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Neal Norton

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About Neal Norton

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    Tampa, Florida
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    Commercial Photography

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  1. Neal Norton


    A film I worked on will be arriving with a limited release May 3rd. Here is a link to the trailer: Hope you like it. Neal Norton Cinematographer
  2. The camera package rental would depend on the length of rental and the relationships between the Director and DP and the rental agency. A director with a 3 picture deal with a studio would be able to ask favors. A DP with an Academy Award might do so as well. A six week rental would be much more expensive per week than a six month rental (per week). A 2 or 3 camera package would find a better discount than a one camera package. In the case of Alexa 65 the post production costs would dwarf the camera rental. I would guess that a 2 camera package with primes, zooms and lots of support would be around 25,000/week less discount based on duration of shoot. From 40% to 75% discount. Neal Norton DP
  3. Hi Dominik: The Arri Master Anamorphics in my opinion are superb lenses by almost any measure. They also offer flair attachments that can be added if you want to mess up the image in camera. If I could not shoot Panavision anamorphic I would choose the Master anamorphics for primes and I also really like the Angenieux Optimo 30-72 T4 and the 56-152 T4 for lightweight zooms. The other lenses you mention are not very good in my opinion unless you really want to create a distorted or stylized effect. As to the investment idea. . . if you cannot put these lenses to work right away and have a secure avenue for continued rentals then I would do something more conservative with my money. Neal Norton DP
  4. Hi Sanji: I have one for sale. Includes custom case. 2,500 Neal
  5. Ummmm, maybe these hipster dudes are really good? With enough enthusiasm and native talent they might produce something a whole lot more interesting than the perfectly exposed video mediocrity predominant today - just by not knowing any "better". As a fine DP friend of mine directed me when I was shooting a second unit for him: "Just F*** it Up!" ie., don't do boring normal stuff. And. . . . it was a Red Camera. Silhouette (or close to it) might be the best thing a Red Camera can do. Neal Norton DP
  6. Good work. The older lenses do help to "humanize" the sterile emptiness of the video image. Anything we can do to vandalize the oh so sharp high definition computer boxes seem like a good thing to me. I have a set of TLS speed panchros. They are pretty much my favorite spherical lenses on the Alexa. Thanks for sharing your work.
  7. Thanks, David, this is a very interesting subject considering the somewhat contrary ideas of manufacturers pushing a larger negative (sensor) size at the same time we see smart phones becoming the cinema screen of choice for many. At the very least we are discussing the way light is being manipulated by lenses and not the strange fetish for file sizes produced by Bayer imagers. The depth of field for any given shot can be a great tool in our kit to help tell a story the way we want. Early in my career I was working for Vilmos Zsigmond as a B camera operator and he asked me what stop I wanted for that set-up. I thought he was joking with me so I looked to my AC and smirked "sixteen". He pushed me away from the camera and looked through and dialed in a stop and then adjusted his ND to suit. From that point on I paid more attention to how the aperture worked for each and every shot. The idea that larger sensors will always provide one with limited depth of field implies that we would ignore using this effect for the benefit of the story we are telling. Neal Norton Tampa, Florida
  8. Oh really? With what lenses? All those great cheap lightweight large format cine lenses? And who is going to pay for the massive storage of all this wonderful video of close ups with no backgrounds? Oh, and where are you going to find the focus pullers that can keep that 1/2 inch depth of field where you want it? I know only a handful of first AC's that can manage 35mm not to mention large format. I'll be looking forward to seeing all this big chip magnificence on my I-phone like everybody else; but I think I'll keep my 35mm lenses for the time being. Neal Norton
  9. Hi Mark: I used the Alexa XT Studio for a film I shot last year. We spec'd this camera because we were shooting a bunch of projected images and the regular Alexa would consistently have some kind of image problems with projected video (banding, tearing, etc.) We tested for months and even considered using a Sony F65 with a mechanical shutter. The Alexa studio won the hearts of the visual effects supervisor for the best results with the projectors. We were shooting "Open Gate" and the optical finder will not show the whole image as recorded so the optical finder was pretty useless for this job. We capped the optical finder and used the regular EVF-1 and an on-board monitor to operate. After a while I figured out that the studio camera handles motion and flicker issues better than the non-mechanical shutter Alexa. I ended up shooting the studio