Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bloody Omaha BBC

More than 60 years ago, the fate of World War II turned on five beaches in Normandy, France. ‘D-Day’ was the greatest amphibious invasion ever attempted. History remembers it as a great victory. But new research reveals that on Omaha Beach, it was very nearly a disaster. German defenses there were far more ferocious than expected. A massive air strike intended to take them out, was a total failure. For the troops charged with this mission, it would become a killing zone.

In this behind the scenes documentary, Richard "Hamster" Hammond of the hugely popular British show "Top Gear", shows us how with current digital technology and a little British ingenuity they were able to create an epic war scene for very little money and without a thousand extras.

This is from the the BBC's "Bloody Omaha", which is part of their history series "Timewatch".


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paloma & Mary

Over the Memorial Day weekend I did a photo shoot for a corporate client. I used a Nikon D80 and a Dynalite M1000DR strobe pack. The great thing about shooting in Los Angeles is that if you pick up your rental gear after 4:00 p.m. on Friday and return it by 11:00 a.m. the following Monday, you are only charged for a one day rental. Since it was a holiday weekend, I also got an extra bonus day, and was able to keep the gear until Tuesday. So what is a photographer to do with great gear and a couple of extra days? Doggie Photo Shoot! I wanted to volunteer to help out with a Playboy centerfold shoot, but for some reasons they wouldn't return my calls. Damn you Hugh Hefner!

Here is a photo from that session that features Paloma & Mary. Both of these dogs have been rescued from an animal shelter. They are two of the sweetest and most cuddly dogs I have ever known. If you would like to find out more about shelter dogs, please check out the Shelter Animal Advocacy Fund.

If you are shooting in Los Angeles be sure to stop on by Samy's Camera for all your photographic needs. Tell them the Pixelphile sent you.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crank 2 - Shot With Canon Consumer Cameras

Crank 2 - High Voltage, the sequel to the 2006 film Crank, about an assassin played by Jason Statham who learns his rival has injected him with a poison that will kill him if his heart rate drops, is being shot entirely with consumer level Canon video cameras.

Primarily being shot hand held with a $3,500 XH-A1 that is mounted onto a Manfrotto Fig Rig (see photo above featuring Amy Smart and Corey Haim) , which was invented by director Mike Figgis while making his 2000 film Timecode. For point of view, car mounted, and crash cams, they are using the less expensive HF10's which records to removable SDHC memory cards. Reportedly they will be using up to 12 of these $1,000 cameras with plans of destroying most of them during the filming process.

Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have said that the Canon XH-A1 and Canon HF10 will be used as “moving the camera in outrageous ways and being able to destroy cameras without blinking an eye is more important to us than, you know, sort of having this filmic image” says Taylor. Nevedine says “With the cameras we’re using we literally can point and shoot and we have the same image quality that we had on Crank 1“.

With camcorders though won’t it look pretty crappy? “It doesn’t look like Cloverfield. It’s not supposed to look like home video. It’s going to look like a movie, but it’s going to look like a movie you’ve never seen before.“

Crank 1, was previously shot with the Sony F950 that carries a price tag of well over $100,000. So it's refreshing to see that the directors have decided to take an entirely different approach.

Just goes to show you that you don't need a really expensive camera to make a Hollywood movie. All you need is a hot actress with a really short dress.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

MUJI Cardboard Speakers

Ever wanted to fold up your stereo speakers and put them in your suitcase while you are traveling? .... Me neither. But if someday I do, at least I know I can with these cool, lightweight, collapsible speakers made of cardboard. MUJI is from the Japanese phrase "Mujirushi Ryohin", meaning "No Brand Goods". They are the creative force behind these environmentally friendly speakers.

MUJI's emphasis on high quality but inexpensive raw materials, including remnants and otherwise disposable materials, results in products that are economical and environmentally friendly. These ideals are upheld in MUJI's manufacturing systems as well, in their attempt to streamline the design process and eliminate over-manufacturing.

You can pick these up, as well as other works of art from The Museum of Modern Art's online store.

Pros: Eco Design, Collapsible.

Sounds Like Cardboard Speakers.

List Price: $42.00