Category Archives: Cinematography

Quick Chat with new ASC president Kees Van Oostrum

The Board of Governors of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has elected Kees Van Oostrum as its president. This is Oostrum’s first term, which will run for one year, beginning immediately. The ASC Board also selected its slate of officers, which includes Bill Bennett, Dean Cundey and Lowell Peterson as VPs; Levi Isaacs as treasurer; Fred Goodich as secretary; and Roberto Schaefer as sergeant-at-arms.

“It is our task as an organization to educate the industry on the value of the cinematographer as the author of the images, to be involved in advancing imaging technology, and most importantly, to promote our artistry,” said Amsterdam native Van Oostrum.

Van Oostrum previously served as VP and has fulfilled other ASC board roles over the years. He is also the chairman and originator of the ASC Master Class, which takes place five times a year. The Master Class is one of several educational initiatives of the ASC. Inaugurated in 2013, the five-day course is taught by award-winning cinematographers and is designed for cinematographers with an intermediate-to-advanced skill set. It incorporates practical, hands-on demonstrations of lighting and camera techniques with essential instruction in current workflow practices.

In addition to the Master Class, other efforts of the organization include its Student Heritage Awards, Breakfast Club seminars, panel discussions by the Education and Outreach committee, the Friends of the ASC membership, and the ongoing committee collaborations with other industry participants vital to the image-making process. Possibly the most notable is the ASC Technology Committee, which has proven unique in its ability to shape the standards and practices of cinematography for digital workflows

Van Oostrum has earned two Primetime Emmy nominations for his work on the telefilms Miss Rose White and Return to Lonesome Dove. His peers chose the latter for a 1994 ASC Outstanding Achievement Award. Additional ASC Award nominations for his television credits came for The Burden of Proof, Medusa’s Child and Spartacus. He also shot the Emmy-winning documentary The Last Chance. Currently, he serves as director of photography on The Fosters which airs on Freeform.

Van Oostrum studied at the Dutch Film Academy with an emphasis on both cinematography and directing, and went on to earn a scholarship sponsored by the Dutch government which enabled him to enroll in the American Film Institute (AFI). Van Oostrum broke into the industry shooting television documentaries for several years. He has subsequently compiled a wide range of some 80-plus credits, including movies for television and the cinema, such as Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, and occasional documentaries.

Shortly after this news, we reached out to Van Oostrum with a couple of questions:

As a cinematographer yourself, what does it mean to you to now be president of the organization?
As ASC president I need to listen to and guide the membership in making decisions on key issues that impact all cinematographers in our international industry. In researching and addressing those issues, I plan to lead the process in a civilized and transparent way. Hopefully, those efforts will result in a greater understanding of what cinematographers do, why our work is so important to every production, and how we can help all of our collaborators excel — ideally, while helping the entire industry move forward, both technically and artistically.

You are already a big believer in educational initiatives, such as the ASC Master Class. What’s next?
Education is the strength of our future, and it’s the foundation for keeping cinematography both relevant and progressive as a creative craft. I consider us first and foremost to be visual artists and managers of a team. We need to stay up to date on imaging technologies and techniques. No one knows everything, but the ASC is supportive in providing an endless stream of knowledge to our members, to peers and to students.

What do you hope to accomplish in this role over the next year?
I would like cinematographers to feel like “Rembrandt” again. Our profession, like others in the filmmaking industry, has been democratized by technology. Cinematographers do much more than just “seeing”— we tell stories and we can create memorable images that evoke emotion.

In the end, every artist is edited. Rembrandt’s “Nightwatch” had the sides chopped off because it did not fit between two doors, but when you enter the exhibition room to see it, you become momentarily breathless — the world around you disappears, and you leave the room a different person. That’s the “Rembrandt” business, and that’s what we do as cinematographers.

New large-format digital camera from Panavision

Panavision will be showing three working prototypes and a demo reel of its new Millennium DXL large-format digital camera at this weekend’s Cine Gear Expo in Los Angeles. Three companies came together to share their technology in the creation of the DXL — Panavision supplied large format optics and modular accessories, Red Digital Cinema brought an 8K sensor, and a new color science and optimized workflow came from Light Iron. They are clear that this isn’t just a “Panavised” Red camera. The sensor is a Red sensor, but the body is all Panavision.

