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Jon Amerikaner

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About Jon Amerikaner

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  • Occupation
    Cinematographer
  • Location
    Tel Aviv, Israel

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  • Website URL
    http://www.jonathanamerikaner.com
  1. Chapman in Orange is supposedly putting together an excellent program. Complete with it's own movie studio promising to finance graduates' feature films. Don't discount the others. I applied to, was accepted, and eventually declined admission to AFI. I think my passion helped me with the acceptance. As did a narrative, no dialogue short I shot as DoP exclusively for the admissions committee. They really want to see narrative work. So if you don't have one complete, go out and shoot one and show them you're a visual storyteller. Remember that they are not looking for perfection. If you have nothing to learn, why go to school? UCLA is the long shot. I was accepted to AFI, and not to UCLA. They have (or had) a cap of 30 students. So it's very, very difficult. Of course you must try. You'll never know if you don't
  2. Hi I just shot my first shoot utilizing a Letus and PL-mount with Arri film lenses. There was a tremendous amount of camera shake on focus pulls. (I was pulling focus and operating together because this was a no budget shoot) Now I am prepping a 2nd shoot with the system and looking for a 1st AC. So my question for you pros is: what other equipment do I need in order to stabilize and complete the rig so the AC does not get as much shake when he/she focuses? FYI the camera is an EX1 with standard Letus/PL-mount set-up Thanks
  3. Good shoes and comfortable insoles for extra support. Makes a world of difference
  4. You need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish. If you just need a camera to act as a recording device for class assignments, the you should definitely look into a used video camera. Check B&H's used site. This way you can do your projects on time and learn. Remember school is the place where you want to make mistakes. So it's good to have a camera that allows you to make movies and doesn't frustrate you technically or financially. A 60D might be in your price range for an HDSLR. But you may find some disadvantages to the bare bones HDSLR such as focus and monitoring, as compared to a traditional video camera system. As written earlier, the HDSLRs come into play when you can outfit them with the necessary accessories. You might also consider renting a camera with your budget. You can look ahead at what projects you have, contact a few rental shops, and divide your 1500 into a few camera rentals. This way you can get the quality of the higher priced cameras without breaking your budget.
  5. Hi I am wondering how I can improve my ability to light actors' eyes and still achieve dramatic light. If you look at the first minute of my reel http://vimeo.com/24089193 you will see a scene that I believe really needed an eye light. I'd love to hear any tips you have on how I can get that sparkle in actors' eyes without compromising the overall scene lighting. Thanks
  6. Hi I am wondering how I can improve my ability to light actors eyes and still achieve dramatic light. If you look at the first minute of my reel http://vimeo.com/24089193 you will see a scene that I believe really needed an eye light. I'd love to hear any tips you have on how I can get that sparkle in an actors eyes without compromising the overall scene lighting. Thanks
  7. What problems, if any, will I run into if I shoot (D5) at 1080 24p and convert to 30p (for USA DVD) with sync sound? And how do I correct it? Audio interview. Premiere editing. Thanks
  8. What problems, if any, will I run into if I shoot (D5) at 1080 24p and convert to 30p (for USA DVD) with sync sound? And how do I correct it? Audio interview. Premiere editing. Thanks
  9. Shooting my first commercial on D5, in Europe. Client wants to distribute the spot in NTSC and PAL. What's the best format to shoot on? and convert to later?
  10. With the relative easy to get a more cinematic look with inexpensive HDSLR rentals, I am having a hard time convincing a few first time directors to put budget towards them. I have one director who wants to spend all his money on a crane and a rain machine, which will look beautiful with an HDSLR. But he thinks that the camera quality doesn't make a difference since he has such a "great vision" and special effects. What can I do? Is this my place? Is it worth five days of hard work to add one crane and a few rain shots to my reel, even though they will be shot with a 3CCD HDV camera? I know any practice is good practice but... Help here... Thanks
  11. Much appreciated if I can receive a few succinct definitions of a sequence shot and what makes it different than a long take? Thanks
  12. Congratulations to Wally Pfister and all the nominees. Fact is no matter who won, it's films like these (and many more that weren't nominated) that keep me going everyday...
  13. Jon Amerikaner

    NX5

    So I've used this camera a few times on some graduate shorts and docs. I think it's a good choice, but I still prefer the EX line. (I'm getting married soon, and one of the selling points of the videographer, in addition to his great work, is that he uses an EX) In addition to the 3.4 iris, definitely an issue in low-light, I'd say another draw back to this handheld camera is that it is heavy. So you will need a support system for those long nights. Curious to hear your thoughts after working with it.
  14. First, it's great your teacher is encouraging you. You should take every opportunity to film. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot Step back a bit though. You aren't quite done with pre if you have little idea about production or actors...usually your first steps after writing, even before crew. With that said, realize that you are going to make mistakes, and it's okay. We all do. This is the time to do it. I highly recommend 3 books that, in my opinion, really encompass the basis of great filmmaking without getting too specific on individual crafts. These books are: Screenplay by Syd Field, Making Movies by Sydney Lumet, and In The Blink Of An Eye by Walter Murch. They are short reads, they are good reads, and they are essential for any filmmaker of any age with any experience and in any field. Cheap lighting. That's another matter...
  15. There is a sequence in Jon Fauer's documentary Cinematographer Style, where cinematographers discuss knowing when to say "no". I discussed this idea with a director friend of mine who said he will never work again with any cinematographer who says "no". To clarify I am not speaking about being stubborn and saying "no, I won't do it" without offering any solutions. I am talking about those moments when a director's idea simply won't work for the time, budget, or logistical constraints of the film. For example, 8 real-life locations in one day with a student-volunteer crew. When is is appropriate to say "no, this won't work, we need to do x, y, or z as an alternative in order to get this film done"? What situations make saying "no" an appropriate response, and what situations make it inappropriate? Thanks
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