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COW Blogs : Cinematography
2-Day Blackmagic Cinema Camera Workshop, March 29, 30, Atlanta
By: walter biscardi on Mar 9, 2013 at 4:55:16 am

UPDATE! ALL attendees will receive a $200 Gift Certificate from Flanders Scientific good for anything in the online store. This is in addition to the opportunity to win additional prizes from Blackmagic Design and Flanders Scientific. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Epilogue # 1: Getting Home
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 30, 2010 at 11:11:02 am

It’s 4 AM Monday morning. Bob can’t sleep. Time to blog. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 15: Tarangire Park
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 26, 2010 at 7:44:06 am

Despite our success at the Ngorongoro Crater, the strict rules prohibiting going off road cramped our style. Tarangire Park had been mentioned as the 3rd most important attraction but when we heard a German couple rave about the animal density there, we asked our guides advice. Now, the guides aren’t supposed to change schedules or rock the boat but when we asked what they would do in our position, the call was made to spend our last filming day in Tarangire Park. What a good decision it would prove to be! ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 14: Yousef the Charmer, More about Maasai and a Spectacular Kill
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 25, 2010 at 1:43:37 am

Yousef is an extremely social animal. He has over 2,300 Facebook friends. He loves portraiture and has charm to burn. We pull into a gas station where a half dozen or so men lounge against a wall. Richard cautions Bob not to take pictures of them or at least to ask their permission first. But Yousef is already in there holding the 70-200mm vertically and blazing away. Richard frowns and the men look menacing. But the young Saudi/American charmer walks right into their midst and not only shows them their portraits but offers to send them copies by E-mail. Bob...


The New Merry Pranksters, Lucky Episode 13: The Crater
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 24, 2010 at 7:06:14 am

Ngorongoro Crater is an incredibly popular tourist attraction. A volcano blew the top off a massive mountain. When the hole eventually filled in, it created a large level plain visually different from the Serengeti because of the rising mountainous wall behind almost every shot. Because our cameras are mounted around chest height this makes a difference. There are also forests and swamps with more verdant green than almost any place in the Serengeti. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 11: Five Canons and Waiting for a Kill
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 22, 2010 at 11:23:27 am

In the mid day sun, the animals may be too static for good movies but ideal for portraiture. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 10: Health, Hygiene and a Bunch of Other Stuff
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 20, 2010 at 10:45:40 pm

The travel nurse at Kaiser Hospital in Los Angeles routinely included two different styles of diarrhea medicine in travel kits to Tanzania. The first is for symptoms. You try that first. The second is for the cause. You use that if the first one doesn’t work. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 9: Tactics of Wildlife Cinematography
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 20, 2010 at 8:57:15 pm

The Serengeti Wildlife Preserve is roughly 15,000 sq. kilometers, or approx. 8,000 square miles. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 8: The Microscopes and Telescopes of Time
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 18, 2010 at 3:23:11 pm

High speed and time lapse are to time what macro and astronomical photography are to space. We’ve shot time lapse sunsets at our camp to show the transition from day through gorgeous sunset to shutter-open-for-25-seconds night, and then have the laptops come on as we began our daily download. The sun sets like a rock at the equator, and it goes from unbearably hot to ‘where’s another layer to put on’ cold. In between, the Tse-tse flies have a field day. That sharp prick you feel is an injection of something lovely into your system. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 7: Why our ‘A’ Camera can touch your heart
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 17, 2010 at 1:30:15 pm

Now that the Weisscam was sorted out and we had learned how to use it, we started a 3-position rotation, with each Prankster moving daily to a different camera. Our ‘A’ camera was the workhorse of the show. The Fujinon 25:1 and Image Stabilizer could get miraculously tight and steady shots of animals a long, long distance away. Even animals accustomed to close proximity of Land Rovers still get shy, especially if the L/Rovers have large long lenses protruding from them. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Episode 6: A scary day - from electronics and a lion
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 16, 2010 at 1:54:42 pm

Carrying this much electronics into a place with one crude old solder gun with the tip bent up 45° and about to break off is not for the faint of heart. ...


