than a theatrical release model where no one could show up, or the movie gets killed by bad reviews (streaming basically mitigates the impact of critics) or some extenuating event like the Dark Knight shootings or a pandemic puts a damper on revenue -- these things don't happen on streaming platforms, but I wonder how sustainable it is. I suspect it might dramatically shift the way movies are financed with the platforms absorbing more risk than the studios, which is more like television.
  11. It was interesting because it covers the new Bond movie, which of course got pushed back to November so there's some mild spoilers. Still good stuff in there. I actually watched a little bit of Tales From The Loop simply because I wanted to see what Mark Romanek and Jeff Cronenweth did on the Panavision DXL2. The article on that show was interesting.
  12. This was exactly the point I was trying to make. With cinematography, actors routinely interact with DPs and basically understand what a DP does so the end results are often not so bad. But I really am not comfortable with actors deciding who wins Sound, Editing or Visual Effects categories. I could see opening up all categories to say Directors or Producers but having everything weight so heavily toward actors who can occasionally be the least knowledgeable people on the set in terms of the process seems bizarre. That being said it would be hard to shut actors out because many of them moonlight as producers, directors, etc. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt are fairly knowledgeable as is Tom Hanks so its a real dilemma.
  13. I will add to the OP that I have on occasion come across a script where I've thought, "how in the world are we going to do this?" I think screenwriters not understanding the limitations of what's practical (regardless of whether its possible) can be an issue. If a screenwriter writes a scene that shows a toddler drowning, for example, that's going to very difficult to pull off. Good producers and ADs should be able to feel this out though. The writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation would famously come in writing all these action scenes and space battles only to be told they had to could only afford four phaser shots for the entire episode. It's one of the reasons that show is so talky compared to later shows like DS9, Voyager, BSG, and SeaQuest DSV.
  14. The other thing is a lot of people, even some industry people, do not understand what is and isn't visual effects (vs makeup vs special effects vs art direction). Like you said Cats got a bad rep for what is essentially a design/art direction problem. A lot of the public thinks that visual effects are more prominent than they really are. There was a lot of joking about Rogue One, but that work is actually very well done but I think people see what they want to believe. Some of this is the result of the plastic-y way movies look these days which I think has trained people not to take VFX seriously. Over set-extensioned. Over color graded. With camera moves that break the laws of physics, etc. I don't think digital helps this either. A movie like Aquaman or some of the Marvel movies, the line is so blurred between what's practical and what's not, its forgivable for the audience to confuse the two. Movies of the mid to late 90s and into the early 2000s still had a very grounded feel in a way that today's blockbuster movies do not. The first Transformers for all its histrionics still feels like it exists in the real world, but I don't get that at all from Wonder Woman or Guardians of the Galaxy which are basically cartoons with live actors. Even the island scenes in the last Jurassic World where the volcano is erupting looked oddly fake despite being shot on location in Oahu and I've waxed poetically about how every space movie looks like concept art these days with waaay too many nebulas, unnatural lighting, etc. When I see something like Ad Astra or what Ridley did in Alien: Covenant with simple elegant space shots, its a nice change of pace.
  15. Well that's going to be more of a budget/resources issue than anything. Obviously there are practical limitations like actually shooting inside an active volcano or whatever. Really expansive locations are still pretty tricky to do even in CG. Only the biggest films out there can create entire cities for example although software like Clarisse is closing that gap its still a monumental undertaking. But because computers can simulate real-world lighting and physics (with less and less computing power) the sky is basically the limit. I'm not convinced we've crossed the uncanny valley yet, but we are damn close and might really be there for practical purposes. I thought Rogue One was pretty impressive and all the head/body replacement stuff done in The Social Network was seamless and that was ten years ago! If no one knew that Peter Cushing had died (or not aged since A New Hope), I'm not sure how many people would've really been able to tell the difference. I'm also not convinced that de-aging is quite there yet, in the same way that aging a young actor with hair/makeup never quite looks convincing (see Guy Pearce in Prometheus). So I guess there are limitations. The UPM and AD should identify these issues way early in the process, maybe even before the film gets greenlit and into pre-production. The set is probably not the place to discover the director wants to do something insane that may not be possible (if for no other reason that it might be actually be possible with enough pre-planning and getting everyone's head in the game to figure it out). The use of Unreal Engine and other game engines to create realtime virtual environments like what was done on The Mandalorian is a real game changer to help directors not have to rely so much on green screen. Also allows DPs to extend magic hour indefinitely. I think some very interesting things will come of that.
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