Cineserge

Living a dream as a photographer & filmmaker

Saudi Arabia first female film director?



Check this out this article on CNN about Haifaa Al Mansour, who is Saudi Arabia's first female film director: [The film director who's not allowed to go to the movies - via CNN.com].

Her movie Wadjda claims to be the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia with an all-Saudi cast.

There are no movie theaters in Saudi Arabia, but a member of the Royal Family runs a film production company.  Haifaa says " I hope it will inspire many girls in Saudi to become filmmakers".

 What's next?

  1. Subscribe to updates by email
  2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
  3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

    A brief history of digital video formats



    Here's a handy-dandy chart about the history of video formats.  (Infographic via New Channel Media Blog)

     What's next?

    1. Subscribe to updates by email
    2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
    3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

    HDSLR filmmaker toolkit is a must for indie filmmakers

    HDSLR filmmaker toolkit
    Recently, there’s been a lot of filmmaker apps for smartphones and tablets. This one by BGW Labs is worth a try. Check it out.
    The DSLR Filmmaker Toolkit is a suite of utilities tailored for the modern filmmaker, contained in one iOS application. It has been designed with the DSLR filmmaker in mind, but the large feature set ensures that it’s a must-have app for any passionate filmmaker on a tight budget.

    Ellen McDermott creates surreal photo portraits that are out of this world



    I stumbled onto Ellen McDermott’s blog while browsing some surreal photo portraits after writing an article about making a surreal photo portrait. Ellen is an award winning fine art photographer and high-end professional retoucher living and working in Wicklow, Ireland. Her style is so unique and inspirational, it motivated me to share her work with my readers.

    For the background in the image above she used a stock photo of a room (which appears to be CG). Then she duplicated it and flipped it, creating a symmetrical background which served as a perfect compliment to the posed model. [I’m not a big fan of centered compositions, but this image is the perfect example of when a centered composition absolutely works!] Her technique is clean and balanced - perfect blend of fiction and reality. The monochromatic color scheme is complimented by the bright red flowers on the bottom, which is a nice touch!

    Ellen has several surreal photo portraits on her blog, displaying consistency in style which for many photographers is something to strive for.



    Her image of a girl holding a fish on a tray [posted on her fine art page] is striking. All of the elements are in perfect balance. Girl’s expression, painterly background, as well as flawless post-production are elements that make this image one of my favorites.

    While I can talk about the technical aspects of the image with ease, I can’t describe the emotion that this image evokes. The words I would use to attempt to describe what I’m feeling could be: calm, solidity, worry, uneasy - another words - mixed emotions ;)

    Ellen is represented by Clic Gallery, Soho, New York City, where she will be holding an exhibition of her work there in 2012.It’s definitely worth checking out!

    I also recommend checking out The Irish Arts Blog for more unique and creative artists from Ireland.


     Read more about...

    1. Making a surreal photo portrait
    2. More posts about photography

     What's next?

    1. Subscribe to updates by email
    2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
    3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

    Artomatic opens its doors once again in 2012

    image via artomatic.org

    Artomatic is once again opens its doors on 18 May 2012 in Washington, DC.  I had a chance to participate in Artomatic back in 2008, and let me tell you - it was a great experience! Such a diverse group of artists getting together is a great way to exhibit art, mingle, and network!

    Artomatic features a ton of artists: photographers, painters, filmmakers, sculptors, poets...

    Some of the art is for sale, which is great because you could get a unique piece at a great price!

    So, get off the couch, shut down the Internet, and go check it out!


     What's next?

    1. Subscribe to updates by email
    2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
    3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

    Making a surreal photographic portrait -- 5 photos composited to make the final image



    In this post I will talk about making a surreal portrait (definition) photograph. As an example, I will use the photo I made a few years back titled “My Way” - a surreal portrait of Scott, in which 5 photos were composited together to make the final image.


    The prep.

    The photo of Scott was taken during one of the Visual Content and Form classes. I took 2 images of the sink, because of the positioning of the handles looked weird in the first one. I also took a photo of a spoon (the plate didn’t make it in the final image, obviously ;). I took NYC photo a few years prior.





    And here's the final image:




    Execution:

    I wanted to keep elements to a minimum, thus strengthening the effect of each element on the viewer. The image designed to have a “mirror” quality, so that the viewer can “identify” with Scott by seeing through his eyes (his face reflected in the sink).

    The piece is designed to look a bit like a painting; various elements were manipulated to achieve that look (by having texture, shadows, and depth). The face was blended to have an over saturated look, while allowing water texture in the sink to show through. The background (NYC) was blended to have a soft look and be barely visible, providing the texture. The sink composite was constructed from two images, where a left knob was replaced by a knob in the “open” position.

    Various subtle techniques were employed at the final stage of compositing, like adding side shadow to the spoon, applying a slight vignette to the whole image, and other small adjustments to brightness/contrast/saturation. This version of the final image [which in 2008 was submitted to FotoDC / National Geographic contest and won 1st place] was also processed in Adobe Lightroom to have raised local contrast.