whenever I could - the pictures are simply better. If you don't have both cameras side by side then the small improvement in image quality is very hard to see - but it is there. The mechanical shutter is really of benefit if you can afford to shoot the camera. FYI I also worked on a film where the DP operated "A" camera and he also used the on-board monitor to operate the Alexa Studio even though it was not "Open Gate". I would use the optical finder when I was on that camera and liked it. We had no problems with shutter noise. The camera is very quiet. The studio cameras are not a great option for steadicam or a lot of hand held. It is heavier and the wider shape is a liability. If you are stacking filters up front instead of the internal filters I think you might like the EVF-1 better... but I never had much of a problem with that. Regards, Neal Norton Director of Photography
  10. I have done some work with very old lenses in order to produce the swirly bokeh. The petzval lens design is well known to produce this effect and I have had good results with antique view camera lenses adapted to modern cameras like the Alexa. My favorite is a voigtlander petzval from the 1860's that was made for a small view camera. Most of these lenses are of focal lengths of 135mm and longer with 160mm being common. I use two polarizers stacked one in front of the other in order to control exposure for day exteriors. Here is a picture of one of the lenses I am working with: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/petzval-pl-mount-conversion-neal-norton?trk=prof-post Neal Norton Director of Photography Tampa, Florida
  11. Haris I am in agreement with you about the S4 iris shape. I personally really find it a distraction. I think the strong interest in finding and using lenses with "character" is a reaction to the very clean and sometimes clinical or digital look of video cameras. There is an element of "human-ness" that lens aberrations such as flare, chromatic aberration, field curvature, spherical aberration and geometric distortion can impart to an image. Hand crafted versus machine made. Filters can help but they produce an effect far less complex that a lens with "character". The argument for and against 'sharpness' or 'softness' in a photographic image is as old as photography itself. As early as the 1860's there were photographers that resisted the scientific aspect of photography and worked with soft-focus lenses to create images that were strongly influenced by the impressionist paintings popular at the time. Anglo-American Pictorialism was a very popular school of photography that from about 1890 to the 1920's produced very stylized photographs that looked much like impressionist paintings. Lenses like the Pinkham and Smith portrait lens and the Cooke Portrait lenses were used to introduce very strong spherical aberration to the image creating a strong sharp focus with a soft OOF image overlaid to make the image quite 'painterly' or 'artistic' and much less scientific looking. Around 1925 there was a revolt against the Pictorial School that produced the F64 school of photography which advocated photography as its own art form and strongly rebelled against the soft-focus movement. I think it is fair to say that for the most part the F64 school was the winner in a sometimes vitriolic debate about what photography should be. From the 1920's to today the Pictorial School has been mostly seen as old fashioned. With the move away from film based cinematography and into the present world of digital cinematography I think it is very useful to explore the use of lens 'flaws' as a way to produce images with a more craftsman like look. Of course if the story demands a crystal sharp and clean image then there are many lenses capable of the job. Neal Norton Director of Photography
  12. I just saw the first half of the 70mm Roadshow print at the Veterans AMC in Tampa. I did make it all the way to the intermission. No way I was going to sit through the second half of this film. Really not my cup of tea. My least favorite work by the great Bob Richardson. 70mm or not. The lighting just was impossible for me to believe. Neal Norton
  13. Hi Jaime: I own a lens rental company so you may want to consider my opinions with the fact that I have a financial interest in some of the lenses I would reccommend. I do work with a fairly wide range of lenses and have had an opportunity to evaluate many both on a projector and on the job as a DP. Every project could be designed to favor a specific look that would lead a DP to select a particular lens or group of lenses. One of the big factors to consider is what lens coverage you require for the project you are shooting. If you are working with a S-35 image circle then your choice of cinema lenses are pretty much unlimited. If you are shootin Alexa Open Gate or Red Dragon at 6K then you will need to make sure the lenses you want to shoot are capable of covering a 33.5mm image circle. In some cases I don't mind a vignette caused by a lens with an image circle that is 'too small' for the format chosen. . .for example in Arri Open Gate shooting an aspect ratio of 1:85 the Optimo 12-1 will vignette at most focal lengths to varying degrees - and for some projects that might be just what you like (or just dreadfull depending on your taste). As to