Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The totally unofficial CINEMA DECADENCE film festival

If you love movies like I do, it's inevitable that you'll retroactively discover the lost classics.  I've seen many of these films over the years, mostly forced upon me in film studies classes, or at a random film festival.  So why not collect them all, and make my own film festival.  Lacking insight as a  youngling, I stupidly confessed that I avoided any movie made before 1970.  Anything pre-GODFATHER was just not on the bucket list.  Yet, I've mellowed with age and experience, and now seek out the origins of this historically new art form with fresh eyes.  I've meticulously cobbled together this DVD collection (mostly Blu-ray & Criterion) over the last year, and now I get to watch these movies all together in one big broth of cinematic decadence.  Russian, German, Italian, French, Japanese, Indian, Swedish and American cinema are all represented in this personal film festival.  I've grabbed a lot of films from the Toronto Top 100, Martin Scorsese's list of must sees, and my own personal interests.  If something's missing from my grouping, please drop me a comment.  It's a little light on Hitchcock, which I plan to remedy with a few visits to Amazon.com.  I'll be updating this post with brief reviews, and planning some free Tweetup screenings in Los Angeles to watch and discuss, so check back often for full details.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Product Review: Phocus Accent Rig for iPhone 4 & 4S

< So my new Phocus Accent iPhone rig ($99) arrived in the mail yesterday.  This is the Owle Bubo rig upgrade, and I have to say it's quite an impressive new tool for shooting video with your iPhone.  First thing, the composite material is extremely lightweight (lighter than phone), and is a huge change over the previous 99-pound aluminum version.  The Accent comes with a wide angle (macro) and telephoto lens, and has a 37mm lens threading for adding a professional lens adpater (for DSLR lenses).  It has (x3) 1/4-20 mounts, and a coldshoe for mounting gear, like a light or microphone.

< It comes like this.  There is one wide angle lens, a duplicate wide angle lens, and one telephoto lens (with dust cloth).  The Accent body has a 37mm brass threaded lens mount, but it doesn't add weight to the feather-like feel of the Accent.

< Slide your iPhone 4 or 4S inside the Accent.  It's snug as a bug in a rug.  There are ports for power and audio, and the 1/4-20 mounts are perfect for tripod mounting.  The Accent's design keeps the iPhone completely secure inside its walls.  With a lens cap, this thing travels nicely.

< The front of the Phocus Accent mounted on a Bogen Magic Arm.

< Sideview showing the new power port opening (top) and audio port opening (lower).  Thin is in.

< Overall: "A" - the new lightweight composite material and phone-clamp design style solve two huge issues with the previous Owle Bubo product.  While the included lenses aren't quite high end, the 37mm lens mount can be upgraded with the EnCinema 35mm SLR adapter to add professional lens quality and depth of field to your iPhone video.  Would love to see a set of Zeiss Accent lenses.  I can dream.  If you're serious about your iPhone video, this rig system is the one to own.  Phocus Accent $99.

< Accent wide angle shot + iPhone 4S

< Accent telephoto shot + iPhone 4S to match above wide angle shot.  I moved back about 3 feet and re-composed.

< Accent wide angle from same spot as telephoto shot above.

< Macro with the Phocus Accent lens.

< I added the neck strap from my 5DMK3 to the Phocus Accent with an SLR C-Loop mount connector.  I slid in the iPhone, and went for a nice hour long walkabout.  It's cool that the Accent can carry my phone, as well as be ready for a photograph.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Product Review: Double-Headed Nasty Clamp and Nori Square reflector

Review: The Double-headed Nasty Clamp ($59) is a very cool piece of equipment, simply for its versatility in tough situations.  While bendable, the shaft is plenty stiff to hold a variety of devices.  The clamps (hands) are two different sizes, and have plenty of tension.  You can manually lengthen or shorten the shaft length as needed.  I highly recommend this multi-clamp for any good camera kit.  Overall: "A"

< Here, I've got the double-headed Nasty Clamp holding my LitePanels Croma light in different positions.  Could come in handy for a quick setup of some fill light.  It had plenty of stiffness to vertically hold up the weight of the Croma light.

< The double-headed Nasty clamp with the GoPro camera gives a quick angle in the corner.  The big clamp grabs the shelf, and the little clamp holds the GoPro.

< The little clamp has plenty of tension to grab the smallest of objects.

Bonus review: The Nori SquareBounce umbrella reflector ($189).

< From our friends at Wide Open Camera, I found the Nori SquareBounce reflector.  It opens like an umbrella, and will lock in position.  It comes with a carry case, and has both a silver and white umbrella reflector.  Pretty bad ass innovation, and really simple to use.  I like that it can double as a reflector and a sun shade.  I'll take some points because it is pricey, but overall: "A-"

< The compact umbrella-style is unique among reflectors.  No more confusing twists.  If you can operate an umbrella, you can figure out the Nori reflector.

< Opening of the Nori.

< Nori reflector set up.