If you like color . . .

The next big thing in video cameras is mono. The sensor development that have made the ARRI and RED cameras so marvelous is now working magic with monochrome. Nofilmschool.com has posted notes on the Arriflex Alexa XT that show it to be a very impressive instrument.

 . . . . . . .  Native 2000 ISO & Has 15 Stops of Dynamic Range

Let me add a clip of some of those specs;

  • Sensor Modes: 16:9, 14:3
  • Maximum number of sensor photo sites: 2880×2160
  • Exposure latitude (stops): 15
  • Base sensitivity (EI): 2000
  • White balance (fixed): 2000
  • Exposure Index (EI): 160 – 3200
  • Frame rate: 16:9: 0.75 – 120fps
  • Frame rate 4:3: 0.75 – 90fps
  • Sound level: < 19 db (A)
  • Electronic shutter angle (degrees): 5 – 358°
  • Weight: 8.7kg/19.2lbs
  • Electronic viewfinder: Yes
  • Optical viewfinder: No
  • In-camera recording to SxS PRO cards: No
  • In-camera recording to XR Capture Drives: Yes
  • In-camera recording to CFast 2.0 cards: No
  • ARRIRAW recording: In-camera

The notes on the ARRI mono camera follow notes on the RED EPIC-M monochrome camera. The headline stirs strong memories of Tri-X reversal film but the RED mono camera, like the ARRI, has a native ISO of 2000.

First RED EPIC-M Monochrome Footage Might Be the Beginning of a Black and White Resurgence

Just as ‘moving pictures’ did not mark an end to still photographs, color motion pictures do not necessarily obsolete black and white. I certainly hope that these new tools will make for some renewed interest in creating cinema in monochrome.


Albers on the iPad

nofilmschool.com’s V Renee Barden has come across a fascinating application available for the Apple iPad. If chroma is important to your creative product, how best to internalize the effective use of color than an interactive treatment of Josef Alber’s seminal text?

Interactive iPad App ‘Interaction of Color’

This is perhaps the definitive application to exploit the capabilities of Apple Retina display. I had been wondering if I would have been better getting an Asus or Samsung tablet. Maybe this will convince me that the Apple device can offer something unique.


Insight on The Act of Killing

Am I getting closer to being able to see this film? From nofilmschool.com comes some more details on the film that shows what happened on the ground after Mel Gibson makes it to the plane to leave in The Year of Living Dangerously.

Joshua Oppenheimer Talks About Why His Film is Important

Joshua Oppenheimer discusses the tactics involved in getting the film to screens in Indonesia and also how to, “light what was a very dark journey.”

The trailer and these interviews are also found at filmcourage.com;


This is the stuff from which nightmares arise and of which we are all capable.

4K . . . and another thing

Gamut. If you don’t have a background on the technical side of television this may be a new term for you. Think colorimetry.

We don’t have a full palette of red, green, and blue to mix when we create a color image. Gamut is the quality related to how much of the full color space we can truthfully represent without artifacts or distortion. The new 4K technology lets us carve out a bigger chunk of the color space.

For me the attractive feature in the 4K capable hardware is the enhanced dynamic range provided by the new sensors. This article from Dave Kendricksen, found at nofilmschool.com, would have us believe that the end of interlacing and an expanding gamut are the key features to be had in the new technology.

Sayonara Interlacing, Hello Wider Color Gamut


HFR – Frame Rates Revisited

So, maybe the BBC tech folks believe that higher frame rates will enhance the presentation in UHDTV as noted in the comments of Andrew Cotton. Dave Kendricksen, at nofilmschool.com, considers the results of audience response to the same material presented at 25 and 50 fps. There is no clear winner from this one and the title of his article might best summarize the conclusion, “Maybe it Depends.”

Matt Fannin has the site where the source material is available for your own assessment;

Frame Rates In Action

How far can we extend and enhance television or film technology before it becomes a new form? Are we really trying to work towards a presentation that is more “lifelike?” It might be time to do another read of Understanding Media, a book that came into being through funding from the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. Marshall McLuhan’s 1964 work is still in print.



Canon and moving images

I can recall dreaming of owning a Canon Scoopic back when I scraped money together to pay for film stock to put in my spring powered, non-reflex Bolex with its odd assortment of C mount lenses. I was pleased to see the name Canon pop up in the realm of motion pictures again for a product other than their lenses. David Heuring wrote about the Canon 5D in Digital Video magazine. The camera was cinematographer Sam Levy’s pick for shooting ‘Frances Ha.’ His black and white images are reminiscent of the French New Wave films. Heuring delves into cinema aesthetics in his discussion of making moving images with this DSLR.

Using the Canon 5D to Capture ‘Frances Ha’


Using the Canon 5D to Capture ‘Frances Ha’

Techniques Nonlinear Cinemapocalypse

The 1989 NAB saw the introduction of the Avid/1 and spawned the mildly confusing term nonlinear editing. The software that followed was to have its effect on film scholars who can now easily make temporal calculations of things like ASL – Average Shot Length. Once again, a great tidbit from the folks at nofilmschool.com. This is written by Justin Morrow who claims time on Steenbeck editing tables;

From Flatbed to Avid

Also from nofilmschool.com come these notes on the future of cinema distribution from a panel discussion at the USC School of Cinematic Arts last week. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made some comments that might be summed up as the big screen becoming a niche market. V Renee Barden is the author of this one;

Will Independent Film Survive?

It’s always a treat to find the mix of opinion and conjecture in the postings at nofilmschool.com.


The Next Big Thing

NewBay Media provided this quote in one of their email offerings;

“Something beyond HD might have no interlace, more resolution, finer pixels and these are all great. But what else is there? It has to deliver a new viewing experience. It has to be something consumers want to have… It also has to have improved motion portrayal and it has to have dynamic range. You are missing an evolutionary technical step if you don’t deliver that treat to the eyeballs.” – Chris Johns, BSkyB’s chief engineer/broadcast strategy

Advanced Television has Chris Forrester’s full article;

BSkyB: “Early days” for Ultra-HD

 Advanced Television looks to be a good site for following the implementation of 4K and above. We can shift towards central Europe and get this perspective;

Sky-D commits to Ultra-HDTV

I will still maintain that the definition at 1K is a great plenty for the home. The ‘next big thing’ need to exploit dynamic range to add the “treat to the eyeballs” that Chris Johns talks about;

It’s not tone, it’s texture