Yikes! Running late for day 2 of the PhotoCineNews Expo! (I tweeted) It was only 8:57 am on a Sunday morning, but these guys are relentless! But precious content was rolling in the heart of Hollywood, at the LA Film School.
I regrettably missed Visual FX for Guerrila Filmmakers, but I made it just in time to hit Liam Fin and Illya Friedman’s Big Movie Little Camera.
Liam was the first person to shoot a feature lenght movie on a HDSLR. The GH1 to be more precise. He also counted with the precious help of Illya Friedman from Hot Rod Cameras, who brought a powerful ingredient to the mix… a PL mount that allowed the little Panasonic to shoot with high grade cinema lenses.
Liam is a re-incident at this expo. He presented us with footage of his film “Rejouer” 100% shot with the GH1, last year.
His speech on independent filmmaking shows how much experience he has accumulated throughout his career. Being vice-president of Filmmakers Alliance has probably added a lot to the pot… Some of his tips are really precious, like showing us how shooting a take of your action, without dialogue, to capture a clean track of all those precious little sounds that will be a nightmare to recreate in post, can be a real life saver and enhance the overall production value of your film. Check out his website FInndependent.com
Liam also announced a new user group meeting that is going to start meeting in Glendale. You can get more info at HDSLRUG.com. Definitely going to try to fit that into my schedule!
Then hunger stroke… I missed the morning breakfast, so I ended up loosing myself in Hollywood’s Farmers Market that is held on Sundays, next to the LA Film School and ended up missing the Bui Brothers… but I have to say that, that Chicken Skewer and the 4 Berry Lemonade really made up for it… But not all was lost as I made it just in time for Ami Vitale’s Interactive Storytelling.
Amy’s an accomplished photo journalist who’s transitioned to motion picture. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s been more then a few journalists getting under the spotlight of the HDSLR revolution, while many other technically inclined individuals, that could probably take better advantage of it, are not… So what’s the deal you may ask? Well, journalists are natural born story tellers… and beautiful images without an equally strong story to support them, tend to be nothing more then an elaborate camera show off…
Amy has really embraced this new technology with heart. She even went back to school to learn Multimedia but confesses she was daunted by shooting “video” at first.
Amy introduced us to some of her early work, composed of beautiful touching, black and white pictures taken in a period of 6 months where she lived among local natives, with no electricity or running water… simply amazing stuff!
Amy’s work has taken her to places and moments in time that characterize the crazy world we live in… Her stories are visually and substantially captivating, displaying a one of a kind sensibility to immerse us in these worlds, and now she’s able to carry that same feel to her motion picture work.
You can see smore of her work at amivitale.com
Amy emphasized how important your pitches are, giving an example of how she sent countless proposals to cover the story of 4 of the last 8 white rhino’s being moved back to Africa, in a final attempt to preserve this dying species and she got a “NO” from every single one of them. Later on she put her heart into it, re-wrote the proposal, sent it to only 5 people and got a “YES” from all 5…
For her, the prospect of being able to shoot video and stills means the world is ours for the taking. You just need to make a compelling story and you have so many outlets to sell it too.
The white rhino’s footage ended up being sold to 4 or five different entities, being National Geographic one of them.
The action was non stop and right after Amy’s, you had to run for another great raffles drawing…
Then you had to pick either Roberta Munroe’s Best Short Film Workshop Ever or Jared Abraham’s HDSLR E.N.G. Well.. I ended up not catching either of them and decided it was time to spend some time in the Expo Floor.
The “usual suspects” didn’t miss the show, but it was great to see many new comers supporting this unique event.
Brian Valente, from Redrock Micro, couldn’t hide the excitement as the minutes counted down to the announcement of his new product… which by now you already know it’s a high quality Electronic View Vinder, aimed for HDSLRs… and by now you probably also know that Zacuto announced their own flavor, only a few days later… Exciting times!!!
Illya Friedman, the creator of the first PL mounts for HDSLRs, hiting the floor and sharing his knowledge with one of the vendors.
I find these experiences extremely inspiring and enriching!
There are currently so many options and add ons in the market, that only you can decide what will work best for your needs.
Configurations are virtually endless and we all contribute to how they shape the future to come.
This is also a unique opportunity to meet developers and share your real world experiences. And if you’re just getting your feet wet, there’s also nothing better then hearing and meeting people that can give you invaluable advice and insight towards your next step…
The prices are also so varied and this is the best way to have an idea of what you’re paying for, or how well it come together with the rest of your equipment.
We get inundated with info on the web, but there’s nothing like actually touching a device, turn it on, play with it and see how it feels to you! And that’s why it is so important to make sure these events keep being held, for years to come.
Jag 35 also caught my attention with their new view finder, that is supposed to be hitting the market very soon.
A viewfinder, called Monitor X, that allows you to not have your eye glued to it, in order to be able to see what you’re shooting.