While at Cine Gear, Panavision will be collecting feedback from the community, and that will continue through the development process. For those of you not on the West Coast, keep an eye out for shows on the East Coast and internationally this fall.

According to Kim Snyder, president/CEO of Panavision, DXL is offered in response to heightened demand for large-format cinematography. “Our fleet of large format and anamorphic lenses has been extremely popular in this resurgence of large format capture, and with the Millennium DXL, cinematographers now can capture more than 20 megapixels of true 4K anamorphic pictures.”

At the core of DXL is a proprietary image mapping process called Light Iron Color, which provides a cinematic look directly out of the camera. The camera body was designed with ergonomics and temperature management in mind: its mid-size form factor is extra lightweight, yet allows for an airflow system that dissipates heat quietly. DXL also has built-in, crew-friendly, modular accessories to improve versatility and quick changeovers during production.

“Our streamlined workflow includes simultaneous recording of 4K proxy files — ProRes or DNx —alongside the 8K RAW files,” explains Michael Cioni, DXL product director and president of Light Iron, a Panavision company. “This creates a direct-to-edit workflow with the NLE of your choice. Using efficient SSD media, the cost of capturing 8K files with DXL is more economical than using third-party recorders on lower resolution cameras. Light Iron Color and our Panavised Outpost Systems provide a workflow for DXL that can be easily adopted for shooting large format photography.”

Cioni says that cinematographers will notice how 8K acquisition creates images that are smoother, not sharper. “With a full frame 35-megapixel imager, DXL provides a super-sampled image, much like large format still photography, so that its smoothness is retained whether you finish in 4K, 2K, or HD.”

The Millennium DXL will be rented exclusively through Panavision and will be available in early 2017.

G-Tech 6-15

NAB: Codex Production Suite 4.5 for ingest to post, VR camera rig

At NAB 2016 in Las Vegas, Codex introduced its Codex Production Suite 4.5, an all-in-one software package allowing the color grading, review, metadata management, transcoding, QC and archiving of media generated by the most widely used digital cinema cameras. Codex Production Suite 4.5 provides one workflow for multiple types of cameras — from Arri Alexa 65 to GoPro — from ingest to post.

Codex Production Suite is available on a variety of platforms, including Mac Pro and MacBook Pro as well as Codex’s own hardware: the S-Series and XL-Series Vault. Codex worked closely with their customers on this product, DITs in particular, providing them the tools they need to deliver color-accurate, on-set or near-set dailies and to securely archive camera-original material in one workflow.

The new features of Codex Production Suite 4.5 include non-destructive, CDL-based color grading, enabling the creation, modification and safe communication of looks from on set to editorial and the final DI color session, and import and processing of externally-created CDLs/LUTs, so looks can be applied overall or shot-by-shot. Looks can be baked into editorial dailies or appended in the metadata of deliverables, and dailies can be viewed as intended by the DP.There is seamless integration with Codex Live for a consistent color pipeline from camera through to deliverables and beyond, and also with Tangent panels for grading purposes. There is a full, end-to-end ACES-compliant color pipeline; audio sync toolset, enabling the import of WAV files, playback of shots in a proxy window. Finally, there is synchronization of audio files to shots, based on timecode.

Codex has also introduced a new pricing model: customers can purchase the software only, buy Codex Dock (Thunderbolt) with free software, and gain access to Codex’s workflow and technical support, with free upgrades, through Codex Connect.

Virtual Reality Camera Rig
Also on the Codex booth at NAB was a pretty cool VR camera rig built by LA-based Radiant Images, using 17 Codex Action Cams. Codex Action Cam is a tiny camera head shooting up to 60fps. It uses a 2/3-inch single-chip sensor, with a global shutter, capturing 12-bit RAW, 1920×1080 HD images, at a dynamic range of 11-stops. The camera head connects to the Codex Camera Control Recorder, and is capable of recording two HD streams via a coax cable of up to 50m.