TNMP, Episode 5: Our first day in the park, and our first thoughts about core values, and what this film might be about
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 15, 2010 at 10:52:41 am

[Ed. note: We just heard from Yousef that, in addition to the motion picture footage, they have over 1000 photographs already! He tell us that they're amazing, and we have no doubt that they will be worth the wait. In the meantime, please enjoy the latest installment of their pictures in words.] ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Chapter 4: The Cruel Road . . . The Serengeti . . . Camp!
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 14, 2010 at 10:29:17 am

Bob Poole warned us. The ride was going to be rough. Two L/Rovers with the rear seats removed for camera maneuvering space. Seven hours of roads even the locals called bad. Richard and Dennis with the pedal to the metal - slipping and sliding - teeth rattling washboard roads - climbing the side of the road to let another speeding Kamikaze L/Rover squeeze by on the narrow road - our Maasai drivers throwing their L/Rovers with the accuracy of a spear - and when a big bus or truck comes at us - Holy shit! ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Chapter 3: A miracle! No, a Disaster...No, truly a miracle....No, a....
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 13, 2010 at 12:43:02 pm

Our missing bags contained one of our tripods, the main lens for the EX-350, the alternate lens for the Weisscam, both our monitors, the charger for the Weisscam battery,one of our Ki-Pros and miscellaneous gack. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Chapter 2: A long troublesome trip to Tanzania, with a surprise heroine
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 13, 2010 at 12:31:54 pm

Marcos, Clairmont’s loyal driver, had our 10 large cases of gear at the airport at 6:13 AM on August 10, so we had plenty of time to register them at US customs before our 11:15 AM flight. Customs asked us to schlep all our cases to their office. Once we had, they told us to check them in at Detroit, because we changed planes there. When we mentioned that we only had 40 minutes to make our connection, the customs agent suggested we ask the airline to solve our problem. ...


The New Merry Pranksters, Chapter 1: The gear and preparations
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 13, 2010 at 12:24:50 pm

It took 6 long days for the three of us to check out, trouble shoot and pack our gear, even with all of Clairmont Camera's years of expertise and Denny Clairmont himself nursing us through a challenging Saturday. This was much, much harder than any of us anticipated and without Clairmont's kindness and patience, particularly Irving, Shane, Tom, Brandon, Zack and Steve, we'd still be trying to figure things out. ...


Introducing The New Merry Pranksters
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 13, 2010 at 12:09:28 pm

Dear friends, ...


The New Merry Pranksters: Preface
By: The New Merry Pranksters on Aug 13, 2010 at 11:43:12 am

A Creative COW Introduction to The New Merry Pranksters ...


Is 3-D Here to Stay?
By: Dan Parsons on Feb 17, 2010 at 11:42:46 pm

For me the question is not so much a matter of whether 3-D is here to stay; it's more a question of how long will it take to fully mature? I believe the true maturation of 3-D will be evident when, as a storytelling device, it becomes used and 'forgotten' or 'thrown away' much in the same way color is used in contemporary visual storytelling. When it first became technically possible to make a motion picture in color, a door to a new means of artistic expression was opened for visual storytellers. Whether by the mass acceptance of the technology or...


Film and Digital as Unique Instruments of Artistic Expression
By: Dan Parsons on Oct 22, 2009 at 6:50:44 am

I have often wondered what motion picture audiences would think of film-acquired images if digital imaging had come first. Would the grain structure, the motion blur, the organic judder, and the characteristic soft shoulder inherent in the celluloid medium be lauded, or would these characteristics be labeled simply as artifacts? Would, for instance, the limited dynamic range and sharpness of the digital format be viewed as necessary characteristics to be duplicated or mimicked in film, or would they have been seen, from the beginning, as an artifact to be eliminated by means of research and development. Would film have even...


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