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Found 5 results

  1. My name is Jack Lam, and I am a working cinematographer. In my blog site, I wrote an open letter to Panasonic titled: Long-overdue Innovations in Manual Focus Will Make LUMIX-S a Winner for Professional Cinematographers The article can be viewed here: http://www.jack-lam.com/blog-post-1.html We have not seen much fundamental progress in the tools for professional focus control since the rise of DSLR cinematography, and it is an area that is badly in need for some innovations. I think the launch of LUMIX S is a great opportunity for Panasonic to do that. In the article, I explain my ideas of what an ideal focus control system should look like on LUMIX S. It will make LUMIX S the ultimate small camera system for cinematographers. I believe my article provides a unique perspective to the discussions of future camera designs. This is an issue that affects the quality and effectiveness of our work and one that deserves more attention. I'd love to hear what you think. Hopefully Panasonic will listen.
  2. I'm focus pulling on a short film this week. We are shooting on the Alexa Mini with 2x Kowa Anamorphic lenses. I've worked with anamorphic on a fair few jobs in the past, however I haven't always had the luxury of a prep day. On this short film I have an evening of prep before principle photography begins. I was wondering if I could get some advice on the kind of things I should prep/look out for when shooting on vintage anamorphics? I'll do the obvious and check the accuracy of focal distances to start with. As far as i'm aware each lens will cast a slightly different colour tint onto the image, how can I test this and compensate during shooting? We are also going to be using diopters for a few close-up shots in the short film. Any advice on pulling with diopters in front of the lens? Is there an algorithm that can be used to figure out focal distances for different diopter levels? Or is it recommended that I just rely on a monitor for these shots?
  3. Yesterday I came across a focus pulller operator workshop class which will be held here in Italy, starting next February. The class will have a duration of two (2) weekends, so I guess about 8 hours per day for two consecutive week ends, 4 days totally. I haven't had access to the detailed schedule yet but I assume, comparing to similar Labs they provide, that it won't be two full days: so may be the first day (say on saturday) you will get 8 hours and the second one maybe something less. It will be pretty much intense anyway, I guess. Now, I don't want to attach a link to this school because they didn't act very professionally so far, based on a e-mail exchange we had yesterday, so I don't want to provide any sort of publicity to what they do. But I was wondering: is a kind of class like this one really helpful? I mean, of course learning always is, and especially learning from working professionals and by the aid of professional gear, but how much can you really learn from a 4-days class? Especially assuming that you won't be doing focus pulling from the very beginning, but you will probably be introduced with the different kind of cameras and the kind of gear you will be using, during the first hours. And then take into account that you won't be alone: some other students will be there with you and you'll probably have to take turns to operate the camera, and so on. So I guess that by the end of the course you will have a basic operative knowledge of focus pulling, a few hours of field experience (if you're lucky), but I definitely guess you won't be absolutely "ready for work", not even for a small short with friends!! May be youl'll be able to recognise a real follow focus when you see one on the set: that's more likely. Now of course I am a bit exaggerating here, but I really don't like this way of doing business, which is very common in the educational field here in Italy: aware of the huge appeal that some areas or activities may bear, some kind of people tend to give very little for a very high price, and usually to naif and passionate young girls and boys who would like to learn more or, in most cases, learn a profession for their futures. I am not saying there's a scam going on: of course you can always ask for information before applying for a class, and it is your duty indeed to do so, so that you know what you are paying for, but the information they provide is not always clear, not from the beginning at least. (the description they provide for the course on their internet page is very vague, and smells like the usual "resumé-upsizing kind of language") And, most importantly, what you pay for is definitely overpriced for the kind and quantity of training you get, in my opinion. Professional education and training is a very strong business here, and what you get is not always worth what you pay for, especially if you consider that, partly due to a peculiar job situation, partly to a typical italian mindset, the very same people who train you (which are usually working professionals), don't really care about being helpful to introduce you to the job, usually because this may conflict with their own interests. I guess it's not the same in United States, probably because that kind of harsh competition for work that we are experiencing now in the last five-ten years, you already had quite some years ago. Italy is a very cinical country at the present time. Some time ago I was listening to an interview to comedian Steve Kaplan for Film Courage (YT channel) and it struck me when, demanded to provide some advice to beginner writers, he finally said: ".. and then you can alway ask. I mean here in Los Angeles people are happy if they can help other people." WHAT???? That's