Posts Tagged ‘comparison’

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Obama invokes Hitler’s rise in stark warning to America

What I’ve been saying for quite a while. Obama conveniently absolves himself of any responsibility for America’s decline toward fascism.

“That’s what happened in Germany in the 1930s which, despite the democracy of the Weimar Republic and centuries of high-level cultural and scientific achievements, Adolph Hitler rose to dominate,” [Obama] said, according to newspaper Crain’s Chicago Business.

Ursa 4.6k vs. GH5

Posted: June 27, 2017 in -
Tags: , , , , , ,

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M110 7.62 × 51mm Suppressed American Sniper rifle DA-SD-06-03422

I had literally searched Youtube for the same clip today, to make the same comparison. The scene where Adolf is yukking it up in the theater, just loving the glorious SS sniper. But this is so much better, and will reverberate…

Seth Rogan Basically Calls “American Sniper” Movie A Nazi Propaganda Film

9,000 favorites!

The scene with Hitler is not online, due to copyright, but this is…

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I’ve gone cold on the A7s. The rolling shutter is horrible. The low-light trickery just looks alien and weird, as displayed in the beach scenes.

But worst of all, and this may just be Phillip Bloom’s color-grading quirkiness, the colors are grotesque. The skin tones make me want to wretch most of the time. It also has a noisiness that comes and goes during a shot. The blocky compression is also a cause for concern, although we can’t be sure if this was introduced at the final stage at Vimeo.

But saturated colors, particularly the low-light variety, may induce vomiting. I’ll remain a BMC loyalist.

 

filmmaking

 

 

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Joe Giambrone

Trek v. Trek:  Who comes out on top?

Having been impressed by the latest Trek through the galaxy, Into Darkness, I came back and re-watched Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  Both films are watchable, but the 1982 effort is really starting to show its age.

Now I know some nerds will be trying to hack the site and cause Khan-like havoc with my life for saying it, but Wrath of Khan, by comparison, isn’t really very good.  It reeks of old Hollywood, over the top lines, swelling orchestra, overly-hyped shots of space models, and some sub-par acting.  I mean, let’s get real here.  The actors may be loved and cherished, but beginning with James T. Kirk himself, the acting can send shivers down your spine.  The one-off supporting cast (son of Kirk?) are similarly second rate.  For performances, the new film stands head and shoulders above the original.  Even Ricardo Montalban (Khan) turns in a heartfelt but poorly scripted and staged effort.  His Shakespeare quotes from the bowels of hell routine inspire more laughter than any other emotion.

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Wrath’s clunky plot is hard to ignore, when Chekov and his captain could easily beam back up the moment Chekov discovers that he’s on Khan’s crashed ship.  Instead, they opt to go outside again and face the Khan contingent.  Still, they have time to beam up, but a quick cut erases that obvious solution.  Also, it’s absurd that anyone could survive on that hostile planet for more than a few months.  There’s no water.

Now if I’m going to nitpick stupid plot choices I may as well point out that in the new film (Into Darkness) we have a similar absurdity (or three) that deserves mention.  As Khan’s little fighter ship spins out of control, outside of Starfleet headquarters on Earth, we are supposed to believe that before hitting the ground Khan was able to beam himself accurately to another galaxy in Klingon controlled space!  Two seconds of contemplation renders that laughable as well.

But the new film makes up for its sins with a lot of bang for the buck.  More story, more humor, more interesting scenarios, more movie.  The new film feels like two movies compared to the old.  It’s also a hell of a lot funnier.  Into Darkness functions as a comedy as much as a drama, with slick references and inside jokes coming almost constantly.  Wrath, in contrast, contains long boring dead spots.  The first film could be seen as a blueprint for the second to expand on.

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The younger, sexier cast is also relevant.  In Wrath, we have an aging Kirk rotting away and waiting to die, longing to fly on a spaceship again.  In the new version, we have a false-flag covert setup.  Much more interesting on its face.  The warmongers position themselves as the enemies of The Federation, even though they essentially run it!  Count me in.

The new film’s plot, with Khan a wildcard, a partnership to defeat the greater evil, leads to better drama and more internal conflict.  The reversal of Kirk and Spock is also interesting, as we’ve already seen Spock’s ultimate sacrifice – which was the best part of the Wrath film – but now Kirk is constantly playing catch-up to his own legend.  He has to prove himself time and again, and the odds are always stacked nowadays against him.

Lastly, Star Trek Into Darkness brings out its theme about the values we hold dear and which form the foundation of civilization.  This powerful guiding principle of the story sews it satisfyingly together, giving it a consistency that Wrath of Khan just doesn’t share.  Into Darkness is a superior film in nearly every conceivable measure.

by Joe Giambrone

 

(Article is from May 2013, and newer camera models release constantly. The principles remain the same.)

