Gradient Productions

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Posts tagged Cinematography

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Innovating with the iPad

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." ~Steve Jobs

The world of production is an ever-changing environment.

In a constant state of flux, the period between an “industry standard” practice and a “revolutionary” one is diminishing. As in the medical field, technological innovations rapidly shift the way we work.

Ethan Borden, Cinematographer & VP of Gradient, has found his workflow radically altered using the iPad:

"With the Movie Slate App, it makes us probably ten times faster in post-production. It does a shot log which I can send out with an HTML or as a Final Cut XML document, and saves time and keeps us more organized because we’re switching from paper to digital.

We also have a Wireless Monitor App which allows us to connect to a computer that has the camera plugged in. It lets us control the camera and look at what’s being seen through the lense with a live view. We’re also able to walk around wherever on set and look at what’s being shot on camera. We see whats being seen through the DSLR.

I use the iPad 2 for a lot of workflow stuff on other projects as well: websites, Facebook, uploading photos that I’ve just taken on set.”

"In Post we use it a lot for labeling footage. It’s easy to make notes on set and then have our editor be able to refer to those while he’s working. It keeps everything centralized so that there aren’t 5 pieces of paper flying around with separate notes."

Nathanael Sams has found his workflow in Post-Production streamlined as well:

"The Slate makes all the difference because we work with separate cameras and separate audio (Zoom H4N). What can be a daunting task of syncing up video and audio is a lot more feasible and automatic when you have a slate that beeps, because the program automatically syncs it up for you. That saves hours of time of manually going in and making sure it’s synced up."

We aren’t shy in expressing our love of Apple products, and the iPad is no exception. It has quickly become invaluable on set, off set, and within our workflow.

Filed under Gradient Productions Film Production Design Writing Photography Graphic Design How To Apple Cinematography Editing XML HTML Final Cut Pro Wireless Monitor DSLR Canon D60 Facebook Slate Zoom H4N Steve Jobs iPad 2

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Make It Happen

"I was directing before I knew it was called that." -Guillermo Del Toro

Rebecca Noles:

       ”I’ve been directing & producing since I was 10 years old and putting on Christmas pageants in the living room for my parents. I’ve learned a few things along the way and am offering them as advice to anyone interested or pursuing either field. I do, however, reserve the right to change this advice at any time in future blogs.

Directing

Directing is about need: What the script needs, what the crew needs, what the audience needs.

As a director, your only job is to acknowledge all the different needs within each department and guide them toward a finished product. Sometimes all the Director of Photography needs is to feel like he has permission to try something new. There are times an actor needs the director to take his/her eyes off the monitor and simply have a conversation with them. Sometimes an editor just needs you to get out of their way.

Acknowledge the need and work to fulfill it.

Producing 

Being a producer at a small production company can be categorized into three main jobs:

  1. Make sure people have what they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
  2. Make sure everyone knows where & when to show up.
  3. Make sure the cast & crew members eat, sleep, are groomed, and stay caffeinated.

Being a producer is about serving the people who make the project happen.”

Filed under Gradient Productions Film Graphic Design Directing Acting Producing Christmas Winter Cinematography How To Photography Guillermo Del Toro Rebecca Noles Writing Coffee Editor DP Advice Quote Snow Chair

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Directing/Writing/Sound:

My Week with Marilyn: No film in recent years has been able to capture the inner workings of a star as brilliantly as this film. Williams’ manages to capture the essence of the icon while simultaneously developing her own character. She deserves her nomination and could easily take the prize. It’s disappointing the film is not more represented at this years big night.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: This film was in fact extremely loud and incredibly close to being wonderful. It has Stephen Daldry’s overly dramatic style and lack of restraint all throughout. Under another director the film may have been able to reach it’s potential. That said, Tome Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Max von Sydow offer beautiful and heartfelt performances.

The Help: Flawless acting compliment a polished screenplay with moments both moving, and unforgettable. You’ll gain a new respect for Emma Stone as an actress, and see why Viola Davis more than deserves her Oscar nomination.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Not since Heath Ledger as The Joker has there been a performance so captivating as Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander. A thrilling, if dense, mystery with unmatched cinematography & editing, though the screenplay fails to capture the intensity of the novel’s end revelations.

Moneyball: The sound design was subtle and added a unique feel to the movie. Their use of silence created dramatic moments in which the audience could respond emotionally to the situation, especially when the drama was at it’s highest point.  Two Thumbs Up!

War Horse: The music was written by John Williams and you could tell without looking it up on IMDB.  It was as if he took the score from “The Patriot” and mixed it with the score of “Jurassic Park”.  In all honesty, the score just felt lazy.

Filed under Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close My Week with Marilyn The Help War Horse Moneyball The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Tom Hanks Michelle Williams Marilyn Monroe Emma Stone Viola Davis Brad Pitt Jeremy Irvine Rooney Mara Film Oscars 2012 Review Movie Cinematography

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Cinematography/Design/Production:

Hugo: Visually it delivered exactly as hoped. There is a theatrical quality to the design of the film that supports the whimsical storyline. The attention to detail and historically accurate information provided a lot of room for the production design to play with reality.

Midnight in Paris: It was surprising to see this nominated for “Art Direction”. Although the storyline was refreshing, the design of the film did not deliver – ultimately leaving you dissatisfied with flat, obvious design decisions that were nothing more than average.

Winnie the Pooh:You’ll love the simplicity of this movie, and how they stuck to the true nature of the original cartoon. From a Graphic Design perspective, the way they used & interacted with typography was also really interesting. Honestly why wasn’t this nominated?!

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: This was an incredibly stunning film; the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous, and each shot regardless of length was beautiful to look at. It should be every cinematographers goal to make something that pretty for the big screen.

The Descendants: A very satisfying movie, with every element of it done perfectly. The cinematography was simple but amazing and fit for what the movie was. The Director of Photography knew how to use restraint in order to drive the story forward.

Filed under Hugo Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Winnie the Pooh Midnight in Paris The Descendants Gary Oldman Chloe Grace Moretz Owen Wilson George Clooney Marion Cottilard Hawaii Paris Movie Film Oscar Oscar 2012 Nominations Best Picture Cinematography Gradient Productions

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Enjoyability:

The Artist: In the wrong hands this black & white, silent, and analogue film may have relied on its “artsy” attributes to get by, but it doesn’t. The “old style” film making moves the thoughtful plot and well rounded characters forward in a way that modern film techniques could not have done. A truly enjoyable film.

The Tree of Life: It was a really pretty movie, and actually certain shots looked straight out of National Geographic. But the story felt really disjointed, with random shots of random things placed sporadically. At one point, there’s dinosaurs…dinosaurs. It felt artsy on purpose. There are some truly beautiful interactions between the main family, but overall, it lacked focus.

Filed under movie Oscar Oscar 2012 Nominations Tree of Life film The Artist Best Picture cinematography production design graphic design art gradient productions