New Tools, New Choices

Going on location is expensive and can be a logistical nightmare. “There’s got to be a better way!” Digital locations are always available, easily redecorated and photo-real, the possibilities are endless!

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Alaska or Bust

And for our next magic trick we will turn this dump into a beautiful Alaskan wilderness. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out as a flight to Alaska wasn’t in the budget…this time! 🙂

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The camera path is automated, and you guest it  ” there is an app. for that!”

P1020073_BLOGPatrick sweats it out while the snow (paper pulp) is set up, it was actually raining while we shot this segment.

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In this mock-up a digital double stands in for Patrick, to test the environment.

Spring Training

Got the chance to experiment with the beautiful Magnolia Stellata (star). Tested some time lapse setups and the under slung mode, for a classic overhead perspective. Mr Super Beetle made a cameo appearance, working with insects requires a lot of patients. Here are a couple of stills from the 650 Gigs of footage we shot.

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VR and The Empathy Machine

OK, we all know how much smart phones have changed the way people work and play the world over but is this (see below) the future/evolution of all digital media, from art and entertainment to journalism, business and social engagement? Oculus Rift (a popular headset with Gamers) recently bought by Facebook for 2 billion US, was started by Palmer Luckey in his parents garage in 2011, yeah, just 5 years ago!! Makes you wonder where it will be by the end of the decade?

VR and Journalism

VR and James Joyce’s Ulysses

VR and depression

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and of course XXX

Magic Decoder Rings

I’ve been experimenting with capturing RAW images from the Canon 5D mk3 using the Magic Lantern ‘hack”. With all that amazing image latitude going to waste in “normal” mode how could you resist! But now I have that power there comes a great responsibility. What is the correct way to move forward with this new power? Magic Decoder Rings, of course! This is my none technical way of describing LUT’s or Look Up Tables (not so sexy). They can transform an image from an ugly duckling into a magnificent swan! Below is an example of a few ways to get the most out of the RAW image. Going from quick and easy to a more complex approach that balances three different “Magic Decoder Rings” to emulate the look and feel of images the way they were created before the age of computers. Using exotic media like Kodak Eastman Vision3 5219 negative for the creation phase and out putting to Vision 2393 Positive Release Print film for the distribution phase (movie theaters, web or marketing), see last example below. Why go to all this expense and trouble you ask? Well, if you want an aesthetic that people see as natural, authentic and beautiful, the film look is the only way to go. For more about the amazing power and beauty of “Film Emulation”, Vision Color is a great resource.

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Welcome to the Casa

Casa Loma is a wonderful location and has a surprisingly generous amount of natural light, even in the middle of a snow storm, which gave us beautifully diffuse, wrap around light for this shoot. My assistants weren’t too happy that the elevators weren’t working, but at least they didn’t have to haul the furniture up the stairs, just my 65lb camera cart! LOL. Actually I did that, seriously! Lead by example is my motto : )

Ida makes the beds look Sham’tastic!

Casa_2Reviewing the shot on the Cine Display with the client. Big Bed shots require a lot of styling tweaks. If it looks like we are all panting it’s because we climbed 10 flights of stairs to get to this room! Lol

Casa_3Even though the rooms are vast, sometimes you have to work around immovable obstacles, like this full size, slate snooker table. The shots came out great though and instead of the 10 listed for our 2 day location, we came away with 18! I’m sure we will be returning to the Casa soon…Hope they fix that elevator!

Images captured by Patrick Moher

Shooting Raw

Here is a great example of one of the many advantages of shooting in a RAW format, it captures a scene more closely to the way in which the human eye see’s it and, as a result, looks way better than even an awesome codec like ProRez, which has only 10 stops of dynamic range compared with the 30 stops available in Raw. Even the human eye can’t beat that, at 24 stops, although the eye does have a uber, high tech auto exposure system attached to it called the brain.
If you’re wearing your pocket protector you may want to find out more at this great resource. Cambridge in Color

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Terrence Malick wakes up drunk in the forest.

Joking aside, this 60 sec. piece was shot to test a Wooden Camera hand held rig I bought for the Black Magic Production camera, shot in the gorgeous 4K, DNG raw format. I wanted to test the raw format too and under exposed the first shot by a stop and a half, the shadow recovery was exceptional. The over exposed sunlit clouds, in the last shot, didn’t co-operate as readily, exposing for highlights is a better approach. Even though this footage was uploaded as 2K, you are only seeing one quarter of the original resolution, and is heavily compressed by YouTube, the result is still much more detailed than shooting in full HD. Another advantage is you can re-frame “Push Into” shots by 200% without loosing any resolution 😀
I love the Canon 24mm Cine lenses rendering of the image and the Firecrest IRND 1.2 filter allowed me to revel in the Bokeh, even on a sunny day. Subtle “film” grain and vignette added to taste in post. The dancing texture gives a earthy tangible quality to the subject, though is crushed by YouTube compression. Be sure to switch to full screen and HD mode! Sound track courtesy of James/Hammer Strings.