Wagner Sights VistaVision Camera No. 1

Credit: Roy Wagner, ASC.

Credit: Roy Wagner, ASC.

Roy Wagner, ASC, and I recently had a fascinating conversation about two VistaVision cameras that registered on his radar when he was asked to authenticate them. VistaVision was, of course, the widescreen format developed by Paramount in 1954. The 8-perf horizontal 35mm format was used in production on dozens of movies, including White Christmas, The Ten Commandments, The Rose Tattoo and Vertigo.

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Palm Springs Photo Fest Rejuvenates Primes


The effects of magic hour in downtown Los Angeles were heightened with “some adventuresome color correction” by photographer Robert Primes, ASC. “Modern digital cameras have unprecedented chromatic and dynamic range,” he says. “You just have to let your inhibitions go and commit some time to isolating areas to work on.”

Robert Primes, ASC, recently returned from a week at the Palm Springs Photo Festival, where he spent time with master still photographers such as William Albert Allard, best known for his work in National Geographic. The experience left Bob transformed, rejuvenated and inspired to be “as great a still photographer as my talents will allow.”

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Vargo on Shooting Season 2 of Salem


Anne (Tamzin Merchant) is one of the witches in the WGN American drama Salem. (Credit: Sam Lothridge/20th Century Fox)

Mark Vargo, ASC, is the director of photography on the current season of Salem, WGN America’s 17th century drama, after spending the show’s first season as the second-unit cinematographer. He came to the project with second-unit experience on more than 30 movies, including Transcendence and White House Down, as well as director of photography credits on several television projects. “I’m from Virginia, and I minored in American history, so the early days of the New World are very interesting to me,” he says.

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Isaacks on Inspiration: Bluegrass and Wine Country

A photo by Levie Isaacks, ASC.

A photo by Levie Isaacks, ASC.

In a recent conversation with Levie Isaacks, ASC, we discussed music and its relation to cinematography — a favorite topic of mine. Levie has always loved music, but he picked up the guitar relatively late in life, about 15 years ago. He began attending a weekly jam session in Northridge, Calif., at the Blue Ridge Pickin’ Parlor, which is dedicated to teaching, repairing instruments and nurturing a family atmosphere. (The operation is now located in Granada Hills.) Levie says one of the things he has learned is that “your playing gets a lot better if you play with other people.”

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