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Alex Birrell

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About Alex Birrell

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  • Birthday 09/17/1981

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    London, UK
  1. I got into laserdisc when I was a teenager literally just before DVD came out. I loved it at the time for the special features you couldn't get any other way. Compared to VHS, laserdisc looked great. When DVD first came out they would often share a master with a laserdisc and the laser always looked better. The first DVDs seemed to look so "jagged" and the digital compression was very noticeable on CRT TVs. The last laserdisc I ever bought was a Japanese import of SCREAM 3 (so it would have been about 2000) and it look much better than the DVD. As Bruce said, once anamorphic video transfers became standard and HD masters became a thing then DVD really came into its own.
  2. Hello! Can anyone tell me definitively the crop factor when using 2x anamorphic lenses on the Red Epic W 8k Helium in 8k 6:5 mode? I've seen lots of answers for similar questions on this forum but mostly for the 6k Red Epic prior to the new sensor or talking about the VV Red Weapon 8k so I'm getting a bit confused! Thanks!
  3. Hi guys, Thanks for all the answers! After a lot of research and consultation in seems we're going to have to shoot digital after all. Panavision Vancouver were really helpful but made it clear that their film cameras were in storage and it would take a lot of money to get them out, serviced and ready for shooting. Keslow had a couple of camera options available but no 2 perf anymore. EVERYONE commented how much it could risky to ship the film back and forth to Montreal despite MELS there being very helpful and immediately coming back with a quote. For this production it just seems too risky - we won't be able to reshoot anything if negative gets ruined/fogged/lost etc. Would have been great but such a shame! Looks like Alexa with anamorphic so not too shabby at all but I was really looking forward to the 35mm experience!
  4. You can't easily find out the UK list price now without getting in touch with Kodak directly but back in 2012 the Kodak catalogue price in the UK was a little cheaper than the US one - not sure about the Canadian one. It sometimes works out that way. I've looked at the digital options and I've been really surprised how much more hire companies in the US and Canada charge for the Alexa Mini compared to the UK too.
  5. We get a lot more recans and short ends - a lot of these "re-cans" are actually completely untouched and are left over from the bigger US productions being filmed in the UK. I've compared these prices with a similar supplier in L.A and the UK prices come out cheaper.
  6. Thanks for the replies, looks like MELS would be the best option then. Wish I could find a way to get negative from the UK to Canada safely though - it's so much cheaper at home and easier to find a deal - even with the good exchange rate!
  7. Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone had any advice for shooting and processing 35mm in Vancouver, BC. I know there are no local labs anymore but it seems like cameras won't be a problem with Panavision and Keslow in the city. In terms of processing and scanning it looks like either MELS in Montreal or Fotokem in Los Angeles would be the nearest options. Does anyone have any experience with lower end productions with either or both labs? This is for a low budget short film project (but with enough budget for film - I'm more concerned with how the film will be treated and how much of a customised experience it will be - I've had terrible best light rushes riddled with dust on a previous low budget project because of lack of interest of the lab and had to get everything retransferred!) Also, can anyone fill me in on safe practices for shipping exposed but unprocessed negative and/or recommend a good shipping company for it? Many thanks!
  8. Lack of contrast, digital grading leading to predominance of orange and blue, lack of red and pink skin tones and almost universal orange skin tones and lack of contrast between colours created by different colour temperature lighting are things that I really notice about contemporary cinematography since the digital revolution. My favourite decade for films is the 80s - on a lot of films from this period, you see tungsten, daylight and fluorescent all existing as very separate, artful elements within a frame - so often now it seems like the foreground, background, backlight and fill are all the same colour (often orange - this colour seems to be so fashionable for exterior nights but it just makes me think of available light footage from TV news reports). I think the higher ISOs in films now also lead to so much "overall" lighting - kind of like seeing vintage EPK interviews showing film sets with everything looking flatly lit vs seeing it nice and contrasty in the finished film.
  9. Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone knew the minimum close focus distance of the Todd-AO 24mm square front anamorphic. I am coming up short of information everywhere. Also, does anyone know what kind of matte box would be needed for a lens like this and finally if there are any diopters and/or split diopters that could be used with it. Thanks!
  10. Very nice and incredibly knowledgeable lady. She did some amazing lighting workshops with me and fellow students at the London Film School and it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from her.
  11. Very nervous about this. BLADE RUNNER is unbelievably beautiful and it's look in completely 80s, uncorrected fluorescents, neon, natural randomly occurring anamorphic flares, the lack of exposure latitude in 100asa stock. As someone born the year before BLADE RUNNER was made I see it as a time capsule of ideas, thoughts and looks of that era and not as a futuristic sci-fi film. It can't possible look "the same" and maybe it shouldn't be trying to but in that case maybe it just shouldn't be, after all it's not many years until 2019 and that world of the original film certainly hasn't happened. Maybe it would be more interesting to have an original film imagining the future from the perspective of 2015 - just a thought.
  12. Keith, 2.39 might have emerged at random but it shouts "cinema" to so many and seeing as most people experience films at home with 16:9 screens they can very much tell the difference between 1.85 and 2.39. For the man on the street sometimes just adding a 2.39 letterbox to badly filmed footage makes it seem more professional. That's not a good thing but it's true. I for one love the scope aspect ratio and always can't help but smiling when I see the cinema curtains pull back fully from exit door to exit door after the trailers end. As for anamorphic being an answer to a question no-one asked, I have grown up with a love for 2x anamorphic lenses that I could never even explain until I was a teenager and began to discover filmmaking technically. Even as I child I knew I loved the flares, the barrel distortion and the odd 3D feeling the format gives to shallow focus shots. I really do wish that people would except that we have two great standard aspect ratios and concentrate more on what they are putting in that rectangle.
  13. Also, if I remember rightly, the vast majority of Touch of Evil was shot with an 18mm lens which was apparently a brand new focal length at the time.
  14. Psycho (the 1960 original) is supposed to have all been shot with a 50mm Super Baltar lens as Hitchcock believed it was the closest approximation to human vision (in the days before Super 35). The thing that is important though is camera placement which in Psycho is always perfect and very dynamic. It makes the human vision argument a bit sketchy as the camera is usually in places impossible to represent a human viewpoint.
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