“We quickly realized that Codex Action Cam could help us get to the absolute sweet spot in the equation of making a new, cinematic VR system,” says Radiant Images co-founder Michael Mansouri. “As it captures 12-bit uncompressed RAW, it has the necessary resolution, dynamic range and pixels-per-degree for future-proof VR, and the images are very clean. It has global shutter control too, and the cameras can be genlocked together. Out of all of the lenses we tested, we liked the Kowa 5mm PL Mount. This lens combination with the Codex Action Cam sensor is equivalent to a 14mm in Super 35mm. Although you cannot immediately fit filters, we quickly machined fittings to take ND and other filters. There were few compromises or limitations.”

The final design of the Headcase Cinema Quality VR 360 Rig was made by Radiant’s director of engineering, Sinclair Fleming. It was an iterative process, taking 27 revisions. The result uses 17 Codex Action Cams, in a spherical array, for 360-degree recording with nine recorders. The camera head measures 13 inches wide and 15 inches high, weighing 16 pounds.


Lytro camera allows capture of massive light field data on all frames

Imagine if your camera could capture the entire light field of a scene in 3D, turning every frame into a three-dimensional model? That is the idea behind the Lytro Cinema system, which uses Light Field technology to capture massive amounts of information per frame, allowing you to control the depth of field, hence, creating more flexibility in post. Oh, and it captures 300 frames per second, adding a level of speed control, including adjustable motion blur, that was previously limited to the live-action process.

In a video released by the company, Brendan Bevensee, lead engineer for Light Field Cideo/Lytro, said Light Field cinematography allows “the ability to capture everything about a scene — from different perspectives,different focal planes and different apertures. Every pixel now has color properties and directional properties, as well as exact placement in 3D space. Essentially we have a virtual camera that can be controlled in post production.”

Lytro says their capture system enables “the complete virtualization of the live-action camera —transforming creative camera controls from fixed, on-set decisions to computational post processes.”

In the aforementioned video, the head of Light Field Video/Lytro Jon Karafin said, “Lytro Cinema offers an infinite ability to focus anywhere in your scene. You have the infinite ability to focus and create any aperture or any depth of field. You can shift your camera to the left or to the right, as if you made that exact decision on set. It can even move your camera in and out. Automated camera tracking removes that tedious task of integration and matching. It has all of the volume, all of that depth information that easily allows you to composite and matte your CG objects. With Depth Screen it’s as if you have a greenscreen for every object, but it’s not limited to any one object, it’s anywhere in space.”

The rich dataset captured by the system produces a Light Field master that can be rendered in any format in post, allowing for a range of creative possibilities. The Light Field Master enables creators to render content in multiple formats —including IMAX, RealD and traditional cinema and broadcast at variable frame rates and shutter angles.

“Lytro has always been a company thinking about what the future of imaging will be,” said Ted Schilowitz, futurist at Fox Studios. “There are a lot of companies that have been applying new technologies and finding better ways to create cinematic content, and they are all looking for better ways and better tools to achieve live-action, highly immersive content. Lytro is focusing on getting a much bigger, better and more sophisticated cinematography-level dataset that can then flow through the VFX pipeline and modernize that world.”

Lytro Cinema offers:
— A sensor that offers 755 RAW megapixels at up to 300fps.
—Up to 16 stops of dynamic range and wide color gamut.
—Integrated high-resolution active scanning.

The Lytro Cinema package includes a camera, a server array for storage and processing — which can also be done in the cloud — and software to edit Light Field data. The entire system integrates into existing production and post workflows, working in tandem with popular industry standard tools.

Life the first short produced with Lytro Cinema in association with The Virtual Reality Company (VRC) will premiere at NAB on April 19 at 4pm PST in Room S222. Life was directed by Academy Award-winner Robert Stromberg, CCO at VRC (The Virtual Reality Company), and shot by David Stump, ASC, chief imaging scientist at VRC.

