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Production

Shooting in the Winds of Cambodia

Cinematographer Melissa Holt has a passion for film and shooting both narrative and documentary projects. When she majored in biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Penn., Holt enjoyed watching nature documentaries from places like National Geographic, and that led to a desire to incorporate science into filmmaking. After a few elective courses, she fell in love with the filmmaking process, switched majors and later earned a Masters at AFI, where her thesis project was a documentary about leatherback sea turtles in Costa Rica.

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Expecting the Unexpected

Audio Specialist Scott Harber does a lot of work in scripted entertainment for both big and small screens alike, including the TV shows “Rescue 911” and “Desperate Housewives” and the upcoming feature 30 Minutes or Less for Columbia Pictures. But his real passion is for the documentary films that have taken him all over the world, such as Bill Maher’s Religulous and the Sacha Baron Cohen mockumentaries Borat and Brüno.

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Harber and his colleagues shot Cohen’s comedic films as documentaries, as Cohen and his director, Larry Charles, had specific story points in mind and felt that the films were in many ways 21st-century versions of the classic TV show “Candid Camera,” in which unsuspecting real people were sucked into absurd situations for laughs. “[Borat and Brüno] were docs,” says Harber. “It was me and two cameramen standing in a room with Sacha and whoever he was with.”

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A Breathtaking Ride with The Expendables

Spotlight_Expendables_04When you go to see The Expendables, make sure you’re in a movie theater with arm rests and don’t forget to hang on tight! The action-packed film is a breathtaking adventure directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, who also co-wrote the script. Also starring Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Eric Roberts and Bruce Willis, the film begins with six mercenaries led by Barney Ross (Stallone) who are on a mission to rescue hostages from a band of Somali pirates. Ross is a fearless warrior whose only emotional attachments are his pickup truck, seaplane and small band of fighting men. The role fits Stallone like a glove.

After the hostages are rescued, the mercenaries celebrate inside their down-and-dirty lair. When Mr. Church (Willis) offers to pay them to overthrow a dictator who rules a tropical island nation, the mercenaries are reluctant to take on what sounds like an impossible mission. But when Ross agrees, the men climb aboard his seaplane and follow their leader into battle. As they arrive on the island they meet Sandra, a freedom fighter Church has chosen to be their guide. Sandra guides the men through military strongholds and other strategic targets, but there’s a dramatic twist when she’s captured by the enemy. Ross and his gang are determined to rescue Sandra and complete their mission –– and that’s when the sparks begin to fly.

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DPs' Digital Diversification

There’s no question that digital technology has dramatically altered the world of the cinematographer, even when it’s still a film-based shoot. Digital technology not only includes actual cameras, it also extends to things like camera controls. This month, P3 Update takes a look at a group of products that take advantage of digital technology either directly or indirectly to make life easier for DPs and camera operators.

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Camera Companions

In recent years, the proliferation of new digital cameras has focused attention on resolution, workflow and image quality. While the RED, Vision Research Phantom, ARRI ALEXA and Canon 7D Mark II cameras all have their fans and uses, the advent of 3D stereoscopic moviemaking has upped the ante as filmmakers struggle to find the perfect cameras for the left/right-eye pair. Camera accessories — everything from lenses to 3D rigs — are the crucial gear components needed to support chosen cameras, and they can make the difference between a problem-plagued production and smooth sailing.

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