    • Techniques: layer Blending, layer compositing, vignetting.
    • Elements: sink, sink knob (left), NYC aerial, Scott, spoon.
    • Tools: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Lightroom.

    So, whacha think? Leave your feedback in the comments below! You can also share your surreal portrait photo!

     Recommended for you...

    1. Ellen McDermott creates surreal photo portraits that are out of this world
    2. Read more posts about photography

     What's next?

    1. Subscribe to updates by email
    2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
    3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

        1923 Leica sets world record as the most expensive camera - $2.79 million at auction

        Most expensive camera in the world - 1923 Leica - image via thedigitalvisual.com

        1923 Leica sets world record as the most expensive camera - $2.79 million at auction: Read full story at thedigitalvisual.com.

         Read more about photography...

        1. Read more photography posts

         What's next?

        1. Subscribe to updates by email
        2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
        3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

        Toronto International Film Festival 2012


        September 6-16, 2012. Mark your calendars. More info here.

        Related Posts

        1. Related post 1
        2. Related post 2

        What's next?

        1. Subscribe to updates by email
        2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
        3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

        Using centered composition in photography - JPG Magazine photo challenge

        JPG Mag photo challenge. Image via JPG Mag

        Although I certainly prefer off-balance comps that follow the Rule of Thirds, I suppose there’s a place for centered composition. It has more direct effect on the viewer, it also promotes the feeling of balance. Check out this photo challenge from JPG Magazine.

        Related Posts

        1. Check out more photography contests
        2. Related post 2

        What's next?

        1. Subscribe to updates by email
        2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
        3. If you liked this post, please share it!

        2pac hologram explained

        2pac hologram explained



        Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre danced and sang alongside Tupac with what was described by the projection company responsible for the stunt as holographic technology.

        However, Dr Lincoln Turner of the Monash University School of Physics reveals that Tupac actually appeared via common stage-craft known as 'Pepper's Ghost'.
        This illusion involves an image being projected onto a transparent sheet, known as mylar film, using high-definition video projectors, which are reflected off mirrors below the stage. As long as the stage lighting carefully avoided the plastic film, spectators were unaware that they were watching Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre through a screen.

        "Tupac had as much depth as any other 2D projection - none - and the illusion only worked because the audience was too far back to see this," said Dr Turner.  If you haven't seen Tupac hologram - check it here. And above is a video about the technology behind it. Neat stuff!

        source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKM39MHrWlc&feature=youtu.be

        Related Posts

        1. Related post 1
        2. Related post 2

        What's next?

        1. Subscribe to updates by email
        2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
        3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

        Full frame DSLR shootout: Nikon D800, D4, and Canon 5DMkIII

        Full frame DSLR shootout: Nikon D4, Nikon D800, Canon Mark III by Philip Bloom
        Full frame DSLR shootout: Nikon D800, D4, and Canon 5DMkIII - a 30 minute video by Philip Bloom. So Philip says D4 isn’t as sharp as D800 or 5D Mk3… Great in low light, but just “too damn soft”. I guess I’ll have to check that for myself when the D4 ships to me.

        Related Posts

        1. View more videos

        What's next?

        1. Subscribe to updates by email
        2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
        3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

          Photoshop Basics Part 1: Photoshop setup + workspace overview



          This guide is for first-time, novice Photoshop users. More advanced image manipulation techniques will be covered later.

          Have you ever wanted to learn to use Photoshop, but thought it was intimidating? With the shift from film to digital photography, Photoshop brought the dark room to the masses. It provided the tools to make our images better and to unleash our creativity!

          This guide will break down the basics you need to start using it. Remember, this guide covers the basics, so there will be no advanced image manipulation. In this post I’ll walk you through setting up Photoshop on your computer as well as getting used to the workspace.


          1. Setting up Photoshop.

          After launching Photoshop, you’ll see the screen shown below. Intimidating? Perhaps, at first. So there are some tool bars with buttons… no big deal. I’ll walk you through each feature, so that you know what it means, what it does and how to use it.

          This is your workspace. It has a toolbar on the left, your layers palette and navigator on the right, menu bar on top; the photo you’re working on would be in the middle. The menus have all of the commands you need to work on an image, like opening a file, cropping, changing brightness/contrast, etc. Using keyboard shortcuts (covered further in this guide) is faster of course, but first you’d want to get comfortable using the menu items and moving around the workspace first.

          Click on the screenshots to see a larger image
           

          Next, we’ll need to check the settings. Default settings might also work ok, but proper setup will make things better for you in the long run.
          Go into Edit > Preferences > General:

          These setting are self-explanatory. The only thing you’d want to make sure Color Picker is set to Adobe. Photoshop is much better equipped to manage color space than Windows (or MacOS).



          Next click on Interface (on the left side). Make sure that Remember Palette Locations is checked.