Senior finishing artist at Light Iron New York Katie Hinsen sees the possibilities. “The coolest thing about Lytro’s tech is that it captures the whole light field coming in to it, rather than a flat representation of the scene. So you can change focus in post, where you could pull stuff out that isn’t there. Basically, once you take a picture it’s still alive. Imagine you take a photo (or a video, now), and it’s got issues. With Lytro you’re capturing all the light information of the scene, not the image. So it’s all there and you can change it.”

Lytro Cinema will be available for production in Q3 of 2016 to exclusive partners on a subscription basis.


Quick Chat: DP Dejan Georgevich, ASC

By Randi Altman

Long-time cinematographer Dejan Georgevich, ASC, has been working in television, feature film production and commercials for over 35 years. In addition to being on set, Georgevich regularly shares his experience and wisdom as a professor of advanced cinematography at New York’s School of Visual Arts.

Georgevich’s TV credits include the series Mercy, Cupid, Hope & Faith, The Book of Daniel and The Education of Max Bickford. In the world of documentaries, he has worked on HBO’s Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World, PBS’ A Wayfarer’s Journey: Listening to Mahler and The Perfumed Road.

One of his most recent projects was as DP on Once in a Lifetime, a 30-minute television pilot about two New Jersey rockers trying to make it in the music business. The show’s musical roots are real — Once in a Lifetime was written by Iron Maiden’s bass player and songwriter, Stephen Harris.

Georgevich, who was in Australia on a job, was kind enough to use some of his down time to answer our questions about shooting, lighting, inspiration and more. Enjoy…

How did you decide TV production and cinematography, in particular, would be your path?
Perhaps it all started when I hauled around a Bell & Howell projector half my size in elementary school, showing films to an assembly of kids transfixed to a giant screen. Working on the stage crew in middle school revealed to me that I was “a fish to water” when it came to lighting.

You work on a variety of projects. How does your process change, if at all, going from a TV spot to a TV series to a documentary, etc.?
Each genre informs the other and has made me a better storyteller. For example, my work in documentaries demands being sensitive to anticipating and capturing the moment. The same skills translate perfectly when shooting dramas, which require making the best choices that visually express the idea, mood and emotion of a scene.

How do you decide what is the right camera for each job? Or do you have a favorite that you use again and again?
I choose a camera that offers the widest dynamic range, renders lovely skin tones, a natural color palette, and is user-friendly and ergonomic in handling. My camera choice will also be influenced by whether the end result will be projected theatrically on a big or small screen.

Once in a Lifetime

You used the Panasonic Varicam 35 on the TV pilot Once in a Lifetime. Why was this the right camera for this project, and was most of the shooting outdoors?
Once in a Lifetime was an independently financed TV pilot, on a tight schedule and budget, requiring a considerable amount of shooting in low-light conditions. This production demanded speed and a limited lighting package because we were shooting on-location night interiors/exteriors, including nightclubs, rooftops, narrow tenement apartments and dimly-lit city streets. Panasonic Varicam 35’s dual ISO of 800 and 5000 provided unbelievable image capture in low-light conditions, rendering rich blacks with no noise!

What were some of the challenges of this project? Since it was a pilot, you were setting a tone for the entire series. How did you go about doing that?
The biggest challenge for me was to “re-educate my eye” working with the Panasonic Varicam 35, which sees more than what my eye sees, especially in darkness. To my eye, a scene would look considerably under-lit at times, but surpringly the picture on the monitor looked organic and well motivated. I was able to light predominately with LEDs and low-wattage lights augmenting the practicals or, in the case of the rooftop, the Manhattan night skyline. House power and/or portable put-put generators were all that was necessary to power the lights.

The pilot’s tone, or look, was achieved using the combination of wide-angle lenses and high-contrast lighting, not only with light and shadow but with evocative primary and secondary colors. This is a comedic story about two young rockers wanting to make it in the music business and their chance meeting with a rock ’n’ roll legend offering that real possibility of fulfilling their dreams.

