Saturday, June 21, 2008

CineGeek 2008

So, today Richard and I went to Cinegear on the Universal backlot. We ran into lots of people and saw lots of cool things, but it was about 100 degrees in the valley, and that made it not quite so fun as it should have been. I don't know why they had the damn thing outside, anyway, with all the cameras and lights and displays baking in the heat. You'd think it would be in a lovely big warehouse with air conditioning, wouldn't you? But no. There were lights on display that were on, but you couldn't tell they were on unless you looked DIRECTLY at them. Ludicrous.

It was pretty surreal, too, being in the "Europe" section of the Univeral backlot with tons of camera gear set up all around. Like some strange, geeky (well, geekiER) Renaissance Faire:


No jousting or lute playing, though... at least, not the normal kind.

We did see some cool stuff though. We saw the Arri D21, which is a lot like the D20 but a) captures full-frame so that it can shoot anamorphic, and b) has simultaneous HD and raw outputs. Cool! And we saw the Phantom 65, which is a tiny little camera with a 65mm-sized sensor-- you can only really use medium format still camera lenses, but who cares? They're good lenses, and I'm sure if the camera becomes popular they'll start making 65mm HD lenses. You can't shoot sync sound with it, but it sure did look cool for the commercial insert work they were showing...

We also saw this, although we didn't get to inquire much about it:


A Steadicam rig on a Segway! GENIUS! Think of the awesome long tracking shots you could do on that thing. Think of the money saved in not needing a process trailer! Well, at least not for ALL car shots. And more than anything, think how much fun it must be to ride! It's for off-roading, sort of, and "unstable terrain." I don't know why no one's come up with this before.

The best part of Cinegear, though, was in the afternoon, when Richard and I waited in line for an hour and then got to see Wally Pfister, ASC talking about his Imax work on The Dark Knight. It was so great: he answered all the questions I've had tumbling around in my mind about how they went about melding Imax and 35 anamorphic footage together. Like, for example, when the movie is projected in Imax, and they get to the Imax sequences, the aspect ratio is just going to BAM change and all of a sudden be full-screen Imax. I think that's so cool... they're just going for it, no regrets. So the aspect ratio changes? So what? We are Wally Pfister and Christopher Nolan and we can do WHATEVER WE WANT. That's how badass we are.

...anyway. Wally talked about shooting on Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago with existing light (awesome), and how Christian Bale and Heath Ledger both did like 98% of their stunts, and steadicam with Imax, and how much better film is than digital, and all sorts of lovely things. I think if Wally Pfister came up to me and said "Hey Cameron, if you walk around the world six times backwards with your hands tied behind your back, I will let you be my intern on Batman 3," I would do it.

He also said that if we went to see The Dark Knight at the Imax Bridge theater near LAX, the print that we see will be struck from the camera original Imax negative. So clearly that is where we are going to see it. Anyone interested?

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