Cinematography Techniques with Roger Deakins

If you are not into cinematography, Roger Deakins may not be a familiar name to you. However, you are likely familiar with such films as “No Country for Old Men,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “True Grit” and “Skyfall.” Deakins has been a cinematographer on the above and other feature films which has earned him awards and nominations including an ASC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Roger is a master in composition and his camera moves are classic. Here is a look at some of his classic shots and the behind-the-scenes look into how they were done.

Enjoy

 

A slow tracking shot

 

 

                                                          A straight push-in Jib shot

 

 

A high speed tracking close up running for revealing emotions

 

 

 

David Gitonga

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VIDEO: Katy Perry “Wide Awake” Behind-the-scenes

I have always loved the Katy Perry song and video for “Wide Awake.” The song is not only great but so are the scenes, the camera movements, and the color grading that was done in the final cut. I love me a good music video and true to my nature, I dug up for the behind-the-scenes video………. and found it.

The video was directed by the French director, Tony T Datis. Tony has shot music videos for Skrillex and his work on Wide Awake was nothing less of exceptional.

One of the challenges of the video was that it was done in 3D.  The video employed a process called depth balancing where it was used during the quick shot transitions in the video.  Since there are many objects not at the same depth that need to hand off from one shot to the next,  it was necessary to move things in space to guide the eye smoothly from one object to the next.

The video includes a young Katy Perry, a detailed dark labyrinth, and plenty of props. While Katy Perry is much more feminine in this video than from her last piece, Part of Me, it’s pretty much the same Perry you are used to.

The video shoot took 3 days. Take a look at the behind-the-scenes footage below where Katy takes us through the shooting process.

 

David Gitonga

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VIDEO: Bay on Action

If you have watched “The Transformers – Age of Extinction” movie, and wondering how they create the robots and the action in it, you reading the right blog.

Michael Bay, the director of all The Transformers movies, breaks down his art of filming action scenes in this picture and why he had to make certain directorial decisions.

You are going to love this behind-the-scenes video.

Enjoy!

 

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VIDEO: An Epic Shoot

I am always looking for inspiration in my shots and recently, I came across a fantastic series of images done by photographer Von Wong. I loved the shots so much I decided to dig up for the photoshoot.

Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who loved his work. Wong had also decided to do a behind-the-scenes video on how he came up with those epic images.

The fact that he did these photos in black and white makes them even more stunning.

Here is a look at the photos and the process of creation. You are going to love it!

NB: These photos  are not of sports professionals, but employees of SmugMug, including their CEO.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

And here’s the behind-the-scenes video:

 

David Gitonga

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VIDEO: How Color Grading Affects the Look and Feel of a Movie

The color of an image has always been an element that professional filmmakers manipulate when desiring to produce a certain effect. This is easier said than demonstrated and the video below shows just how much of a difference color grading can make to the final product.

Check out the reel comparisons below and see just how much of a difference color grading does to this short film.

In this film, the colorist used the DaVinci Resolve program to color correct and grade.

Enjoy!

 

Color Reel – The House On Pine Street from GradeKC on Vimeo.

 

 

David Gitonga

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Advanced Video Features Coming to Facebook

   

  In a move seen to encourage businesses to upload more video content directly onto Facebook, the company has started rolling out video-centric features for business pages that look very familiar – yes like YouTube channels. The new look and feel comes with a feature video option and the ability to create video playlists – I told you it looks and feels familiar.

Recently, it was announced that for the first time ever, Facebook page owners are uploading more videos directly to Facebook than they are sharing from YouTube. This will likely go up and result to Facebook carving off a huge slice of YouTube audience, most of which are known to share what they see on Facebook.

Whether these new features will encourage more page owners to upload more video content or encourage more video content consumption remains to be seen. One thing we can be sure is that video content upload on Facebook will continue to grow.

Is your brand or business ready to leverage this trend? Have you started creating videos for your page? If not, now is the time to get started.

 

 

David Gitonga

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Why You Need to Use a Stabilizer for Your Videos


 

When I got started into video, I had a difficult time stabilizing my shots. The camera seemed to pick up every jolt and shake of my body, no matter how hard I tried.

Until I discovered the power of the stabilizer.

While software like Adobe After Effects, and even YouTube will be able to stabilize your shaky clips, they don’t do a very good job of it and you will often be left with a hazy uncomfortable video when you attempt to stabilize during post-production. This is where a stabilizer saves the day. 

By isolating the camera operator from the camera, this allows for smooth shots even when moving quickly or over an uneven surface.

Here is a look at popular movie scenes that have employed the steadicam stabilizer:
 

The Art of Steadicam from Refocused Media on Vimeo.
 

If you are looking to improve the quality of your videos and achieve the cinematic shots you see in Hollywood movies, then I would suggest using a stabilizer.  

Here is a look at the stabilizer, dubbed flycam 3000, that I use for my shots.

Enjoy!
 

 

 

 

David Gitonga

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VIDEO: A Trip to Mt. Longonot

I got to climb Mt. Longonot with a small team and document the trip. While the trip was tiring and exhausting, it was a great experience for me to shoot on the road and capture people on the move on rough terrain. I got to take plenty of shots of going round the crater while enjoying the beautiful landscape.

I shot this using my handheld DSLR. While the footage is shaky in some places, nothing had been pre-planned which is expected on such expeditions.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

David Gitonga

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VIDEO: Interview with the greatest cinematographers in the World

What does it take to tell a story with light? What does a cinematographer to do create memorable, stunning pictures with light and composition?

Many of the world’s finest DPs explain their understanding of light and shadow and what it takes to move emotion of their viewers. They also discuss their process of creativity and what it takes to be an accomplished cinematographer in this 19-minute documentary.

Enjoy!

 

 

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VIDEO: Wedding Photography Poses

It’s been a little while since I posted something new, but I have been on the road shooting events. I wanted to post a quick follow-up on the last blog I did on How to Pose Subjects.  I realize that a lot of photographers and photography enthusiasts have covered a wedding or likely have had opportunities to do so.

Here are a few poses that anyone can use to greatly improve the quality and look of their images when shooting the bride and groom on their wedding day.

 

David Gitonga

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