How did you work with the DIT on this project, and on projects in general?
I always prefer and request a DIT on my projects. I see my role as the “guardian of the image,” and having a DIT helps preserve my original intent in creating the look of the show. In other words, with the help of my DIT, I like to control the look as much as possible in-camera during production. I was very fortunate to have Dave Satin as my DIT on the pilot — we have worked together for many years — and it’s very much like a visual  pitcher/catcher-type of creative relationship. What’s more, he’s my second set of eyes and technical insurance against any potential digital disaster.

Can you talk about lighting? If you could share one bit of wisdom about lighting, what would it be?
As with anything to do with the arts, I believe that lighting should be seamless. Don’t wear it on your sleeve. Keep it simple… less is best! Direction of light is important as it best describes a story’s soul and character.

What about working with colorists after the shoot. Do you do much of that?
As a DP, I believe it’s critically important that we are active participants in post color correction. I enjoy outstanding collaborations with some of the top colorists in the business. In order to preserve the original intent of our image we, as directors of photography, must be the guiding hand through all phases of the workflow. Today, with the advent of digital image capture, the cinematographer must battle against too many entities that threaten to change our images into something other than what was originally intended.

What inspires you? Fine art? Photography?
I make it a point to get my “creative fix” by visiting art museums as often as possible. I’m inspired by the works of the Grand Master painters and photographers — the works of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Caravaggio, Georges de la Tour, Edward Hooper, Henri Cartier Bresson, William Eggelston — too many to name!  Recreating the world through light and perspective is magical and a necessary reminder of what makes us alive!

What haven’t I asked that you feel is important to talk about?
We’re currently experiencing a digital revolution that is being matched by an emerging revolution in lighting (i.e. LED technology). The tools will always change, but it’s our craft reflecting the heart and mind that remains constant and so important.

NAB 1/17

Shooting Creatively: Red Bull, BMX and the Silverdome

By Alex Horner

I’m a director/DP based out of Minneapolis with seven years of experience in commercials and branded content under my belt. I seek to find untold stories in the least expected places. While some prefer to have every bit of their shoot follow a specific path on location, I welcome the challenge of unfamiliar places, different ideas and variable scenarios.

Such was the case with Red Bull at the abandoned Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan at the end of last year. I created a video featuring 19-year-old BMX rider Tyler Fernengel that has received close to five million views on YouTube to date.

I’ve shot a variety of projects with Red Bull over the years. This time, Ryan Taylor and I were approached to co-direct a video that would bring life back into the abandoned Silverdome with BMX — and we had the creative freedom to tell the story the way we wanted.

Action sports can be challenging to shoot because nothing is guaranteed. The rider may be having an off week, or they could get injured during filming. There’s only so much that we can control and plan for, including the weather.

We had four days to shoot the Silverdome spot, and we had to be careful about how we did it. Most of the set-ups were physically taxing for Tyler, and we could only film two or three of them in a day. It wasn’t worth pushing him to land a trick on the first day if it meant he would sustain an injury that would effect the rest of the shoot. He was having trouble with his ankle to begin with, but he powered through it. To top it all off, the temperature was in the low 40s, which added to the challenge.

Say you’re an athlete, and you’re supposed to perform a trick on command. If it’s particularly risky or dangerous, you’re probably going to feel the most confident at the first sign of an adrenaline rush. Our shoot relied on harnessing these moments with Tyler to make sure we were getting the best shots. He was patient when we needed more time to set up, even if his mind was telling him to go.

A lot of the set-ups were elaborate and technical. There was no room for error, which can be stressful for an athlete, especially when the camera is rolling. But with Tyler we were able to pull off a series of incredible shots. He’s the most professional athlete I’ve worked with.

Since the Silverdome doesn’t have elevators, we needed to be as light and nimble as possible. Our small crew consisted of the build team (ramps), producer, assistant camera, sound, gaffer, grip, drone operator, Ryan and myself. We had a golf cart on hand to shuffle gear to different sections of the stadium.

The Shoot
The Red Epic and Scarlet Dragon with Nikon primes and zooms fit the bill for this shoot. And, since YouTube supports 4K resolution, we had reason to finish in 4K. The Scarlet was our dedicated Movi M15 cam, which spared us from having to accommodate the 30 to 45 minutes required to switch cameras. The Trost slider was also a must-have. With that, we pulled off shots that would have otherwise involved a jib arm or a dolly.

