COW NEWSLETTER: Recent Newsletters Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Following his nominations for Best Cinematography from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the American Society of Cinematographers for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network, Jeff Cronenweth, ASC was behind the lens for Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins as the iconic filmmaker. Set during the filming of the suspense classic Psycho, it's anything but a documentary. As Jeff tells us, "It was an historic love story, and one that very few people know. I went to USC Film School and I never even knew about Hitchcock's wife Alma [played by Helen Mirren] or her contributions, and the integral part she played in his movies. So it wasn't like we were trying to copy Psycho and we didn't have those responsibilities, but it opened the door to sneaking in some of Hitchcock's techniques and processes."

Jeff spoke to us about shooting 5K with the RED Epic, and the challenges that came from staying in the world of the 1960s, and wanting to embrace Hitchcock's sensibilities wherever they could. There were some additional time constraints associated with the time needed for the prosthetics that Anthony Hopkins wore to resemble Hitchcock. "In the final analysis," Jeff tells us, "the greatest challenge in shooting Hitchcock was also the greatest inspiration. That's always true: obstacles become inspiration as soon as you stop fighting the challenges and embrace them."

Don't miss this intimate look at the creative process, from one of the finest cinematographers working today.

Hitchcock: Behind the Lens with Jeff Cronenweth, ASC
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Well before David Boyd A.S.C. shot a single frame of The Walking Dead, Deadwood, or Friday Night Lights, he was the cinematographer for every episode of the short-lived, much-loved series Firefly, from writer-director Joss Whedon.

Whedon was hot off successes with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, and a decade before helming and co-writing one of the most popular movies of all time, Marvel's The Avengers. Firefly met a far different fate, however: canceled after only 11 of its 14 episodes had aired. To say that the show's popularity has grown since then is an understatement. Fan demand led to a Firefly feature film (Serenity), and a Comic-Con 2012 Firefly reunion panel saw fans camping out overnight for entry into the standing-room only 5000-seat hall.

David talks to Creative COW about shooting Firefly, the show's remarkable life since its premature cancellation, and its passionate fans. "I've done things I may be more happy or proud about with regard to creativity," says David. "I did a short titled Two Soldiers, which won an Academy Award. But when people get wind of the fact that I shot Firefly, they're in awe."

Read David's article at
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Cloud Atlas is a complex and lyrical film directed by Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. Tykwer brings a strong background in action features with complex stories (see, Run Lola Run, The International), and with The Matrix trilogy, the Wachowskis stretched the action, storytelling, and visual vocabulary of film as few others ever have. Everything that the three of them had ever created contributed to the power of Cloud Atlas, which spans 500 years and a dozen main characters that re-appear in each new story.

Audiences have admittedly been divided on their response to the movie as a whole, but they have universally acclaimed the film's breathtaking visuals. More than a dozen visual effects facilities collaborated closely to bring alive the past and future worlds depicted in its six intertwined stories. Method is one of the houses who helped create these amazing worlds, taking advantage of three of their facilities, in London, Vancouver and Los Angeles. To learn more, Creative COW's Debra Kaufman spoke to the teams at Method, as well as Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Glass, who has worked with the Wachowskis since 2003.

Read more about Cloud Atlas: The VFX.
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

As part of Creative COW's ongoing look at high frame rate (HFR) cinema production and exhibition, we spoke with Michael Karagosian, co-chair of SMPTE's HFR Study Group, about his thoughts on the ways that higher frame rates factor into digital cinema, in both 2D and 3D, from camera capture to the silver screen.

Michael has had a front row seat for the unfolding of a wide range of cinema and digital cinema technologies for the past 30 years. He developed 70mm split surround for the release of Apocalypse Now, the pre-cursor to 5.1 sound, and one of the companies he founded was the first to produce a full line of THX approved cinema sound products, utilizing Michael's CinemaMatrix™ digital surround decoder, also used by Skywalker Sound and Pixar.

At SMPTE, Michael initiated and chaired the development of digital cinema packaging (DCP), following his work on behalf of longtime clients, the National Association of Theater Owners, as part of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI). He was awarded the ShoWest Award of Appreciation for Contribution to the Advancement of Digital Cinema in 2006.

Looking for real-world insights into the state of current and future HFR cinema, in both 2D and 3D? Don't miss Michael's provocative conversation with Creative COW.
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

The year's first film to widely be considered a lock for Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, Argo has also earned a rare A+ Cinemascore rating from ticketbuyers who've seen it.

Argo tells the recently declassified true story of six Americans who escaped the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran -- by pretending to be filmmakers! Shooting this remarkable tale posed a number of challenges for director Ben Affleck, since not a single frame could be shot in the Iranian capital.

Instead, audiences travel there through the "invisible effects" created with visual effects supervisor Matt Dessero and CG supervisor Michael Sean Foley at Method Los Angeles, whose teams provided compelling illusions that serve as the perfect backdrop for this tale of life and death sleight of hand.