This will definitely please some users and with the prices Jag 35 has gotten us used to, I’m sure it will find many fans!
And like I said, there was so much stuff, it would take a whole other article just to give you a rough idea of the great products in display…
So the time to go back to the main theatre came way too quick and I had to get on the move again…
One of the coolest cat of the HDSLR world, and re-incident at this Expo, was about to do his presentation…
Rodney Charters, aka @rodneykiwi, the DP of the popular show 24h, embodies a passion and devotion to the craft that spreads all over the audience.
Similarly to last year, Rodney showed a retrospect of his life, starting with how his father prospered in the war as a photographer and friendly booze provider… haha! The rest just flows as visual poetry, as we watch his career evolution, through either his own pictures or the cameras that have passed by his hands… unfortunately, we were once again asked to not take stills, so you just have to feed from my words, that can’t remotely come close to making justice of the whole experience.
Just like Shane Hurlbut, Rodney has also been a key player in pushing the envelope in the HDSLR world.
Each one of his words comes out passionately as Rodney offers a small insight to his vast knowledge. He rejoices on the fast evolution we’ve been witnessing for the past 2 years, but also points out how things could even go smoother, if only the powers to be would allow it… pointing out his tweet to Canon about Nikon’s auto-focus… “it’s a piece of software! You already have all the controls in your cameras, what are you waiting for?”
But the digital revolution goes way beyond the HDSLR world and although RED wasn’t anywhere to be seen, this year, news of how well Arri’s new camera is performing can only make us all dream…
Rodney excitedly reports 14 stops latitude on the Alexa! “Shoot inside an appartment and through the windows you can still see a well exposed sky… Looks like an HDR picture taken with your iPhone 4!”
He then moved on to show some examples of how the 5Ds have become vital for VFX plate work, both with still and videos, and both combined.
The use of several cameras in a spherical configuration, intricately and solidly rigged to a car, allow drive through streets, while capturing the whole environment, which is later put together in a 3D software, allowing directors to move the camera freely in green screen work.
Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clnozSXyF4k
The no camera policy makes it really difficult to illustrate most interesting things, like a “jerry rig” put together with T2Is to do spherical plate work on a budget… very inspiring stuff.
He also showed an amazing clip made with 12 cameras set at different focal lengths… it’s hard to describe but it was the only moment, during this expo, that I heard that “haaah” of disbelief you used to get when the first 5D MKII images where shown a couple of years back…
Rodney also mentioned the software 5D to RGB, saying he was very impressed with its results. So much so, he said that on any future HDSLR project he works on, he’s going to insist to have the material processed with it. So we can safely guess 5D to RGB is going to become an important part of the workflow, on most high end projects.
As you came out of the theater, you could feel the enthusiasm that sprouts around you. Everyone’s engaged in some form of technically creative conversation… Your head just spins after so much inspirational material…
You can see more of Rodney’s work at: http://www.rodneycharters.com/
The whole weekend we’ve all been waiting to see the man that first brought us HDSLR motion picture to our screens, and what news he would bring for the Vincent Laforet world… Without any introduction necessary, this was probably the most anticipated speaker of the Expo.
Social media and the notoriety that “Reverie” gained so quickly, allowed Vincent to catapult himself to impossible heights in the motion picture world, in such a short time. So there’s nothing more inspiring then seeing his evolution and ascension.
What’s also so amazing is the humble tone of his words. This is what I think makes Vincent so great. A guy who is as accomplished as any photographer can dream to be and now heading head first into another career he discovered because Canon launched a camera that happened to shoot pristine HD.
Vincent admits his biggest downfall was to have gotten so gear obsessed for the past 2 years, in despite of focusing on story.
Filmmaking is a concatenation of interesting recipes… but story telling is definitely the backbone of it all. You can have the simplest images, but if the story is there, you still find yourself glued to a screen, if nothing else, to find the outcome of it all, while the most amazing images without substance can become the most boring thing after a little while…
Vincent presents himself as a story telling devotee, pointing it as the fuel of his commitment and dedication.
Nonetheless it’s very impressive to see the show reel Vincent put together in a “gear obsessed” year, which is really a prove of the passion for his craft. The 5D MKII, 1D MKIV and 7D were the tools that allowed him to get prepared to shoot big productions in such a short time.
Vincent has been instrumental in pushing the envelope of the HDSLR world, always sharing most of his secrets and gear recipe, posting articles and videos in his blog, like this one!
All in all the PhotoCineNews Expo can only be seen as a major success and a step-up from last year’s Collision Conference, which was considered ground Zero for the hybrid shooting world, and as far as I’m aware there’s still no other event completely focused on HDSLR, with this dimension and quality. So we can only hope that the sponsors understand its importance and will help us keep in touch with the forefront of this fascinating new world.
So, until next year… happy shooting!!!
RadRaven, over and out!
T ; )~