We squeaked by with lights running off Honda putt putts: the Arri 1.2 HMI, Joker 800 with octabox and 1×1 LEDs. We were able to use natural lighting for most of our shots, except for the stairwell section, which was completely dark. We had a Sprinter van onsite for various grip needs, too.

I bring the Trost Motion slider to just about every shoot. Seventy-five percent of the time, it’s on a dolly with the Mitchell plate – usually a Super PeeWee III or a Fisher 10-11. I use it for slider moves, but also to reposition the camera quickly and easily. Instead of moving the dolly, I can slide the camera left or right with a simple adjustment. It’s especially handy if I’m shooting on a tabletop, when the camera needs to move half an inch to the left or the right.

Something like that can be tricky to execute on the dolly, but not with this slider. I also use it as an offset arm to shoot overheads, and through car windows — all while still being able to reposition the camera. It’s all the more useful because it has a variety of uses other than a slider.

My Red Epic Dragon weighs around 20 to 25 pounds once I have it built, but the slider handles it with ease and allows for smooth adjustments with zero play in the sled. While the Trost Motion can be on the heavier side for travel, I strap it to my F-Stop bag when hiking in remote locations. With a set of carbon Manfrotto sticks, head, a 100mm half ball, and a monopod for support, I can use it anywhere. It sets up in five minutes.

The Post
We worked on MacBook Pros running Adobe Premiere and edited natively with the R3Ds. We finished the film in 4K for YouTube. To save time on the back end, we came up with a look in-camera. When it came time for color, there wasn’t a whole lot left we needed to do other than balance the images out.

I like working on a MacBook Pro due to its mobility, and find that working outside of the office helps with creativity in the edit. Between the MacBook Pro and 5K iMac, the two machines offer everything I need when it comes to editing.

Chase Brandau and Nick Mihalevich handled all of the sound design. Sound was a huge part of the film, due to the haunting sounds of the Silverdome. The howling of wind through the halls, shifting HVAC vents, dripping water, etc.

Without sugar coating it, the Silverdome shoot was a grueling four days in tough conditions. But when you have the right gear and it all works perfectly — cameras, sliders, lighting and a solid crew — you end up with an awesome story to share. It’s all worth it.

Alex Horner is a director and DP at Minneapolis-based Horner Pictures.

NAB 1/17

‘Beasts of No Nation’, ‘Macbeth,’ ‘Son of Saul’ nominated for ASC Spotlight

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has nominated three cinematographers for the 2016 Spotlight Award, which recognizes outstanding cinematography in feature-length projects that are screened at festivals, internationally or in limited theatrical release. The winner will be announced at the 30th ASC Awards on February 14.

The 2016 nominees are Adam Arkapaw for Macbeth, Mátyás Erdély, HSC, for Son of Saul and Cary Joji Fukunaga (our main image) for Beasts of No Nation.

Adam Arkapaw on Macbeth

“Our panel had a wealth of material to choose from and worked very hard to determine the best in visual artistry and craftsmanship in this category,” said ASC President Richard Crudo.

For the Spotlight Award, ASC members submit entries for consideration that go before a Blue Ribbon panel that choose the nominees. All active members may vote to select the winner.
“Each nominated film evokes intense emotions through its cinematography,” said Daryn Okada, chairman of the ASC Awards. “Their commitment to the visual narrative of their stories and characters are an integral part of the cinematic experience.”

Macbeth, directed by Justin Kurzel, premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It’s been recognized by critics, festivals and industry organizations worldwide.

son of saul

Mátyás Erdély, HSC, was nominated for Son of Saul.

Son of Saul from director László Nemes won the Grand Prize of the Jury Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to win the Bronze Frog at Camerimage, the international film festival of cinematography. It also won a Golden Globe and has been recognized by several critics and organizations

Beasts of No Nation, also directed by Fukunaga, premiered at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. It was the first feature film produced by Netflix, which received a limited theatrical release in addition to streaming on Netflix simultaneously. Beasts of No Nation has received Golden Globe, BAFTA and Spirit Award nominations, among other accolades.

