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James Thompson

James Thompson

Wednesday, 03 August 2011 10:23

Capturing 3D Storm Footage

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Choosing a profession is a decision we all have to make at some point in our adult life. For Martin Lisius, the choice was easy. He became a cinematographer and producer of programming that covers severe weather, including thunderstorms, stormy seas, blizzards and chasing the mother of all natural disasters: tornados. And after shooting these events, he sells the footage to production companies where it can be used in their film projects.

Friday, 29 April 2011 21:19

Sundance 2011

sundance_sfw_4The incredible winter setting of Park City, Utah was the perfect backdrop for Sundance 2011, a gathering of independent filmmakers representing the global film market. Through filmmaker sessions, hosted events, social gatherings, premieres and screenings, these artists shared stories about their journey to create their best ─ and often first ─ film. A variety of independent films made their mark, as buyers and sellers put deals together throughout the 10-day event.
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 20:41

Capturing Sundance

Several years ago Barber Tech Owner Eddie Barber pitched me on the “Steddiepod,” a device he labeled as “The World’s Most Versatile Camera Support System.” But I saw a problem in that cameras at that time were big and bulky while the Steddiepod system was developed for smaller camera packages that weigh under 7 pounds and who would’ve thought you could shoot a major movie on such a small camera?

Now that many cameras are smaller and lighter, I thought the Steddiepod was worth a second look. With my Canon 5D in hand I recently headed up to the Sundance Film Festival with Barber Tech’s Steddiepod and a new WaCru DSLR Cage. I mounted the WaCru rig to the Steddiepod with a quick release so I could easily grab handheld shots. What an amazing setup!

The Steddiepod was developed long before its time and now Barber has since perfected this amazing camera support system. Not only was the entire system light enough to carry all over Sundance, the setup was quick and easy and helped me capture some amazing shots. For instance, the filmmakers’ reception held at the Sundance House was so packed that I couldn’t get near the podium. So I just extended the Steddiepod and supported it against my body to shoot over the crowd. It has a special balancing system that allowed me to get some great stabilized shots even when I was on the go. I also used it as a tripod and stabilizer to get steady shots of the crowd.

I later popped the WaCru rig off the Steddiepod and pushed my way through the crowd to get an interview with a filmmaker. And with the WaCru rig’s elegant design, I could easily attach my Litepanel Micro light and Rode microphone. This setup made it really easy to capture Sundance footage on the go and it saved me a lot of time while I got some fantastic shots.

The Barber Tech Steddiepod costs $499 and can be found at www.barbertvp.com; the WaCru DSLR Cage costs $239 and can be found at www.wacru.com.

 

 

 

Saturday, 15 January 2011 22:28

2011 CES: 3D, Paramount and Panasonic

The recent 2011 CES was filled with 3D opportunities. In fact, I ran into Paramount’s VP of Digital Mastering Bryan Ellenburg, who was there to scope out some 3D options. Impressed with Panasonic’s 3D camera solutions, he heard that they now offer 24p recording and wondered if the cameras would work well for 3D films like Jackass 3D, which used bulkier 3D-camera setups.

I later met with Jim Wickizer, marketing manager at Panasonic Solutions Company, who confirmed that the Panasonic just added 1080/24p production capabilities to the AK-HC1800, which delivers exceptional HD video with its 2/3-inch 2.2-megapixel 3-CCD camera. The company had two camera setups on the show floor. The AK-HC1800 has come a long way and was primarily used for high-end broadcast events that are moving towards capturing 3D content. But, with the 1080/24p recording capabilities, Wickizer says this camera is now ideal for shooting projects that want a film look, such as episodic TV production, and it’s ideal for working on location.

Wickizer also demonstrated Panasonic’s AV-HS450N multi-format switcher, which now offers 3D stereoscopic production capabilities. The company added a new 3D board and software that transformed the AV-HS450N HD/SD switcher into a powerful live 3D stereoscopic switcher. Wickizer noted that producers are becoming cost conscious and Panasonic is developing 3D cost-effective tools to help them get exceptional quality for less. The Panasonic booth also had several 3D production monitors to showcase a complete 3D solutions package for broadcasters. Wickizer added that Panasonic will be coming out with some new content-capturing solutions for NAB 2011, but he wouldn’t let those cats out of the bag (no matter how hard I tried to bribe him). I guess we’ll just have to wait a few months until NAB to see the goods.

Monday, 30 January 2012 06:00

AFCI Cineposium 2011

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The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) held their prestigious Cineposium in Enghien-les-Bains, an enchanting city just north of Paris in the Val d’Oise region of Ile de France. With a long history of filmmaking; great cultural and economic support for productions of all kinds; and world-famous film festivals and markets; Paris was the ideal setting for Cineposium 2011.

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