Archive for the 'thefilmbook' Category

VR Cinema 5 : Futures

thefilmbook by Benjamin B
This is the fifth and final post in my introductory series on Virtual Reality Cinema.

Here I outline possible futures.

Dome projection at the SAT in Montreal -thefilmbook-

Projection onto the dome at the SAT in Montreal

1. cameras
2. headsets
3. distribution
4. Stereo, Pano, Ciné + camera & software
5. environments, events & processes
6. loci
7. audio
8. domes
9. interactivity
10. recording depth maps
11. empathy & uncanny valley
12. futures

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VR Cinema 4: Content

thefilmbook by Benjamin B
Greetings from London. This is the fourth post in my series on Virtual Reality Cinema.

Cinema is a technological art, which means that the technology helps to define the art, and vice-versa. So far, in this series of posts, we’ve detailed some of the technology that makes VR movies possible. Now let’s look at the content.

What follows are some characteristics of VR movies I’ve seen and some thoughts from VR practitioners I’ve spoken with. I purposely limit my remarks to videos made with cameras, as opposed to computer-generated animations. I’ve also excluded VR movies that can only be seen with Samsung Gear or Oculus Rift prototype headsets.

Clouds Over Sidra-

The refugee-camp bakery in Clouds Over Sidra

1. simple beginnings
2. being there
3. fixed or moving 360
4. shorts
5. documentary versus fiction
6. theater without a crew
7. editing?
8. intimacy
9. Clouds Over Sidra
10. empathy

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VR Cinema 3: Cameras

thefilmbook by Benjamin B
Greetings from Normandie. This is the third post in my series on Virtual Reality Cinema.

My first post introduced the Google Cardboard headset.

My second post presented the Cardboard app, and showed the mapping of a sphere on to a flat equi-rectangular image. I also detailed the making of a 360-degree dance movie, Blanca Li 360, shot with two camera viewpoints.

This post offers some examples of Camera Systems for shooting VR movies. Note that this is not an exhaustive catalogue.

1st Jaunt Camera with 32 lenses -thefilmbook-

The first prototype of Jaunt’s 360 stereo 3-D camera had 32 lenses and 4 microphones

VR glossary
1. Theta camera
2. Freedom360 system
3. stitching software
4. latest smartphones
5. stereo 360
6. Jaunt
7. Google Jump

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VR Cinema 2: Image Spheres

thefilmbook by Benjamin B
Greetings from Forza d’Agro in Sicily, where I am attending the Terre di Cinema cinematography event.

This post continues my investigation of Virtual Reality Cinema. If you haven’t read my first post about Google Cardboard, I encourage you to do so now.

I must stress that I am not a VR expert. I am simply a VR newbie who is trying to understand the cinematic implications of the new VR tools. Please don’t hesitate to give me your corrections and suggestions in the comments below.

Blanca Li 360 equirectangular frame 1 -thefilmbook-

A frame from Blanca Li 360. Note spatial distortion at top and bottom. (

1. headsets
2. Cardboard app
3. Earth maps
4. Blanca Li 360
5. camera issues

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VR Cinema 1: Google Cardboard

thefilmbook by Benjamin B2015 may well mark a turning point in the development of immersive, Virtual Reality cinema.

This post is an introduction to the cheapest immersive cinema viewer: the Google Cardboard. My next posts will investigate production possibilities to create VR cinema.

google cardboard -thefilmbook-

Looking at Virtual Reality with Google Cardboard and a smartphone

1. Edison Kinetoscope
2. Oculus buzz
3. Google Cardboard
4. stereo and 3-D
5. 360 or ride
6. video VR

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Video of Roger Deakins Tribute in Cannes

thefilmbook by Benjamin BRoger Deakins, ASC, BSC, received the Angénieux ExcelLens prize for cinematography during the Cannes Film Festival last month.

This post looks back at the ExcelLens ceremony, and features video of some of the speeches given by Roger Deakins, the Coen brothers, and actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Frances McDormand.

Roger Deakins applauded by friends -photo Pauline Maillet -thefilmbook-

Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC, holds his Angénieux zoom and is applauded by:
Pierre Andurand, Suzel Pietri, Denis Villeneuve, Agnieszka Holland, James Deakins,
Ethan Coen, Frances McDormand, Joel Coen, Jake Gyllenhaal and Irène Jacob
(photo Pauline Maillet)

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Cannes 2015: Women Warriors & Sexual Emancipators

thefilmbook by Benjamin BThis post presents some of the themes that struck me in Cannes.

This year I was struck by the emergence of strong women characters, notably women warriors and sexual emancipators.

Furiosa fights

Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road

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Cannes 2015 – Dheepan & Son of Saul

thefilmbook by Benjamin BThis post focuses on two films that struck me at the Cannes Film Festival: Dheepan, which won the Palme d’or, and Son of Saul, which won the runner-up award, the Grand Prix.

The jury led by the Coen brothers gave its top two awards to films that speak of Europe’s present and past.

Cannes - Jacques Audiard with lead actors of Dheepan-

Actor Antonythasan Jesuthasan, director Jacques Audiard and actress Kalieaswari Srinivasan at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival

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Cinematographers at Cannes 2015

thefilmbook by Benjamin BThe 2015 Cannes Film Festival has just begun. Although there is a lot of publicity about the films and directors at Cannes, much less is said about the cinematographers.

As a start, this post lists some of the films that will be screened in the next 11 days, and identifies some of cinematographers involved. There are, of course, many more…

2015 Cannes Festival poster-

Actress Ingrid Bergman on the poster for the 2015 Cannes film festival

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Gordon Willis: A Web Reference

thefilmbook-by-Benjamin-BThis post is a Web reference for the late, great Gordon Willis, ASC, with annotated links to all the interesting online texts and videos, interviews and articles, that I could find about the cinematographer.

In a future post, I will offer a conclusion to my three previous posts about Gordon Willis. The posts were based on the tribute I organized with Stephen Pizzello at Camerimage 2014, with help from ASC members Caleb Deschanel, Ed Lachman, Matthew Libatique and Vilmos Zsigmond. (My friend Stephen recently finished writing a book about Gordon.)


Gordon Willis receiving a standing ovation at the ceremony for his 2009 honorary Oscar

In preparing my future post, I wanted to be sure that I consulted all the most important online material about Gordon. As I researched, compiled and annotated this list of links, I realized that it might be of service to others interested in exploring Gordon’s work, as there is no other such reference, to my knowledge.

So below is my annotated web reference for Gordon Willis. Note that this resource does not include any film excerpts, just material directly about Gordon, and his cinematography.

1. AC tribute
2. Richard Crudo
3. John Bailey
4. Gordon’s Oscar
5. Visions of Light
6. Cinematographer Style
7. Craft Truck
8. other interviews
9. articles & biographies
10. the Willis frame
11. selected obituaries
12. thefilmbook

Of course, I would be delighted to get any additions or comments you may have. So, if I have missed some important text or video, please let me know. I plan to keep updating this page so it can remain a good reference.
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