Last year, Peter Flickenberg won the Spotlight Award for director Pirjo Honkasalo’s Concrete Night (Betoniyö).

 


The 88th Academy Award noms; ‘The Revenant’ leads way

The 88th Academy Award nominations are out and, as expected, The Revenant is well represented, garnering 12 nods. George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road follows with 10, and The Martian received seven. While Star Wars didn’t appear in any of the above-the-line categories, it did get recognized for its technical achievement with noms for Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.

The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. See below for a complete list of nominees, check out our links to coverage of the nominated films and talent, and good luck in those office Oscar pools!

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JVC upgrades 4KCAM line of camcorders

JVC Pro has made upgrades to its 4KCAM camera line, which targets filmmaking and digital production applications. The JVC 4KCAM family of camcorders encompasses the GY-LS300, GY-HM200 and GY-HM170.

Variable scan mapping technology in the GY-LS300 adapts the camera’s Super 35 CMOS sensor to provide native support of MFT, PL and EF mount lenses, among others. The technology also drives the new “prime zoom” feature, which allows shooters using fixed-focal (prime) lenses to zoom in and out — without losing resolution or depth of field — using the camera’s hand grip zoom rocker. Prime zoom can also be used as a lens extender for zoom lenses.

The GY-LS300’s new “JVC log” gamma setting expands dynamic range by 800 percent for increased flexibility during the color grading process and greatly enhanced image details. Other new recording modes include cinema 4K (4096×2180) and cinema 2K (2048×1080), which offer a 17:9 aspect ratio for digital cinema presentations.

All 4KCAM camcorders feature a new 70Mbps recording mode for recordinGY-HM200-LCDg 4K footage on economical class 10 SDHC/SDXC memory cards. Plus, every model includes dual XLR audio inputs, integrated handle with hot shoe and dedicated microphone mount, and LCD display and color viewfinder.

In addition to the upgrades that are available now, a new slow-motion 120 fps HD recording mode will be added to the GY-HM200 and GY-HM170 models via a free firmware upgrade in December.

Both the GY-LS300 and GY-HM200 include a built-in HD streaming engine with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity. With support for various streaming protocols, the cameras can stream directly from various content delivery networks and websites. The GY-HM170 features a built-in 12x zoom lens (24x dynamic zoom in HD mode) with optical image stabilizer, as well as comprehensive video profile settings and wired remote control capability.

FotoKem colorist Walter Volpatto discusses his process, ‘Stonewall’

FotoKem colorist Walter Volpatto comes from a family of farmers in Italy. He studied electrical engineering at the local university, which gave him an entrée into broadcasting. He began his career at RAI (Italy’s national public broadcasting company), where he became proficient with electronic compositing, lighting and photography. Around 2000, as more computers came to market, he segued into digital mastering, learning the craft with the help of film color timers.

Volpatto then transitioned to Cinecitta Studios about 10 years later, and subsequently became a freelance colorist. After working in that role on a documentary for FotoKem (@fotokem), Volpatto joined the facility in 2003. His credits include many features, such as Interstellar, San Andreas, CBGB, Chronicle and Hustle & Flow, along with some TV movie and restoration projects. His most recent project is the film Stonewall, about the 1969 Stonewall riots, which kicked off the gay rights movement in New York City.

Volpatto SMALL

A photographer himself, Volpatto says he is particularly attracted to the artists of the Renaissance, and the purest form of art. He claims his best work is influenced by art representing reality. Let’s find out more.

How has the state of the art of DI technology changed over the course of your career? 

Computing power has advanced exponentially over the years, making it easier to review footage and make changes in realtime versus waiting for files to render. But machines are simply tools. The color science and approaches we use today have pretty much stayed the same — other than slightly different strategies that support digital and film projects. The bottom line is I can certainly work faster with the new tools, but the concept behind the DI hasn’t really changed.

How did you work and communicate with director Roland Emmerich and/or DP Markus Förderer regarding their vision for the look of Stonewall? What did those discussions reveal in terms of the direction you would take? 

