One of the first film cameras I ever laid eyes on and shot with was the Aaton LTR 7. I was interning at a production company and the director there mentioned he had just shot a feature on his LTR and I was interested in learning how to load it and eventually shoot with it. Towards the end of my time there I bought a roll of super16mm film and he taught me how to load the magazine and I got to shoot a roll of s16mm as a test.
I didn’t know back then, but I was holding the industry’s most ergonomic handheld camera. The Aaton s16mm series were adopted by the documentary and news shooters because of their ease of use. They naturally went out of fashion as 1/3″ and 2/3″ Digital Cameras became more affordable to shoot with.
Flash forward to today and the bevy of digital cameras on the market. Almost all of them are terrible for handheld right out of the gate. The Arri Alexa in my mind is the only well designer 35mm sensor digital camera that is workable for handheld work without any 3rd party accessories.
Sony and Panasonic have adopted the handi-cam model with their small 35mm sensor digital cameras. While their functionality and sensors are great, their ergonomics leave something to be desired. The Canon C300 did a slightly better job, which is currently my favorite handheld small 35mm sensor camera, but it’s still nothing like an Aaton LTR.
So this explains why I spent an hour searching the internet after I saw a picture of the GMBH Yolk Y2. This camera at first glance seems to be a digital Aaton XTR! The specs are at most speculation, I’ve heard things like 2K, 30fps, etc. But the amazing thing is the form factor. The “magazine” holds two solid state hard drives and I’d assume it has the option for an optical viewfinder with a real mechanical shutter.
I’m guessing this camera is only in the concept/design phase. I’ve seen it posted on a lot of Sold Works forums and design sites, but this is the most excited I’ve been for a camera since the Red One was announce. Pre-RED, the options were 35mm/s16mm, CineAlta, or 1/3″ Cameras with a Mini35mm lens adapter.
I hope to hear much more about this camera after NAB 2012 and in the near future.
Posted by mwadmin
Today I found an amazing set of photos from the TV show “Mad Men.” Several of them show some of the lighting setups and I remember reading in American Cinematographer that the DP lit the show and moved the camera like they would have in the time period that the show takes place. (I forget when that is, lol)
I see lots of Kinos as backlights and some Barger Bag-Lights, which are one of my favorite light sources to work with. Too bad they are Tungsten and probably won’t be available forever. :(
The photos remind me of the old school Magnum photography style. One of my favorite Coffee Table books is “Magnum Cinema.” The books features photos from the Magnum Agency’s golden age. It documents several photographers like Robert Capa shooting with David Seymour, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, etc.
The photos are all black and white and obviously shot on film. I’m assuming the film speeds back then were around the world of 50-100 ASA, so their shutters were somewhere like 1/30-1/60th, so most of the photos have a romantic softness.
Anyway, check the photos out.
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30' Super Scorpio Crane, 1st AC Rob Lau, DP Matt Workman
This week I shot a really fun music video for Victor Manuelle. Producer Julio Yurnet and director Steven Tapia pulled together an amazing production. I got to work with an amazing crew including rockstar AD Jonas Morales, Gaffer Rob McKenna, Key Grip/Crane-Op Rick Compeau, 1st AC Rob Lau, and their teams.
Although there is a ton of media coverage of this shoot already I’m not going to post any additional photos etc. that would give anything away. However, I will post photos of the really awesome 30′ Super Scorpio Crane and Scorpio Mini-head that we had on the shoot!
Crew (left to right): DP. Matt Workman, AD Jonas Morales, Director Steven Tapia, Key Grip Rick Compeau, Gaffer Rob McKenn
This was my first time using this telescoping-crane/remote-head combo and I was amazed at the intuitiveness and smooth shots we could accomplish. I operated the remote head which was like a regular Arri II gear head … on speed. After some practice communicating over the headset we were moving from 20′ over head to floor level and back in seconds.
My favorite part about the crane is that we can move the camera in a spontaneous way and find interesting angles and movements that would be very difficult if not impossible with a jimmy jib or traditional Fisher Dolly.
I’ll post the video when it comes out!
