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Can you build your own DIY shoulder rig?

So It's January and your broke because you've spent all your hard earned cash over Christmas and New Year.

Or perhaps you are feeling thrifty and fed up of lining the pockets of kit manufacturers?

Well here's a idea for saving a few quid on peripherals if you're not too busy and fancy a bit of DIY.

Your very own home built shoulder rig for a DSLR camera, which our friends at NoFilmSchool brought to our attention.

Take a look at Dan Chung explaining how you can make your own for under £50.

Posted 23 January 2015 by David Wood

CES highlight: DJI's 4K drone

One of the more eye catching highlights of CES this year was the launch of a 4K drone by chinese manufacturer DJI, best known for the Phantom quadcopter.

The Inspire 1 drone is designed specifically for filmmakers and at around £2,000 isn’t the cheapest drone on the market, but it does boast some eyecatching features and is clear capable of producing some amazing images.

DGI claims the Inspire 1 is the world’s most advanced drone and will re-define aerial filming, and it has hired the services of filmmaker Philip Bloom to explain why.

As Philip points out it has a unique carbon fibre architecture which can be moved out of the way to give an unobstructed 360 degree view.

It’s camera shoots 4K video at 24, 25 and 30fps and HD at 24, 25, 30 50 and 60fps.

The camera can be upgraded and is supported by three axis gimbal technology.

DJI says the drone can fly indoor, can hover with good stability and  is easy to control. It also can display HD footage at a range of 1km so that you can view rushes as you shoot them.

DJI’s Michael Perry commented at CES: "The Inspire 1 has a 4K camera on board for really high-resolution images.”

“It has a retractable leg design so that while it's in the air, the camera can rotate 360 degrees, allowing you to have a lot more control of the image while you're in flight.”

“You also have a two operator set up. One person operates the platform. Another person can operate the gimbal. You can also operate everything by a single operator but sometimes you want a little more control over the image while it's flying." 

The Inspire 1 has a maximum flight time of around 18 minutes and can reach an altitude of up to 4,500 metres.

DJI has also released a video of its latest product releases at CES.


Posted 09 January 2015 by David Wood

Union VFX's latest work on The Theory of Everything

Union VFX completed 160 shots on James Marsh’s Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, which opened in cinemas at the beginning of January.

Union, which carried out all vfx work on the film, completed the shots from design and pre-visualization to final execution.

The shots included an end titles sequence where a two minute journey through space was created flying past several nebulae, into a black hole and then through the nervous system of the body.

The sequence was created in Houdini.

The monitor which Hawking uses to communicate with in the film was also re-designed by Union in post and the timings of the text were adjusted for dramatic effect to make it clearer for the viewer. 

Some crowd replication and car green screen work was also carried out.

Union VFX lead visual effects supervisor and co-founder Adam Gascoyne, says : ‘This is our first project with James Marsh and we worked very closely with him to develop a visual interpretation of Hawking’s theories.

"We tried to come up with a look and feel for the period and wanted the visions to be very subtle in keeping with the context of the film.
"Simple things like reversing the motion of cream being added to coffee using Houdini fluid simulations, the animation of embers flying out of the fire and the explosion of the pupil representing Hawking’s heat radiation theory have had considerable visual impact on an already compelling story.

“It’s creatively much more exciting and gives significantly more bang for your buck to factor in the vfx development process rather than try and fix it in post,” added Gascoyne.
Union VFX is currently working with Working Title Films on Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong biopic, based on the book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by Irish sports journalist David Walsh.

Other projects include Sarah Gavron's Film4 backed movie Suffragette.

Posted 07 January 2015 by David Wood
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