Welcome to Focal Points!
If you’ve been paying attention, there’s a lot of new stuff going on at The Black and Blue. First there was a complete redesign that launched earlier this month. Next, I started a new article series called Raw Stock in which I answer reader emails. And now, I’m happy to bring you Focal Points.
So what is Focal Points? It’s a weekly summary of the best around the web from the filmmaking community – articles, videos, apps, whatever. Every Saturday, I’ll be directing you towards some of the most profound, practical, and greatest filmmaking resources for you to fill your weekend with.
For week 1, we’ve got a slew of excellent links that cover:
- What to do when filming in cold weather
- Knots that every group should be able to tie
- Starting a filmmaking production company
- DP’s who become directors and what hurdles they face
- An astounding interview with the cinematographer behind Gravity
Ready? Here we go…
This Week’s Focal Points
Ten Tips for Filming in Extreme Cold Weather
As a video-journalist, Christian Parkinson has had to endure sweltering heat and blistering cold. In this excerpt from his upcoming book, he shares tips that have helped him and his camera survive the harsh climate. A Moscow-based BBC camerawoman also chimes in on everything from what to wear to the best way to remove snow from lenses. Great read.
Interview with Gravity’s Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki
Gravity is an aggressive film with assertive visuals thanks to a collaboration between director Alfonso Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. It is also, without a doubt, one of the best movies of the year. In this interview, Lubezki provides insight on cinematography, working with Alfonso, and the sheer technical madness of filming Gravity.
5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Being a First-Time Director
Director John Krokidas shares the surprises he was met with during the filming of, Kill Your Darlings (starring Daniel Radcliffe), his first feature film. While these may be tips you’ve read before, it’s how Krokidas ties his thoughts to the actual experiences from set that make this worth reading.
Knots for Grips!
If you don’t know what a bowline, clove hitch, or a square knot is, this post is for you. If you want to be a grip, you’re going to have to learn the difference between tying all sorts of knots. Luckily, How To Film School has compiled this tutorial with videos illustrating how to tie common knots used by grips as well as recommendations for what each type of knot is best used for. Do “knot” miss this one!
Cinematography for Directors: Focal Length
It’s not unusual for directors to be well-versed in lenses. Spielberg chooses his lenses. The Coen Brothers have a push-pull with Roger Deakins who likes to shoot wider while they prefer longer focal lengths. Guilleramo del Toro knew what lenses he wanted to use in Pacific Rim as he brainstormed in his notebook. My point is: aspiring directors (and new cinematographers) should read this article to get a better grasp of focal length to enable more constructive conversations about the visuals of their films.
Filmmaker Process – Start Your Company
From production company 19th and Wilson – the people behind the first movie I worked on, Ghosts Don’t Exist – comes this article about structuring a company specifically for funding and producing films. If you’re in the midst of researching what it takes to start an LLC or other corporate entity for a production company, this article provides lots of helpful insight.
Directing Movies: Few Know More Than the Cinematographer
Variety takes a look at the tumultuous and relatively tough career transition from director of photography to the director of a movie itself. Centering the piece around Wally Pfister’s recent changeover, the article also talks to John Bailey and Caleb Deschanel about what makes the job of the DP and the director so different and difficult to morph into for cameramen/camerawomen.
Want even more links to great filmmaking articles? Just follow me on Twitter @evanluzi.
Miss Anything on The Black and Blue? Catch Up Here:
- How to Work with a Camera You’ve Never Touched Before
- How to Work with a Camera You’ve Never Touched Before (Part 2)
- Why Camera Assistants Don’t Need a Showreel
- What Do You Want to Do On Set?
- Welcome to The Black and Blue 4.0
- Keep Your Eyes on the Talent with This Quick Focus Pulling Tip
- Introducing Raw Stock: Your Questions Answered Fresh from My Inbox