So you’re confused by all the choices, and you don’t know what they really all entail?  Differences in cameras may not seem all that important, until you look carefully, as audiences tend to do when the image is thirty feet tall.

A Little How-To

Note: Images were grabbed from the net to illustrate the points in the text.  Don’t’ take them as the end-all.  As any cinematographer who cashes checks will likely say: “Test.”

Section One: People With Bucks

Okay film, glorious 35mm Kodak or Fuji filmstock.  Here’s why:

Inception used 35mm + 65mm Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219 INCEPTION

Promised Land used 35mm Fuji Super F-64D 8522, Eterna Vivid 250D 8546, Eterna Vivid 500T 8547promised-land06

The Wrestler used 16 mm Kodak Vision2 200T 7217, Vision3 500T 7219 the-wrestler-3

All-time favorite film stock
35 mm, Eastman EXR 500T 5298Eyes-Wide-Shut-1999-BluRay-720p

Rolling film is expensive, and sometimes the directing style dictates lots of footage, always running improvisation.  Digital can be more amenable to that situation.

Dynamic range is important for capturing smoothly rolled off highlights, before they overexpose to pure white.  This single factor is perhaps the most crucial ingredient for achieving a digital camera look that mimics real film.  Kodak Vision 3 is rated at 13 stops according to the company.  Every F stop of dynamic range doubles the amount of light captured.  Thus, a digital camera with more dynamic range requires a lot more data storage as well as a sensor that is capable of capturing such high contrast of light in the first place.

A unique characteristic of film is the grain structure in the crystals, which comprise the image.  This grain also helps soften the areas of pure whiteness that occur when a part of a negative is blown out to overexposure.  Grain adds a subtle texture to the frames as they flow by at 24 frames per second, which is often lacking in digital footage.  Grain is sometimes mimicked to make digital footage look more like film, but it seldom achieves the total look of actual film, which responds uniquely to light that hits the various layers of emulsion.  Grain can also be too heavy in the case of low-light or underexposed film.  For low-light night shooting, a digital camera with a more sensitive sensor may make more sense.

Film grain also changes depending upon the size of the negative, as an 8mm image blown up to the same size as a 35mm image would show magnified grains.  A happy medium is 16mm, with 4 times the resolution of 8mm.  Well shot 16mm film provides a medium level of grain to the image consistent with crime and grindhouse horror cinema.  For example, The Walking Dead series has been captured on 16mm Kodak film (7219).

Click and zoom in to see the grain BDDefinitionWalkingDead-1-1080

Top-Tier Digital Cinema Cameras

These can be rented by the day, week or longer.

(more…)

 

It’s not how much Americans are taxed, it’s the extremely rich and corporations weasel out of paying their share.  The rich do it in a number of ways including hiding it in off shore accounts, being paid their “income” as a capital gain instead in order to get the lower rate, hiding funds in various shelters unavailable to the rest of us, etc.

Some tax reality:
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A War Horse of a Different Color: Stage Vanquishes Screen

By Jennifer Epps

If anyone else has refused to watch Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse until they could attend the puppet version from Britain’s National Theatre, the fact that the Tony Award-winning theatrical hit has embarked on a 20-city tour of the U.S. may be welcome news. The equestrian extravaganza is currently strutting the stage in San Francisco, (while simultaneously continuing its long runs in London, New York, and Toronto) and has visits scheduled for Portland, Spokane, Dallas, Chicago, Des Moines, St. Louis, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, and more over the next 11 months – as well as tours of Britain and Australia in 2013. Fortunately, the tour kicked off with a run in Los Angeles, and I’ve kept my own vow by seeing War Horse live on stage first, then followed it with Spielberg’s movie on DVD. The contrast is striking and deep-seated.

Knowing that Spielberg has a tendency to, if not glamorize, at least fetishize, warriors and military heroism (i.e. his executive-produced series Band of Brothers, his opus Saving Private Ryan, most likely his upcoming Civil War ode Lincoln, and even a 40-min war film he made at age 14) it is hardly surprising that historian Jacques R. Pauwels wrote on Political Film Blog that Spielberg’s War Horse is “militarist” and fails to question the First World War. And it turns out I agree with Pauwels. But those who haven’t seen the National Theatre show that motivated the making of this movie epic of a horse and his boy ought to take note that the stage version is A Very Different Animal.

There’s the obvious difference that Spielberg and his producer Kathleen Kennedy relied on the usual animal wranglers and flesh-and-blood horses whereas the National Theatre hired South African-based Handspring Puppet Co. to bring jointed cane-sculptures to life, which they do remarkably realistically despite the puppets’ skeletal, see-through designs revealing the puppeteers inside. The film chose not to use animatronic puppets, CG animation, or other representational art to try to re-create the mystery and magic of the puppeteers; as it so happens, those qualities are scarce in it. At the same time, the horse on the silver screen is, ironically, less believable, even though he’s played by 14 real equine actors; it’s partly because the film is less sure it can manipulate the animal’s slightest response on cue and so leaves out much of the war horse’s characterization, and it’s partly because the screenplay calls on the horse to do more anthropomorphic things than his theatrical predecessor.

