Tuesday October 23, 2018

Movie Cameras. From Reel to IMAX, From IMAX to Smart phones.

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By Atul Mishra

Muybridge sequence of a horse galloping
Muybridge sequence of a horse galloping

Cinematography has progressed profoundly and has seen diverse permutations and combinations in its echelon with the regular advancements in technology. Every year cinematographer gets stirred and sparked with the advent and inception of new sophisticated movie cameras. Let us trail the timeline to see how have movie cameras changed the face of silver screen and what is the motion movie milieu these days.

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Capturing moving images were done on revolving drums and disk way back in 1830s. Gelatin-emulsioned film strips came into being in second half of 1800s and combined with paper film, gave us the earliest surviving motion picture till date: Louis Le Prince’s Roundhay Garden Scene, filmed on October 14, 1888.

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Kinetoscope, in 1893, which was a large box that only one person at a time could see the film on through a peephole, was a major advancement in the 35mm celluloid film strips. All these films were monochromes, two-toned. The color cinematography began in early 1900s. In 1908, kinemacolor was introduced. In the same year, the short film A Visit to the Seaside became the first natural color movie to be publicly presented. In 1929, Fox introduced Fox Grandeur, the first 70 mm film format.

 

Still from A Visit to the Seaside
Still from A Visit to the Seaside

Since then cinematography, and not just its post-shooting-additions, but the shooting itself has seen multitude of changes. Who would have thought in 1910s, that a century later, The Dark Knight, would feature six sequences (a total of 28 minutes) shot on IMAX camera? And who would have thought six years after The Dark Knight, Tangerine would be shot on three i-phones and have its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival?

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These days with the advent of so many cameras, from DSLRs to smart phones, amazing short films are being made by aspiring film makers. May be only Nolan can afford an IMAX, but if a film shot on an i-phone can be screened at Sundance then surely enough anyone possessing a decent smart phone can nail the magic of silver screens. Do these short films being shot on normal DSLRs and smart phones these days lose the aesthetic qualities of a film? Well, to shake your shaft here is what The Hollywood Reporter described the look of Tangerine as- “crisp and vigorously cinematic”, with “an aesthetic purity that stands out in a field where so much indie filmmaking has gotten glossier and less technically adventurous.”

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Another giant shot on a DSLR is the 2013 indie film Ship of Theseus. This film that swooped two National Awards and various other accolades at many international film festivals, is visually enriched and starkly eye-catching, though being shot on a DSLR.

The Oscar contender for the next biggie Academy Olive has been completely shot on a smart phone and is considered the first feature film to do so.

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This is soon becoming a culture and cult. Good movies are being made and thanks to YouTube channels that these films reach out to many audience. And this is where the film makers stand today. Giants like Syncopy and 20th Century Fox may try their hands at IMAX, but the indie film enthusiasts these days are making their movies with their own IMAXs which not only justify the silver screen but garner various accolades across the globe.

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Japanese Major Canon Unveils its First Full-frame Mirrorless Camera

The company has sold 90 million EOS cameras and 130 million EF lens so far

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Representational image. Pixabay

Sending a strong message to the existing players in the mirrorless camera segment, Japanese major Canon which just unveiled its first full-frame mirrorless camera EOS R is ready to roll out more enhanced devices in the near future.

For the $11 billion camera industry, mirrorless cameras have been a growth engine as digital/compact camera shipments have plummeted. Currently, Sony and Nikon are the leading players in the professional-grade camera segment.

According to Japan-based industry body Camera Imaging Products Association (CIPA), mirrorless cameras account for about a third of the segment’s revenue today — up from 9 per cent in 2012.

“We brought the EOS series to the world 30 years ago. With the EOS R, we are confident that you will have an amazing experience. We will improve further and deliver enhanced devices in the EOS segment,” said Naoya Kaneda, Advisory Director, Group Executive, ICB Optical Business Group, Image Communication Business Operations, Canon.

The EOS R, which will be launched in India on September 21 and the price for the country is yet to be announced, employs the newly-developed RF Mount.

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Full-frame mirrorless camera is just the beginning: Canon.

The EOS R is slated to ship in October globally with a price tag of nearly $2,300 (for the body) and $3,400 for the kit (with RF 24-105mm f4L IS lens).

A large (54 mm) mount internal diameter and short back focus allows for an enhanced communication between the lens and camera body.

In April, Canon India launched “EOS M50” — a new mirrorless camera for the millennials in India that houses the “DIGIC 8” image processor to ensure better picture quality and comes with 4K movie shooting capability.

“This is just the beginning. We will further improve our ecosystem – lens, processor and sensor — after listening from our customers and innovation teams. For us, feedback from our customers is of great importance,” Kaneda told a visiting group of journalists here.

With removing the mirror system in the EOS R, the company has reduced the distance between the lens and the image sensor, which leads to high speed, ease of use and better image quality.

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Canon. (IANS)

“Canon is moving to the next stage. We are pushing the boundaries of imaging expression,” Canon President Masaya Maeda said during the first unveiling of EOS R here on September 5.

The Canon EOS R — along with four RF lenses and four types of mount adapters — has a 30.3MP Full-frame CMOS sensor and an ISO range of 100 to 40,000 (expandable up to 50-102,400).

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The company has sold 90 million EOS cameras and 130 million EF lens so far.

“The aim is now to take the EOS series is to a new level and create a new ecosystem while acquiring new digital natives in our journey to create new business models,” noted Go Tokura, Executive Officer and Chief Executive, Image Communication Business Operations at Canon. (IANS)