Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Focus on the Dolly

Today Al and I really were able to put our focus practice to the test by getting on the dolly and having another moving object (A frame and focus chart on a dolly), threw a 200mm lens on the camera and started to really test our skills.

It was pretty cool. To finally really feel how the lens work focally with movement. Feels great to hit that mark. Although right now my eyes are a little tired and I will sleep well tonight. It was great. Loved it. Al and I are keen to get more of these exercises in.

Our Day At Panavision

Allyn and I spend Monday afternoon with Andrew Collier from Panavision Australia, going over their gear in detail. While both of us are already familiar with the staff and some of the services there, Andrew really took us over things in detail and we were able to drill him with any questions.

I was truely in camera heaven. I had never seen so many Zeiss lenses, I had never even seen a Cooke lens or the Frazier Lens System for that matter!!!

Andrew also showed us a gorgeous looking Panaflex G2, it had come back from Panavision USA with a complete reconditioning. The camera is over 30 years old and looked absolutly stunning. *sigh*

Camera Heaven....

We also went over the Arri 435, but Al and I are keen to get back and really start playing with that sucker:)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Steadicam with Boshe

Today Allyn and I had a class with Boshe re: Steadicam. In short... it was fabulous. I loved it. It was really wicked to finally try out something that I always wanted to give a go but had not had the chance to do yet. So, yes I need lots of practice, but the weight of the 570 did not bother me... although I can only imagine what an 16mm camera would be like let alone a 35mm!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Great news from Ben Phelps

Hi Everyone,
Great news! A little bit more funding trickled in at the 11th hour last week which means . . . ."Thunderbirds are Go!" for the screening of Checkpoint in the World Comp at the Montreal World Film Festival! As per the rules, I'm heading over to Montreal this Friday. The 35mm print (with subtitles) has just landed there. It's been pretty frantic to organise with so little time. But it's all come together! Phew! Checkpoint screens twice on Sunday (2nd last day of the fest) and once on Monday (closing night). It should be a blast! I'll keep you posted.
In other news, Checkpoint has been selected in the "Best of the Melbourne International Film Festival" national screening tour. The response in Melb was really great. Better than I could have hoped!
Thanks for your help and/or enthusiasm!
Ben Phelps
(t) +61 413 131 788

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Film School

Yesterday Allyn and I were playing with old school cameras. Yay. This is a Filmo. Today we were also lucky enough to be treated to the genius that is Stephen from Engineering. We went through the mechanics of the ARRI SR2 in full detail.... I am still in camera heaven.. Happy that I feel like I really know the camera inside out... *sigh* Later today we will learn more about the Intervalometer... Awesome:)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Think Outside the Square... Think 16:9

Hey Guys,

Well I am on my lunch break from my first day at film school. All is well so far. It is going to be a busy 10 weeks, but I am really excited about the stuff that I will be doing.

The head of Cinematography is Jan Kenny. This woman is really awesome. She was the first female camera assistant in the country her first job was with DoP Russell Boyd. (Oscar winning Aussie DoP) She worked really hard to prove that a female could do the job just as well as any guy even though traditionally women really never worked in the camera dept.

Now as a DoP herself, she is not only the Head of Cine here at AFTRS but the first women to be entered into the Australian Cinematographers Society Hall of Fame.

All round I have alot to learn from her. And from what I hear I have alot of hard work and dedication ahead of me. Awesome.

The library here is brilliant. I've used it before but they really have everything. I was given the full induction today.

I can look up any DoP on their database eg Russell Carpenter who shot True Lies, Titanic, prob a heap of other block busters that you have seen. And it will give me a catalogue of all journals written about him and his work.

So I was able to locate an American Cinematographer Magazine from 1994 September issue that had an article on what film stocks, cameras and techniques that they uesd for True Lies. (LOVE THAT FILM!)

So then I headed to the Journals, where they have EVERY ISSUE POSSIBLE from American Cinematographer, and I found the Sept 1994 issue and was able to copy the article for my own studies.

Now this must seem really geeky to most of you but YAY!!

Just wait till I raid the Star Wars and Matrix issues!!!!

The books that I have access to, ahhhh, dream! Its great.

Every morning I have loading practice for an hour and then Focus Pulling practice. I will be able to judge distances by eye without a measure tape, although it will all be imperial. WHo cares!!!! I just want to know how to do it;)

now.... to the database to look up the film stats of .... Star Wars.... 1970 something:)