I worked with Markus about 99 percent of the time. He and Roland had a bold vision for the movie, and they were very much in sync on the look they wanted. When they approached us about the project, I asked Markus some standard questions about the camera and his intent for the look, and we immediately started talking about film. Even though he wanted to use a digital camera, it was obvious he wanted the final product to look like film. That resonated with me, and we further explored what his thoughts were about grain structure and film emulation. We did a test, and he loved the results. 

We also looked at a few images in a photo library he kept on his computer.

Markus is a technical connoisseur. He knew from the beginning where he was going with the look. After showing me a few photos, the main visual theme for Stonewall — a 1970s filmic look — transpired" STONEWALL " Photo by Philippe Bosse. We basically changed grain to emphasize a look that reflects the warm highlights and cool-ish lowlights of film, without feeling artificial.

At FotoKem, we have a team of experts overseen by our in-house color scientist Joseph Slomka, who spends a lot of time engineering solutions so that digital cameras look like film stocks. Joseph assisted us on this project, so when we started, we were on the right path and just had to fine tune along the way. Markus is also a big fan of anamorphic lenses, using the full anamorphic format on the Red Epic Dragon at 4K. And we finished the entire movie at 4K.

Have you previously worked with either of the filmmakers?
This was a first-time collaboration. They came to FotoKem because they wanted the convenience of finishing in Los Angeles. They saw my resume and that I had experience with film projects in the DI, and, as they say, the rest is history.

Stonewall is the story of an incredibly important event in history, highly charged politically and emotionally — were certain visual elements relied on to create certain moods in a scene or to convey the mood of a character?
I was not familiar with the Stonewall riots until this project came in. We established a certain look that becomes a little harsher when the riots ensue, and it’s a little smoother when happier events are taking place. It’s very subtle – not something you can see but rather feel. The tension in the movie wasn’t meant to be overpowering.

What tools were you working with? How did it help to enable your work?

We chose a Quantel Rio because we needed to finish in full 4K with full film emulation with grain layers, and at the time it was the best color correction tool for accomplishing this in realtime.

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You mention the movie was shot on Red Epic Dragon. Did that affect how you worked or approached coloring scenes?
Markus was familiar with Red and knew how to light for the camera. On Stonewall, he exposed and lit to create some texture. With that strong visual foundation created by Markus’ photography, we were able to focus on the task at hand — to fine-tune the images in order to create the film look he and Roland wanted.

A colorist works at the intersection of art and science. How do you translate what a cinematographer says into pictures?

The first thing I do is get an understanding from the DP about his or her digital experience. DPs who have worked more heavily in the film format will be able to make reference points from using printer lights and being in a lab. They have a way to express what they want.

The process is scientific in that there is only so much a colorist can do to bring the original material where they want it, and the artistry lies within how much further the DP wants to go with it. The work in the suite can become almost visceral. It’s usually expressed as a feeling — I want it to feel this way — and then I decide which tool will best accomplish that. I don’t rely heavily on controls and buttons. I’m a minimalist and bring that predisposition to the suite.

How do you know when you have gotten to where you want to be, and where the filmmakers want to be?
When the material comes to me in great shape, with good lighting and captured as close as possible to the intentions of the filmmakers, my job is to not mess it up!

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a colorist?

There are two approaches to color. You can use color to represent reality or emotions, or a blend of the two. For colorists inclined to being a realist, I’d tell them to learn how to represent that within the limits of their display. They should start in black and white — or work on a black and white short film. With the influx of a younger generation of colorists, I’ve noticed they are prone to using color to represent emotions, and they tend to make strong color choices. 

I’d recommend to anyone who wants to be a colorist to look at what other people do and understand how light works, and how the camera and display (monitor) react to light. Then they should practice achieving a particular look with the minimum amount of tools. There are many fabulous places where colorists can learn the craft, but to be proficient a basic understanding of color science will go a long way. 

Lastly, it’s the colorist’s job to bring the vision of the DP to the screen — not just to make a pretty picture. To do that, you need to learn to understand what’s inside the mind of the artist.

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Stonewall is in theaters now.