Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday morning on film

Yes, Los Angeles in an industry town, just one without many meat packing plants. So the local papers are full of stories about "the business" that focus on things other than celebrity marriages, break-ups, and awards ceremonies.

Today's Los Angeles Times contains a couple such examples. Hidden away in the Business section is a highly informative article on the recent history of Panavision - one of the major manufacturers of motion picture cameras, including more recently, digital cameras.

Then, after throwing away a few pounds of glossy advertisements, I finally reached the Calendar section, which contains another good article on the travails of working with the new digital technology, specifically on Gibson's new flick Apocalypto.

Now, it's not just the inner nerd in me that likes to keep track on changes in cinematography, such as HD (high def), sometimes when on set, you need to know this is stuff is about.

Friday, I was on a late-night shoot, when the AD pulled out a few backgrounders from holding for the "HD sliver." A couple people asked, "What did he mean by that?"

If you've ever watched a football game on an HD television set, you know that resolution is much wider than "normal" feeds. Hence, when shooting the master shot in HD, the field is much wider than the so-called "Academy" ratio, so you need to fill those section of the room with people, otherwise the scene looks too spread or empty, and lacking in "atmosphere" which is what we are listed as on the daily call sheet.

In fact, if you ever get a chance to peer at the video feed monitor from a camera shooting in HD take a careful look - there will be two vertical lines showing the "standard" resolution covering about 80% of the screen, with the section on either side reflection the HD feed.

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