completely impossible for Italy. There's a really strange approach to these matters in this country. A discussion board like this one for example, where trained and working professionals will answer your questions or curiosities, actually advancing your expertise and knowledge on the job, is quite inconceivable. And there is none in fact. Anyway, let me go back to the topic now. what I want to ask is: - except that I will be training on professional gear, - except that I will receive some kind of theoretical and technical background, will it really be helpful taking a short class like this one, if my ultimate goal is to actually learn to pull focus on the field, not just simply knowing how focus pulling works? I mean: let me say again I don't know the price of this specific course, but I can guess it will be between 500€ and 800€: can't I buy some decent gear for the same price and practice on my own? I know you can't buy a dslr AND a follow focus AND a good shoulder rig AND a good external display with that money, but a dear friend of mine already owns a good dslr camera and wants to learn shooting too. So I was thinking we could split the costs, buy some basic stuff on amazon and start practicing during week ends, taking turns alternatively: shooting and focus pulling. I know it's not the same as working with professional gear in a supervised milieu, where a teacher oversees your job and corrects your mistakes, but how much experience can you really get from a 4-day training? I guess focus pulling, as well as camera shooting, is mostly about experience, about practice. And by the way, I was reading some days ago a nice discussion on this board, which I cant find now, where an experienced assistant operator was explaining how the job is changing at the present time: how more and more you are asked to focus pull from the external monitor, sometimes disregarding or ignoring completely the marks you made for the actors, provided you had time to do that. And I can understand that: partly because, as he said, new directors don't even know these procedure and routines, partly because you don't always have much time, and partly because the nature of the shot may cause your marks to be completely useless (correct me if I am wrong). So this all tells me even more how much an extended practice is critical to this specific job.. What do you think, what's your opinion? thanks for reading
  4. Hello! I am seeking advice on how to best prepare for an upcoming shoot where I'll be focus pulling with the ARRI Master Anamorphic Lenses (35mm, 50mm & 75mm). This is my first time focus pulling with these lenses, and anamorphic lenses all together and I want to make sure I am fully prepared to do my job right. I am still relatively new to focus pulling (less than 2 years experience) and would greatly appreciate some advice to help me through this shoot. I have been reading the forums about anamorphic lenses but I have yet to find specific info on the Master Anamorphics. My questions are: 1) How do I measure focus when there is an arc in the focus plane. I read that if a subject is 6ft away and the lens is set to 6ft, then the subject will be soft. Is there an equation for calculating the distance from the lens plane, to the subject while taking the arc of the anamorphic lens into account? 2) Does the iPhone app PCam help camera assistants with these sorts of calculations? (If so, looks like I will finally be buying that app!) 3) When shooting at T1.9, do these lenses breath in a distracting way? Meaning if I'm racking focus at T1.9 and I happen to miss a mark, will it be extremely obvious because of the breathing effect? 4) We will be shooting in the middle of the desert during the day & night, so does anyone have any tips in regards to the difference in pulling focus wide open vs. fully closed down on these lenses? I am still not 100% sure if I am asking the correct questions and ALL of the questions that I need answered in order to be prepared. But I would really appreciate any advice that you can offer to a camera kid just starting out in the business. Merci beaucoup! :D
  5. I've just been given a great opportunity to be 1st AC on my first film project. I don't know much about it yet but it is a two day shoot on an SR3. I have worked on a film shoot as a 2nd twice before, once as a clapper-loader and once as a trainee, other than that all my projects have been digital. I’ve got just under 2 weeks to get myself ready and I’m trying to take as much on board as possible. First, what are the main things that need to be covered when prepping for a film shoot? I’m particularly concerned about the accuracy of lens markings given this will be absolutely critical without a monitor to check. We will have 1 days prep in a rental house what are the tests I should be doing and what should I be looking for? Second, although I try to use the monitor as little as possible when shooting, I do use it for spot checks before rolling to check that I haven’t blown a shot, I’m slightly nervous about focus pulling completely blind but excited about as well! Would you recommend doing anything differently on film opposed to digital? I don’t have a DoF calculator but would investing in a Kelly’s be necessary or worth it? Is there any kit that I may be overlooking from my floor bag that I wouldn’t use on digital but would need on film e.g. cleaning? I will be spending time practising my focus guessing and reading through the Camera Assistants manual over and over but what else can you recommend? Despite a few nerves I’m really looking forward to working with film again and getting that experience, just want to make sure it goes as smooth as possible. Thanks for any suggestions.
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