Does your lens policy need renewing?

Which lens to use? The internet is full of advice about which lens is the sharpest or the fastest or the best value for money. Less is said, however, about which focal length to use and when; most people simply adjust the zoom until the shot feels right. A valid approach if time is tight … Continue reading

Signal to Noise

How filmmakers throw emphasis on what’s essential ☛ Cinema is one of the most naturalistic of the arts: it’s often shot in the real world and we expect movie characters to behave pretty much as people do in reality. This naturalism can make our stories all the more compelling; the audience love to come out … Continue reading

Unleashing the Titan

A sneak peek at Red’s new super-camera ☛ Following the release of Red’s ground-breaking Epic Dragon camera earlier this month, I decided to talk to someone from the company to see if I could get an insight into what might be coming next from this most revolutionary of camera companies. I pitched up at their … Continue reading

Snakes, funerals and Clint Eastwood

Deciding on the shape of the frame ☛ Last time I wrote about the shape of movies in terms of story; today I want to discuss a different sort of shape: that of the screen itself. Aspect ratio. Not long ago, Vincent Laforet brought to my attention a very good video examining the history of … Continue reading

Anyone for revolution?

Whatever happened to the DSLR Spring? ☛ 1960: a film called Breathless was released that revolutionised cinema. It was shot on 16mm film, a technology previously only used for newsreels.  The French New Wave that followed inspired the counter-culture movies of the next decade, and left a mark still visible in the films we make … Continue reading

High Frames Drifter

Is the truth any truer at 48 frames per second? ☛ Like virtually everyone else in the film blogosphere, I’ve been to see The Hobbit recently in its High Frame Rate (HFR) presentation and, like everyone else, I feel drawn to offer my assessment of the new technology, especially since it raises some important questions … Continue reading

Who shot film?

A day in the death of 35mm ☛ Last month Fujifilm, one of the last two manufacturers of 35mm negative for motion pictures, announced that it would cease production of its film stocks. The move was widely heralded as one of the final nails in the coffin for movies being shot on film. Purists greeted … Continue reading

“And the Oscar goes to…. Canon?”

Who’s making the film – you or your equipment? ☛ The last 15 years have seen an explosion in the technology available for filmmaking: first HD, then 4k, then the new generation of 3D. Once upon a time editing was done by an editor physically cutting up bits of film and taping them together; then … Continue reading

It Takes as Long as it Takes

Some thoughts on the use of sustained shots ☛ Around the time I was getting seriously interested in the idea of making movies, a film came out that had me entranced by its opening shot: the film was called The Player and the shot ran for just shy of 8 minutes without a cut. It … Continue reading

The Campaign for Real Reels

A Brief Guide to How to Make a Good Showreel ☛ There are a lot of good actors, directors and HoDs out there with bad showreels – let’s put that right. Showreels used to be the reserve of those who could afford to have one edited. Now anyone with a laptop can make a reel … Continue reading

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