          Click down on the next setting: File Handling. Set it up according to the image below:


          Next setting down is Performance. This is an important setting that will influence Photoshop performance. Make sure your Memory Usage is set within the Ideal Range. The most important setting on this screen is Scratch disks. This is how Photoshop manages image manipulation operations during image editing. Ideally, you should have a separate hard drive dedicated to scratch disk operation. Alternatively, you can setup a partition on C:drive to act as a virtual scratch disk for Photoshop. I have a lot of free space on my laptop’s hard drive, so I didn’t partition it, but it is not the optimal setup.

          Next two menu items are Cursors and Transparency / Gamut. You can experiment with these settings to find what you like the best.



          Units and Rulers is another one you’d want to pay attention to. Print resolution should be set to at least 300 ppi. Screen resolution can be 72 or 96 ppi.

           
          Set up the last 3 options as shown below. Gides, Grid, Slices, & Count can be set as you desire. Plug-ins will be discussed later in this guide.






          2. Around the workspace.

          Now that your settings are, well, setup, lets talk about navigating around your workspace. Click OK to close the Preferences box. One of the main tools on your workspace is the Toolbar, located all the way to the left.


          This bar has the tools to perform variety of image editing and manipulation: move tool, selection tool, lasso, magic wand, crop, slice, spot healing, brush, clone stamp, history brush,eraser, gradient, blur, dodge/burn, pen, type, path selection, rectangle, notes, eye dropper, hand tool, zoom tool, and color selection tools. As you learn Photoshop, you’ll use most of these tool to perform various operations on your image. For now, the ones in bold should be the ones you learn to use.

          Move tool allows you to move different elements (layers) of the image around.

          Selection tool will be used to make a shape-based selection of various elements.
          Lasso allows you to make freehand selection, which is handy if you want to cut out and replace a person’s face with another, for example.

          Eraser does what it’s suppose to: erases parts of the image.

          Color selection tools allow you to pick a color for color-fill operations.

          Next, on the right side of the screen is the Navigator. It allows you to adjust the zoom level, and move around the image at high magnification. There’s also a Histogram tab (which we’ll talk about later in this guide). To the left of the Navigation box, there’s a secondary toolbox. For right now the ones you need to know are: history (lets you undo changes step by step), Character, and Paragraph (make adjustment to type).




          Below the Navigator box is the meat and potatoes of Photoshop: Layers. Everything that you do to your image should be done on separate layers, thus giving you the freedom to experiment with different effects, without affecting your original image layer.


          Finally, on top of the workspace is the menu bar as well as some options that change depending on the tool you are using. We’ll get more into it further in this guide.


          For now, go to File > Open, and select any image to practice on. Play with the tools, go to different menus, get comfortable around the workspace. See, its not that intimidating, once you know what’s where and what it’s for.

          Our next step will be making basic image manipulations: cropping, adjusting color/brightness/saturation, making selections, and working with layers.

          Stay tuned!


           What's next?

          1. Subscribe to updates by email
          2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
          3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)

          Nikon D4 shipping from Adorama? Not so fast...

          Nikon D4 shipping from Adorama? Not so fast



          I have been waiting for the Nikon D4 to ship from Adorama for some time now (I pre-ordered it in mid-January 2012) . Calling their Costumer Service proved pointless. Today [10 May 2012] I got this email from Adorama:
          Thank you for placing your order for a Nikon D800/D800E or D4 with us.
          As you know, the Nikon D800/D800E and D4 are currently highly-sought after. The excitement for the these new acclaimed models created a demand that has currently outstripped supply worldwide. Nikon has sent us initial quantities of units and continues to do so on a weekly basis. Those have already been shipped out to customers in a first-in/first-out process. 
          We are fully aware of how eager you are to receive your new camera and how frustrating the wait can be. The lack of clear forthcoming information as to the estimated ship dates only adds to the frustration. We know it and feel it and we’re going bonkers about it. Nothing is more important to us than to deliver a great customer experience, and while it might not be evident, we’re turning the world over to get these hot cameras out to you as fast as humanly possible. We are working closely with our partner, Nikon, to get all orders fulfilled in a timely basis and to hopefully meet your expectations to the extent possible.
          We promise you that as these cameras roll into our warehouse, they won’t linger for even a moment. They will be packed and shipped same-day on a strict first-in/first-out basis.
          Be assured you that we don’t charge your credit card until the order ships. 
          Customers have been asking our customer service and sales personnel questions like: How many units we have on order? How many we have on hold? Where a particular customer is on the waiting list? Please understand that they do not have access to this information. In spite of their genuine desire to be of help, they cannot possibly share information not available to them. We are unable to make this information widely available internally at this time. 
          We fully understand your excitement to get this new Nikon DSLR in your hands, and we deeply regret the inconvenience the wait is causing. We are working diligently and hard (sweating actually!!!) to get it in your hands as soon as possible. 
          Thank you for your understanding and support. We know you placed your trust in Adorama. We are working hard to continue to earn your trust. 
          Sincerely,
          Adorama Camera

           What's next?

          1. Subscribe to updates by email
          2. Follow on Twitter & Facebook
          3. If you liked this post, please share it ;)