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March 4th, 2011

PDN Video Pick: A Bridge Delivered

Photographer Stephen Mallon directed this time lapse video showing the delivery and installation of the new Willis Avenue bridge linking Manhattan and the Bronx. The 2,400-ton steel structure was assembled near Coeymans, New York, then transported 136 miles down the Hudson River by barge. Mallon directed 9 camera operators working from the barge, other boats on the Hudson, and vantage points onshore along the route. He assembled the final video from more than 30,000 still images. The video will be screened at FPS Fest, which starts this evening in Brooklyn and runs through tomorrow. Other photographer/directors whose films will be screened at the festival include Danny Clinch, the Wade Brothers, Alexx Henry, to name a few.

February 9th, 2011

Did Steve McCurry Do Justice to the Last Roll of Kodachrome?

Courtesy of Steve McCurry/Magnum Photos, ©Steve McCurry

Magnum photographer Steve McCurry pulled strings two years ago to get his hands on the last roll of Kodachrome film that Kodak produced. Now Vanity Fair has posted a slideshow of the images McCurry shot with that film.

So how did he do with the final frames of this legendary film stock? Did he do justice to the roll? And if not, to whom should Kodak have given the film instead? (View the rest of the images here.)

February 1st, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Winter In Hell

Winter in Hell from Enrique Pacheco on Vimeo.

Enrique Pacheco’s short film “Winter In Hell” (not a reference to the regular severe weather warnings afflicting areas of the United States this season), was created from footage shot in Iceland over the course of a year. It tells the story of a peaceful arctic winter interrupted by the explosion of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

The photographer and filmmaker used the Canon 7D and 5D Mark II, and Canon and Carl Zeiss lenses to shoot the footage. We recommend utilizing the full screen mode.

January 25th, 2011

Tim Hetherington Film Nominated for Oscar

“Restrepo,” the documentary co-directed and co-produced by photographer Tim Hetherington and writer Sebastian Junger, has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. The nominations for the 2011 Oscars were announced this morning in Los Angeles.

“Restrepo,” which tells the story of a platoon living and fighting in a forward operating base in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary. It was released in theaters in 2010 and was also broadcast on the National Geographic Channel.

Last year’s Best Documentary Oscar went to “The Cove,” a documentary directed by photographer Louie Psihoyos, about dolphin hunting in Japan.

December 23rd, 2010

PDN Video Pick: Dan Saelinger’s Popsicles

This short piece by Dan Saelinger plays with the visual possibilities of melting popsicles. Created as a test, the video expanded on the concept of one of Saelinger’s still-life photographs.

Popsicles from Dan Saelinger on Vimeo.

If you have a video you would like us to consider for PDN’s Video Picks, just send a link to editor@pdnonline.com.

December 21st, 2010

PDN Video Pick: George Simhoni’s “Manimbaphone”

Looking to add video production to his business offering, Toronto-based advertising photographer George Simhoni set out to create a narrative video that might also do some good. He teamed up with a friend, creative director Peter Holmes at Reason Partners, who came up with a concept of a tongue-in-cheek, stay-in-school PSA.

George Simhoni – Manimbaphone from Westside Studio on Vimeo.

If you have a video you would like us to consider for PDN’s Video Picks, just send a link to editor@pdnonline.com.

December 21st, 2010

Photographer Seamus Murphy Directs PJ Harvey Video

We don’t know about you but we wish more rock videos were like “The Last Living Rose” from PJ Harvey. Directed by photographer Seamus Murphy and featuring still and moving images he shot during a 5,000-mile road trip around England, the video is beautiful, evocative, and a fitting showcase for Harvey’s loose, poetic, and rockin’ new tune.

According to Harvey’s website, it’s the first of 12 films from Murphy that will showcase the 12 new songs on her new record, “Let England Shake.”

Looking forward to seeing the next 11.

(Via Dangerous Minds.)

November 17th, 2010

Amazon: Win Money! Get Your Movie Made! Forfeit Your Rights!!

Online mega-retailer Amazon is calling all aspiring screen writers and film directors  to submit their screen plays and productions for cash prizes in monthly contests. The catch? Amazon can rent, sell, license and otherwise distribute the works without sharing the proceeds. But the rights transfer terms are buried deep in the fine print.