Read more in Argo's Invisible Effects Create 1970s Tehran
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Sunday night's episode of Homeland was one of the most stunning yet for the Showtime series that won the Emmy® Award for Best Drama just a few weeks ago. It was directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, featured in Creative COW Magazine just after she won a DGA Award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series, Night" for directing Mad Men. Having now directed over 100 episodes of TV, plus several features and shorts, hers is an amazing story of team-building on the fly, creating compelling stories under intense deadlines.

When we originally spoke to her, we pointed out that her career raises the question: where do you go when your first film is nominated for an Academy Award®, your next job is for Steven Spielberg, and just a few years later you earn your first DGA Award nomination working for David Lynch? For Lesli, the answer has been -- you go anywhere you want to! We spoke to Lesli about directing for both episodic TV and film, visual storytelling, and a journey that began at AFI's Directing Workshop for Women.

Join us now on A Storyteller's Journey.
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

It turns out that there are sometimes problems more pressing than Apple's plans for FCPX, or ARRIRAW worfklow for DaVinci Resolve. Fast, authoritative answers to these kinds of questions are at the heart of what has been providing for a dozen years, but the real problems aren't always at work: sometimes, they're at home.

Kylee Wall is among the members of Creative COW thinking about adding kids to her family. Hundreds of thousands of the 2 million people who pass through every month already have kids, of course, but we still very rarely talk about family issues with our production and post-production peers. Kylee is taking steps to address this with her new series, "Parenthood In Production And Post," starting with "Being An Editor Dad." Readers -- and there are a lot of them -- are already responding strongly to the series, both in the COW and across Twitter, Facebook and beyond. Take a look for yourself, and continue the conversation about what really matters.

Parenthood In Production And Post: Being An Editor Dad.
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Sony's F65 camera was brand new when seasoned cinematographer Michael Goi, A.S.C. decided to be the first to use it to shoot for television: the pilot of the NBC comedy hit The New Normal. A past president of the American Society of Cinematographers, Michael's other recent projects include Glee and the first two seasons of American Horror Story, the second of which will begin airing Wednesday, October 17 -- and which Michael is shooting on 35mm film.

"Every format opens up its own creative possibilities," he says, and as much as he enjoys working digitally when the project calls for it, there are aspects of film-based workflows that he still prefers. "I prefer to work with a dailies timer as opposed to a 'lab-in-a-box' approach. I have always been most comfortable with having another pair of eyes in the dailies timing room on the footage that have been shot. I'm the kind of person who likes to go in at 2 am and sit down with the dailies timer and talk about the footage and the artistic objectives."

Michael also talks about the ways that camera choices affect the entire set, -- and not just the shooting crew -- and how all of that filters into post. Insights abound in this exclusive conversation with Creative COW from one of the industry's most respected cinematographers.
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Lawrence of Arabia. The name itself conjures far more than the stunning performance by Peter O'Toole in David Lean's 1962 film of the same name. It conjures words like "epic," "groundbreaking," "landmark," and a host of superlatives that point to Lawrence of Arabia as one of a handful of films that vie for the title of greatest ever.

Sony Pictures Entertainment recently finished a 3-year process culminating in a stunning 4K restoration of this masterpiece, completed just in time for the film's 50th anniversary. Guided by Sony Executive Vice President Grover Crisp, the massive restoration project engaged cutting-edge technology and expertise from Sony Colorworks DI facility as well as Prasad Corporation and MTI Film, working together on a newly scanned negative. One of the most beautiful films of all time is now more gorgeous than ever.

Remarkably enough, Lawrence of Arabia was first restored in 1988, in a process supervised by director Lean and the film's editor, Anne V. Coates. While the process at that time was able to camouflage a number of major problems, the 4K scan in 2009 made apparent how much work was still ahead of them to prepare Lawrence for its 50th anniversary celebration.

Consider this story required reading for anyone interested in cutting edge technology in general, and certainly for anyone looking for deeper insights into one of the true pinnacles of filmmaking.
Subscribe or Unsubscribe

There may not be any more controversial topic in cinematography than high frame rates. Dave Stump, ASC, is a co-chair of the SMPTE Working Group on High Frame Rate Cinema, and hopes to help the industry make some sense of it. The upcoming releases of The Hobbit and Avatar 2 have highlighted a number of issues that the entire filmmaking community is going to have deal with, including exhibitors.

Dave wears a number of additional hats at other organizations. He is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Visual Effects Society (VES), the Society of Operating Cameramen (SOC), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). At the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), he co-chairs the subcommittee for Cameras, as well as the subcommittee for Metadata.

In other words, Dave is a man who knows something about standards -- and as he points out, "SMPTE standards and recommended practices don't extend to higher frame rates, so the HFR working group was a necessary step towards that."

A winner of an Academy Award for Technical Achievement as well as a cinematographer, VFX cinematographer, VFX supervisor and much more, Dave speaks from a variety of perspectives as he describes the early days of progress towards standards for High Frame Rate cinema.

Read the article online at

Subscribe or Unsubscribe
© 2018 All Rights Reserved