favorites it really depends on the look you are trying to acheive. If I were interested in a super modern/clean polished look shot with a digital camera then I might want to consider Arri Master Primes matched with the Fujinon Premier zoom lenses. For a Romantic Drama or Comedy where I would be working hard to create a glamorous look for the actors I would be very interested in a set of Leica Summilux C lenses matched with an Optimo 12-1 and maybe a couple of Optimo hand held lenses. The Leicas are just superb - they have so few flaws and they are eaasy to work with being small and perfectly matched in size. Personally for many types of jobs with digital cameras I really like the TLS Cooke Speed Panchros and the TLS Super Baltar vintage lenses. They have a wonderful look with a sharp-er center image that falls off fairly quickly to softer corners. The over all image is softer than most modern lenses wide open with reduced contrast and a tendancy to flare nicely. Often these lenses are just beautiful with no diffusion added at all. The masterful lens designers at TLS have made these older lenses as easy to work with as an S-4 with widely spaced and easily read focus markings. The vintage lenses really add a lot of character to the sometimes 'too clean' look of digital. For anamorphic I am a big fan of the Panavision G-series lenses. Small and fast these are some of the best looking anamorphic lenses I have worked with. The Arri Master anamorphic lenses are very clean and sharp and I would like to try out the new flare adapters they have introduced to help give these lenses more character. For anamorphic zoom lenses I think Panavision is still the best option for both long and short anamorphic zoom lenses - with the exception of lightweight zooms. Angenieux has done a great job with the new 30-72 anamorphic and the 56-152 anamorphic which are adaptations of the 15-40 and the 28-76 spherical zoom lenses. Both of the Angenieux anamorpics are great lenses that have very little geometric distortion and are sharp corner to corner with very little field curvature problems like many anamorphic lenses. The Angenieux anamorphics also focus really close at 2'2" MOD which is a big deal for an anamorphic zoom (and many anamorphic primes) which means you can leave the diopters in the filter case for almost all close ups. Kind regards, Neal Norton Director of Photography
  14. I think the very handsome incentive programs in various parts of the world have much to do with American runaway production as well as the lower over all labor costs in some parts of the world. Maybe the beautiful locations in places like New Zealand have a little to do with reasons producers shoot there as well. Atlanta and New Orleans are very busy here in the US and I think the tax incentives play a major role in that reality. . . even with union crews on most jobs. All human interactions are subject to less than perfect behavior - because, well, we are all pretty imperfect humans. Unions, much like other organizations such as corporations, governments or religions can do harm as well as good. Producers can be incredible story tellers and risk takers that deserve our admiration and they can also be less than fair on occassion. I have been a member of the Camera Guild for almost 30 years and I can say with certainty that I am very glad to have made the decision to join and remain a part of my union. I have a fully vested retirement plan that will provide a measure of security when I do retire and I also have a pretty good IAP (investment plan) that will be a big help as I grow old. I have had a reasonable health insurance plan for the entire time I have been in the union and I am grateful for that. . .here in the USA where the uninsured or under-insured do receive substandard or no medical care. I am very grateful to the Producers and Production Companies that have hired me and payed me very well and payed for my benefits packages and I hope in most cases thay have made a great deal of money for their efforts of which I was a part. For the most part I think the Producers I have worked for understand that the union I am a part of is maybe the only way to provide a stable career in a business where my services are needed and desired on a sporadic basis. I only work when the Producer needs me so the benefits packages help to create a way I can remain available for the next job down the road. I strongly encourage a young camera person to consider union membership. It is a very good way to build a long career and maybe plan for retirement someday. I am sorry that Richard feels he has been mistreated by our union and I hope some day we have a chance to try again and work together as collaborators on the projects he works so hard to make a reality. Best to all! Neal Norton Director of Photography
  15. Arri Alexa EV s/n 3476 For Sale $34,000 Alexa 3476 with 1275 hours High speed license Alexa EVF-1 viewfinder s/n 3757 SP-1 shoulder pad 6' power cable BP-12 set viewfinder cable short viewfinder cable medium 12v acc cable time code cable BPA-1 Leveling block Swiss tool allen driver 5X150 Wiha allen driver 3X75 anton Bauer plate Front handle extension block VEB-1 viewfinder extension bracket 5 Sony SXS cards 32gb Case (Master Cases) Contact Neal email neal@gulfcamera.com
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