The crowd-sourcing initiative is called Amazon Studios, which is holding a monthly contest with cash prizes to encourage submissions. Amazon Studios will show the winning projects to Warner Bros. Pictures “for possible consideration as theatrical feature films.” Or, as Amazon Studios boils it all down in their advertising: “Win money. Get Noticed. Get your movie made.”

Amazon says it will give out two $20,000 awards for the best scripts it receives each month, and $100,000 to the director of the best movie that’s at least 70 minutes long.

But the company isn’t up front about rights transfer, which isn’t mentioned in the contest rules. Instead, it’s buried inside a “development agreement” that the contest rules mention in passing.

The development agreement is written in convoluted legalese. But here’s what is says, in a nutshell: Whenever you submit an original work–screenplay or movie–you grant Amazon a non-exclusive license to sell, rent, stream, copy, or transfer that work to third parties forever, without any compensation. For the first 18 months, Amazon has the exclusive right to do all that, plus the option to make revisions of your work–by turning it into a movie for theatrical release, say. If they decide to exercise that option, they will pay you $200,000. But that’s all you get, unless the movie grosses at least $60,000,000 at the box office. For that, you’d get a $400,000 bonus payment, or 0.6 percent.

And one last thing: if someone else sees your original work on Amazon’s site, makes a revision of it, and submits that revision to another Amazon contest, Amazon owns the revision free and clear. “It would just be too complicated to divide up rights between contributors of revisions,” Amazon explains in the development agreement.

October 22nd, 2010

Chris McCaw’s Crazy DIY Large-Format Cameras

Ever want to build your own camera? Photographer Chris McCaw did just that and he went big, creating a 30×40-inch bellows camera mounted in a garden wagon and one with a 125-pound aerial lens attached to a wheelchair. McCaw uses the cameras to shoot heavily solarized images that are part of his “Sunburn” series.

Instead of film, McCaw places silver gelatin paper into the film holders of his DIY cameras and leaves them open for long periods of time. The sun burns the paper in the process — sometimes creating holes — and inverts the image from a negative to a positive.

McCaw seems to have as much fun creating the cameras as he does creating the images. Here’s what he told the photo-eye:

“Building my own camera was a really liberating process as a photographer. Sometimes you get into that rut of having big dreams of owning high-end camera gear. The reality is that if you use your imagination and a practical sense of what you want to accomplish, you can do most anything. I feel confident that I can pretty much make any camera I need (I’m currently up to 30×40″ mounted on a garden wagon). I also just made one on the base of a wheelchair to hold a 125 lb aerial camera lens!

The wheelchair camera (my friends call it ‘the sad robot’) was just built last month. So far it is only an 8×10″ camera, but it has a 600mm f/3.5 lens that projects an image about 16×20″. I was told the lens came off a U2 spy plane — it is a beast. I use a car jack to raise and lower the lens. I even needed to get a handicap ramp to get it into the van!”

Read more at the photo-eye blog.

(From The Stupid Photographer via Colin Pantall’s blog.)


October 13th, 2010

Eddie Adams Barnstorm Celebrates New Media

At the 23rd annual Eddie Adams Workshop, which took place over Columbus Day weekend, speakers frequently referenced the many ways

Eddie Adams Workshop barnstorm, Lung Liu

Award winner Lung Liu at the Workshop's closing night.. © Landon Nordeman

still photographers of the past are transitioning into visual journalists of the future.  The rustic farm in Jeffersonville, New York, where the workshop takes place may have sparse cell phone service, but technologies like the iPad and DSLRs that shoot HD video were in use and discussed throughout the weekend.

In a first for the Barnstorm, the Saturday evening line up of speakers included a motion picture producer. Michael Hausman, the producer of films such as Amadeus, Brokeback Mountain, The Firm and Gangs of New York, showed two clips to illustrate how digital video capture is changing filmmaking. He first showed a clip from The Firm, a Hollywood movie shot with 35 mm Panavision cameras and lenses, which cost more than forty million dollars to make; his second clip was shot with the Red camera and a Canon 5D.

He noted, “When I started you couldn’t make a film without 250 of your closest union buddies. Today we made a film for $40,000 with the Red camera and the Canon 5D.”
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