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I‘m very excited to introduce my new camera, the Canon C300 (EF Mount) that I’ve named “Ino.” She is Serial# 212 and one of the first batch in the US.
Every job is different. One day we might be on a beach shooting a music video with a steadicam where we need remote focus/iris/zoom. In this case, an Alexa and a PL Mount Optimo would be a great system. Another day we might be in a studio shooting a feature with heavy visual effects and slow motion. In this case, the resolution of the Red Epic and Zeiss Master Primes will hold up well in post and when projected. In these situations I’m very happy to rent and shoot with these systems.
The C300(EF mount), minimizes the time between conceiving a shot and executing it … for me”
However, lately I’ve been shooting a lot of doc-style commercials that are for TV and almost always for the web as well. Many times these shoots require travel to remote places (no rental houses) or erratic scheduling that makes renting more precarious for the producer. On these shoots we move quickly with a small crew and we typically have to turn the spots around quickly. This is where the C300 comes in for me.
The camera’s light weight and well designed ergonomics makes it fit in smaller locations and make it easier to operate handheld for extended periods. It performs very well in low light and I personally enjoy shooting with Canon L lenses. They have a wide range of focal lengths in primes, zooms, speciality (macro, tilt-shift, extreme telephoto, etc.) and most importantly they are small, lightweight, and fit into a backpack.
Here is a link to my new equipment page: EQUIPMENT
Posted by mwadmin
I’ve had a very productive 2012 so far and I’m grateful to have met and worked with so many new amazing and creative people. What strikes me about my most recent jobs is the variety of cameras and lenses that I’ve employed. Each job has been unique in it’s visual needs and it’s logistics on set. Because of the evolving environment in advertising and production (read: lower budgets, tighter schedules, and higher client expectations) choosing the right camera and lenses is a very important decision.
Visual FX / Documentary
Early this year I was brought on to shoot a documentary around NYC about a varied group of people. We filmed a professional skateboarder, an opera singer, a chef, a boxer etc. Each subject had a different environment and a required a different approach to film. All of the footage was handheld will later be the starting point for a team of VFX artists to add upon.
We shot this project with a Panavised Sony F3, a 5 set of Panavision Primo spherical lenses, and a Panavision lightweight zoom lens.
Panavised Sony F3 + Panavision Primos + Panavision LWZ
- The Sony F3 is a relatively small camera that is well suited for smaller practical locations
- The F3 shoots to SxS cards which provide long recording times and a very reliable media format
- Panavision lenses have a very cinematic look and are not as cumbersome as Zeiss Master Primes or Cooke S5is. They have nice flares as well.
On this job, we were in a studio and the camera never moved. We were shooting interviews that could be considered sensitive so we didn’t want to be waiting for the camera … ever. We also knew that a full color correct wasn’t planned at this point, so we wanted the best image right out of the camera. We were on a tripod the entire day.
We shot this project with a Canon C300 and Canon L Zoom lenses.
Canon C300 + Canon L Zoom Lenses
- The C300 has an amazing sensor for recording skin tones and a very capable in camera LUT
- It records to two CF slots which allowed us to hot swap cards and never break to reload during a take
- Canon L zooms keep the camera small and unobtrusive, which kept the talent from being intimidated
Rock Music Video / High Speed
Very recently I shot a rock music video on a white cyc. In addition to standard performances we recorded numerous vignettes that would be later combined in post. The most unique part of this project was the need to shoot most of the motion at 120 and 300 frames per second. We were on a dolly for most of the day.
We shot this project with a Red Epic and Red Pro Primes.
Red Epic + Red Pro Primes
- The images from the Epic look amazing
- The Epic shoots 5k at least up to 48fps, which is what we did for half of the video
- It can also shoot 120fps @ 4k and 300 fps @ 2k
- Red Pro Primes are sharp and most importantly fast lenses. With our budget it wasn’t worth renting more expensive primes lenses. Mostly because I wasn’t doing in camera flares or a ton of focus pulls
It can be overwhelming trying to balance all of the features, ergonomics, cost, and availability when choosing a system but I’m fortunate to have options at every budget level that create amazing imagery.
When these projects are released I’ll write more about them and the cameras.
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