In 2008, the Nikon D90 became the first DSLR to offer HD video recording, a feature that has become pretty standard on new DSLR models. Third-party companies have also taken advantage of the HDSLR craze by offering a boatload of specialized HDSLR filmmaking products, including camera rigs that are constantly becoming larger and more crazy-looking. DSLR film school Neumann Films created this funny short film poking fun at huge and expensive rigs.
The gear game of DSLR cameras is getting out of hand. When a camera rig costs more than your camera something is wrong. These were the thoughts that fueled the creation of our latest video “DSLR Camera Rigs”. [#]
So this is what goes on at the brainstorming sessions of rig makers…
Remember the controversy last year surrounding the use of a captive wolf in an award-winning wildlife photograph? Turns out this kind of deception might be common practice in the world of wildlife filmmaking.
Chris Palmer — the producer and director of quite a few notable wildlife films — has written a new book titled Shooting in the Wild in which he exposes many of the “dirty secrets” of nature documentaries.
The above video is an ABC Nightline segment in which Palmer discusses many of the tricks used in the business, including using trained animals, dragging dead animal carcasses to locations, digging fake dens, and even telling outright lies in the narration. One shocking example is found in the Academy Award winning documentary White Wilderness: a scene that seems to show lemming suicide was actually created by pushing lemmings off a cliff using a rotating platform.
Palmer also reflects on the question: does the positive good these faked scenes do justify the dishonest tricks used to create them? What do you think?
Update: Seems like the Hulu video above isn’t accessible to those outside the US. Here are a couple more links you can try: ABC News and Link TV.
Animated films have had enjoyed increased exposure on the big screen this year. Films like Pixar’s Up, Miyazaki’s Ponyo, and Ari Folman’s animated documentary, Waltz with Bashir, have received widespread critical acclaim, demonstrating that while animated films can be family-friendly, they are at their core a dynamic and imaginative medium with impressive potential.
Two major animated films this year, Henry Selick’s 3D film, Coraline, and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, utilize an old animating technique that has been used for nearly a century: stop-motion.
According to the IMDB websites of both films, the individual frames of Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Foxwere captured with Nikon DSLRs: the Nikon D80 and D3, respectively, along with a variety of other lenses, bodies, and equipment. Additionally, several Canon bodies can be spotted in a Wired.com video feature on Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Producer Jeremy Dawson notes how differently the film was produced because it was on a digital medium: instead of director Wes Anderson being present during the entire filming process, captured photographs could be remotely accessed and viewed for his approval, no matter where he was physically. The final film consists of 5,229 shots, 621,450 frames, an average of 120 gigabytes of data was captured per day, and the total storage for the images took up 18.5 terabytes of space.
Both films are visually captivating. Coraline director Selick does not stray far from the styles of his previous animated masterpieces, James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Director Wes Anderson’s trademark vintage color palette also stays consistently impressive.
The behind the scenes featurettes of the films are worth a watch as well, and provide some interesting insight into the tedious effort and tremendous amount of time put into making these gorgeous motion pictures.
The Making of Coraline
Behind the Scenes of Fantastic Mr. Fox
Image and Video Credits: Fox Searchlight (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Focus Features (Coraline).