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Jonathan Benny

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About Jonathan Benny

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    Vancouver, Canada / Paris, France

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    http://www.inter-muses.com
  1. James, Could you please describe what specific problems you had in the field with the aaton and what elements of the movement caused these jams that you have experienced? In other words, what specific element of the aaton movement do you find to be problematic in design that causes frequent jams? Please be specefic about what aaton models you were using at the times of these jams so we can better understand what exactly you are talking about. On the topic of the Penelope: As I've mentioned before, I hope and anticipate that, like most aatons, Penelope will be an exciting camera to use with a creative, operator-friendly design. Regards, AJB
  2. I think at that point, shooting 4x3 and 16x9 present the same number of technical challenges. I personally would never suggest to a director or producer that they shoot 4x3 because of the challenges you outlined above. There are many films out there, shot on extremely low budgets, probably under the same circumstances you describe above, that shot in 16x9 or 1.85 and did fine. The challenges above don't really get solved by the format choice. Its more about organizing your setups, blocking, compositions around those eniviornmental elements you don't have control over. You'd have to do that equally with 4x3 or 16x9. At least thats what I've experienced. AJB
  3. When it comes to drama, I think it takes just as much effort to light and design for 4x3 as it does for 16x9. I think the major differences come in terms of the opportunities for blocking and composition. But this isn't an "effort" thing as much as an "how do you approach it" thing. This is not to say that they are not different and that they don't each have their own challenges. Certainly they are different. But I'm sure that Elephant was as challenging to shoot from a compositional/technical standpoint as any similar-type film shot in 1.85. I would suggest that Elephant perhaps even presented set designers etc. with more challenges than they were used to in working on a 1.85 shoot. I would like to also point out that the 16x9 frame has been a gift to low-budget filmmakers. The fact that low-budget filmmakers have been able to express themselves using a frame closer to 1.85 using their very cheap cameras has had only a positive effect on the understanding of the potential of the cinema language. For a long time the ultra low-budget filmmaker, who had to either use super 8, regular 16 cameras, or cheap video cameras, had to use the 1.33 / 4x3 frame (or they would have to improvise some sort of wide screen solution to achieve a wide-screen result). The fact that 16x9 is pretty much standard now in cheap video cameras has made a lot of new filmmakers and cinematographers very aware of the value of good wide-screen composition. It has made the overall community operate on a more sophisticated level. And I don't think the increased width has made things that much more difficult in terms of lighting/set design etc. on the low budget level. As films like Elephant illustrate, this is really about a "shape" thing, not a "size" thing. And a film shot in 1.33/1.37/4:3 can be every bit as visually compelling and technically challenging as any one shot on 1.85. Perhaps in the relm of special effects/major epic shots the differences become more significant. AJB
  4. Yes, I got mixed up in thinking 100% as being one stop. Very silly. AJB
  5. No, Chuck was incorrect by stating a filter factor of 1.2 equals 4 stops (even though it may have been a result of mistakenly using a different scale to express the effect of a filter on light). I do understand the confusion, though. He was referring to your calculation which yielded a filter factor of 1.2 which has no relation to 4 stops absorption. You were correct when you stated that a filter factor of 16 equals 4 stops. I have a question, though, about your calculation: How did you come up with a 120% increase? How can a 17% absorption equal a 120% necessary increase (which by the way, is not a filter factor of 1.2)? You must have meant 20%, or 120% of the original value. But I still fail to see how a 17% absorption equals 20% compensation? In any case: if the prism is taking 17% of your light, that is how much you need to compensate for: if you're not doing scientific work, just round it up to 20% and call it 2/10ths of a stop compensation. Great topic, btw. AJB
  6. That is not correct. A filter factor of 16 is 4 stops. A filter factor of 2 is 1 stop: (you need twice as much light, so to speak, to compensate - or you open up 1 stop, allowing twice as much light in). 4 is 2 stops, 8 is 3 stops, 16 is 4 stops. I believe you're referring to an ND1.2 (which operates on a different scale related to 1/3rds of a stop) which has a fliter factor of 16: ie 4 stops. AJB
  7. This is in Chartres Cathedral, France for a NatGeo shoot last winter. (French crew was great). I snapped this off - this was one of many lights needed to illuminate this massive interior. I used a mixture of multiple 2, 5 & 10K tungsten units with 4 and 6K HMI - lots of bouncing off floors to create soft sources from below arches etc. Wish I had more shots of the setup but didn't have time. My apologies that this isn't really a shot of a setup, but I thought this was kind of an interesting photo of one light in a setup that was underway... This shot was taken in the morning, and so when we finally started to roll, the daylight was far more powerfull and therefore the windows were more vibrant than what you see here.
  8. John, Our thoughts are with you. Wishing the best to you and your family. Jonathan
  9. I went to acting school and have been able to use what I learned there on several occasions when shooting and/or directing. Its important, though, to point out that many successful directors (perhaps most?) have not ever acted, nor ever been in an acting class. So its really more about finding your method and your own path to effective communication with actors. Experiencing acting school or classes can be one of many ways of getting there. I think most important is gaining experience and ability in understanding quickly each individual actor's needs and using that knowledge to say the right things to get them to where you (and they) need to go. You do learn about that in some acting schools. AJB
  10. Thats a tiny and very efficient package - if it meets your needs on this project, then thats great. Pack it well in a soft or hard case (better) and send it under as fragile. A Carnet is your friend and make sure all your gear is listed on it. Be prepared for extra baggage charges - and particularly if you are flying within europe, those costs can be quite high depending on the amount you are over. Your PM/Producer should warn the airline if you are bringing onboard a very high number of cases. I did a National Geographic show last year - we had 11 cases of HD gear + lighting we were bringing through from London through Rome, Paris, Tunisia and Cairo. Letting the airlines know in advance is quite important. I'm in Paris right now and there have been a few flash rainstorms in the area I am in - probably not going to be a problem in June, but just in case, make sure you have a bit of raingear backup handy for you and your camera. Good luck and have a great time. AJB
  11. For a soft source, Universal Divalites work great with the proper adapter for the plug. For hard sources usually all you'll need is the proper bulb and an adapter for the plug (rental houses sometimes have the right bulbs for you). Totas with Chimeras are very compact soft-source solution. For harder sources, you can go with ProLights, or if you have the room, a couple of smaller Arris, Redheads etc. All with the proper-voltage bulb and the adapter plugs. As Brian points out, laptop power supplies (at least mine) just need the adapter. But I suppose you should double check to avoid any nightmare scenarios... AJB
  12. This is incredibly worrisome - particularly if it is going to be future policy with digital projection in cinemas. AJB
  13. Is the appropriateness of the forced removal of a Sony rep from the RED booth a subject worth exploring on this site? I would have preferred to read about your impressions of the actual technology since you were there and could possibly provide us with some valuable first-hand observations. But pardon the sidetracking. AJB
  14. Ruairi, Thanks for posting these. I've watched carefully the progression of this whole thing over the past year. Have downloaded the tests and viewed etc. I think this camera (RED) and the Penelope are two of a number of very interesting and exciting camera-projects out there right now. And I think regardless of the success or failure of any camera-project, the desire to make something that can add to our ability to tell stories, and the attempt to bring such a project to reality, must be admired. AJB
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