Criterion’s release of a newly transferred “The Sweet Smell of Success” points up great B/W cinematography by James Wong Howe.
We search for the more interesting and provocative news and views of the past week, just so you don’t have to.
This past week brought news on hot new camcorders, contests, Kevin Smith, the ever-reliable-for-drama Weinstein Bros., and a new look for a classic New York tale.
Just a week ago director/DP/author Jon Fauer traveled to Japan to get a peek at what might be Sony’s answer to upstart Red: a prototype camera system that shoots beyond 4K by subsampling from a huge 8K sensor. Unusual for such a large sensor system, the camera will have a high frame rate mode going to 120 frames per second. Fauer says the complex project could be a breakthrough for practical 4K productions. One key factor, he says, is that Sony makes all the crucial parts, including the sensor and high-speed SR Memory Cards with their 5 Gbps sustained data rate. The story is here.
DV editor David E. Williams goes into much detail on the rest of Sony’s line-up presented at the press tour in Japan. That post is here.
More practical cinematography—that is, if 3-D production can yet be said to be anywhere close to practical–comes via a one day 3-D production workshop on Saturday, March 19th at StudentFilmmaker’s Broadway workshop. To be taught by Julian Chojnacki DGA and SOC, attendees with work with one of the few standard rigs out there, Panasonic’s AG-3DA1 camcorder. While not many would peg that rig for anything beyond industrial and educational use, any hands-on work will put you above the competition at this early stage. More info here
The Abel Cine blog has a video on using the rental house’s new AF100 ENG Kit for the Panasonic AF100. That single sensor camcorder has become an immediate favorite for its relatively lowball pricing and design—and that it hit the market well before Sony’s still to be delivered competitive model, the HandyCam NXCAM with E-Mount. The Sony camcorder has higher specs, but the Panasonic has already drawn modders such as Abel Cine who employ the Hot Rod Tuner and HDx2 B4/PL Optical Adapter to allow attaching 2/3-inch lenses.
Just too tired of having to read your Facebook and Twitter pages? Developer Ustream helps address that boredom via its new iPhone app that combines both a mobile video viewer and video broadcasting capability. Takes just one click to post to Twitter and Facebook. Sounds like one more way to bring down the networks of Verizon, AT&T, et.al, but who am I to discount our self-mythologizing ways?
Augmented reality—it’s essentially the layering on of digital info over the real world—inches closer to the everyday. At the recent GDC (games developer conference), Sony detailed how augmented reality will work in its NGP, the next generation Playstation platform. The huge gaming market might push AR to wide use. Read about it here.
Meanwhile, a blogger on Handheld Hollywood tries to make the case for the iPad 2 as a mobile production tool. While we know the Pad is finding a place on set–to review takes or even act as a slate–this fellow goes over every technical detail to seriously make the case for it as your digital filmmaking tool. You be the judge.
Looking to improve how you manage your New York-based business? Well, you’re too late to attend tomorrow’s sold out Sixth Annual Small Business Summit, hosted by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. However, you can plunk down $29 for what is promised as “live remote video access to all sessions”. Those sessions run from 8am to 5pm, so looks like you’ll get your money’s worth of virtual conferencing. Click here for more.
One major shindig that finished this past weekend, the annual TED conference, has its many free videos posted for all. TED, originally dedicated to technology, entertainment, and design, has grown from its small, geeky beginnings into an important tech-oriented gathering that covers everything from “quantum physics to paper-cutting” as Steven “Hackers” Levy puts it. The videos of the presentations are anything but dry—the speakers pride themselves on making the most arcane topics relevant, and dare we say fun—so don’t hesitate in trying at least one from their top-shelf list. Click here for that.
Picking up distribution, of course, is a filmmaker’s final hurdle. Kevin Smith came up with a solution that kicks self-distribution to a new level–he packed Radio City Music Hall to push his new horror movie, “Red State.” Folks paid $54 to see the movie and then sit through Q&A with Smith and cast. Not sure how many Indie productions could pull that off. In any case, read more here.
A longish essay by “film finance expert” Jeff Steele on, of all places, the HuffPo, lays out other strategies for a “complete democratization” of the film industry, one said to make “every man, woman and man-child to be his or her own mini-studio”. If you’re not too frightened by that thought, you can read more here.
If you’re involved in advertising, you might want to consider Shoot’s 9th Annual New Director’s contest. The April 4th deadline is approaching, so if you can use the promotion, see the application details here.
Sony’s “Behind the Lens” film student contest has also been announced, with submissions accepted through March 15th. Winner gets a PMW-F3 camcorder.
Two filmmakers who claim their animated film projects were deep-sixed through the Weinstein Studio’s “indecisiveness and general incompetence” have sued. Seems they were also paid to keep quiet about this until after the Oscars, so that the studio’s campaign for “The King’s Speech” wouldn’t be sidetracked. You can read the details here, including an embarrassing episode involving M&Ms.
Echt Broadway movie “Sweet Smell of Success” has been restored and includes a new Blu-ray transfer courtesy of the Criterion Collection. Written by Broadway press agent Ernest Lehman and the great Clifford Odets, the film stars Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis playing against their good-guy types. Hands down one of the best takes on a now lost era, the mid-1950s milieu of New York theaters and nightclubs. There’s wonderful black & white cinematography by the great James Wong Howe to boot.