Differences in aesthetics, style, and content between the War Horse rivals quickly add up to major differences in theme as well. Nick Stafford’s stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s 30-year-old novel of the same name is a strong example of animal advocacy, not unlike the Anna Sewell classic Black Beauty, which helped to build the RSPCA when the novel was published in the 19th century (and has itself been repeatedly adapted for animation, film, and TV series). And this animal advocacy goes together with and aids the other important theme: War Horse on-stage is also a plangent anti-war fable, low on gore but high in often-symbolic shorthand for battlefield horror — a risky stance for a story that parents want to bring their kids to see. (For a long time, the show piles on the misery, probably pushing the audience as far as we can go in a general-audience entertainment before redemption rewards our patience.) Though I have not read Morpurgo’s novel, Stafford’s dramatization seems true to the author’s original purpose, as espoused in the play’s program notes. Morpurgo is quoted for wanting to “write a story of the first World War that wasn’t told from one side or the other.” He hit on the construct of a hoofed protagonist not as a staple of the genre (though he does generally write children’s fiction), but as the articulation of his theme. Morpurgo had speculated: “Wouldn’t it be an interesting notion to tell the story about the universal suffering in that war due to the 10 million who died on all sides – German, American, English, Scottish, French, Russians – telling it how it was, but through the eyes of a horse.”

(Battle scene as depicted on-stage with the Handspring Puppet Co. creations)

Though Spielberg saw the show, somehow he didn’t get the same program notes.

First of all, his film is not really a horse’s eye view. British screenwriters Lee Hall and Richard Curtis introduce the title character, Joey, literally through the eyes of the farm boy Albert (played by Jeremy Irvine), who watches his birth. By contrast, Joey’s puppet predecessor in the play trots nervously out alone towards the footlights at the play’s opening — we only meet 16-year-old Albert (Andrew Veenstra in the U.S. tour) a bit later; in other words, in the theater, we essentially see Albert through Joey’s eyes. On-stage, Joey is surrounded as a colt by jeering, hostile humans, hemming him in with long poles that double as fence rails, and he’s terrified – our sympathy is with him. Yet in the film, Joey has grown from helpless colt to strong stallion before he ever has to leave the verdant pastures of his foalhood. He is therefore much less vulnerable during his auction, and this allows the focus to slip off of him from an early point.

Though the play had some Jack London-style moments revealing the harshness of life for a domesticated animal, the film cuts out the whippings, mines for comedy in the plough-pulling test, omits the fight with a rival horse, and emphasizes throughout Joey’s courage and special nature. (Like many other fiction films about horses do.) In the play, we were urgently aware of Joey’s suffering and the extreme peril he faces when he goes to war; in the film, however, Hall (Billy Elliot scribe) and Curtis (known for comedic writing) keep most of that low-key until the harrowing climax. (At least they didn’t mess with the visceral effect of that.)

The screenwriters seem to use more dialogue than Stafford’s adaptation did, crafting numerous scenes beyond Joey’s earshot or understanding. In contrast, the stage production was more devoted to the visual than the verbal – an aspect that L.A. Weekly theater critic Steven Leigh Morris scorned in two different responses to the production.

But there’s nothing hierarchical about literary art over visual art; that’s why we have both libraries and galleries. The National Theater production had good reason to exploit the inherent fascination of the Handspring puppets and their deft manipulators. It also did very well to include black-and-white animated backgrounds in a jagged swath across the upstage scrim (we justify them, unconsciously, as drawings ripped from an officer’s sketchbook). The show’s excellent animation, designed by the late Peter Stenhouse of 59 Productions, morphs during the course of the play from representational rural landscapes (with clouds wafting gently by) to swirling, nightmarish, wartime abstractions – as befits an epoch that inspired new paradigms in art like Dada and Surrealism. This emphasis on the visual is also extremely appropriate for a horse’s tale because, if the autistic and renowned animal expert Temple Grandin is to be believed, animals think in images.

(Video montage of the animation used in War Horse stage show)

But when it’s Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski’s turn, they fill the frame with resplendent panoramas — carefully composed, luxuriantly lit. For the most part, Dreamworks’ War Horse is a series of inexplicably beautiful postcards. When the story slows down in the film (as it does teeth-grittingly often) for banal palaver between friends or family, the sun usually comes through a window and reflects off the dust motes. Even the muddied black spikes of No Man’s Land are bathed in a blue glow. It’s pretty hard to absorb the horrors of war when it’s so self-consciously pretty.
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