Secrets Behind the Cinematography of The Revenant

I’ve recently discovered this in-depth video breakdown by the Cinematography Database for The Revenant shot by now three-time Academy Award winning director of photography and master of the craft, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki.

Header-Logo-220x80This video is part of a much larger body of work by DoP and all-round awesome guy, Matt Workman.

Matt’s passion is clear to see, his knowledge base vast and his attention to detail is inspiring. And what he has created and is continuing to build is an incredibly thorough and informative “resource for modern cinematographers”.

Seriously, I am blown away by the depth of knowledge shared in this video and if you are at all interested in studying and learning from the masters, you should just sit and watch this video over and over.

Making Props & Set-Dressing

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 18:
MAKING PROPS & SET DRESSING


“In the property-maker’s room lives the wizard of the studio. He is an inventor, a chemist, a bit of an artist, and an engineer.” — Edward Carrick

The first thing you need to know is what the difference is between Props and Set-Dressing

Prop is short for Property  suggesting that an actor will somehow use such an item as their character’s property. A phone, a compass, a gun, a camera are all Props IF the character uses them in the scene.

BUT if the character does not interact with these items, and the phone or the camera just sit on their desk in their office they become Set-Dressing  these items are not pivotal to the action of the scene but help to make the environment more realistic.

This cool video essay, Why Props Matter,  takes a look at the hidden power of movie props. And how filmmakers use those everyday (and not so everyday) objects to enhance cinematic storytelling.

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Creating Fantasy User Interfaces (FUIs)

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 15:
CREATING FANTASY USER INTERFACES (FUIs)


You’ve probably never heard the term ‘Fantasy User Interface’ but I can guarantee, you know exactly what one is.

An FUI is the super cool and futuristic computer display system found in movies, TV shows and computer games. Obviously these FUIs are not real computer programs but bespoke animations created with the purpose of helping tell the story. In modern filmmaking, most of these FUIs are added in post production but some films still feature on-set displays that the actors can interact with.

For COSMOS we need to create several FUIs of our own, and in researching the topic we found ourselves entering a vibrant sub-culture of FUI designers and admirers. If you’re interested in learning more about the cool user interfaces in your favourite movie, please check out Kit FUI which is basically an IMDb-like database for anything and everything FUI. You can also lose hours marvelling at the intricacy of these designs and enjoy the talents of their creators such as Jayse Hansen, OOOii and Mark Coleran.


 

green screenMoving onto COSMOS we need three different displays for the three main characters to work from. As discussed in a previous post about Building the Goodman Satellite in Blender, we’re big fans of practical and physical effects (for both photographic and budgetary reasons!). (more…)

The Importance of Location Scouting

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 12:
LOCATION SCOUTING


“Location. Location. Location.”

Picture some of the greatest films in cinema history and y0u’ll be blinded by a vast canvas of filming locations… we’re not talking constructed film sets here, we’re talking places out in the real world that the crew have travelled to.

Filming on practical locations is at the very heart of cinema itself — Just watch this stunning tribute montage to the late, great Tony Scott (expertly crafted by sigug) and keep an eye on all the amazing locations he used…


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What Is COSMOS?

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 2:
WHAT IS COSMOS?


What’s COSMOS? And what happened to ENCOUNTER?!

So, here’s the deal. For those of you that don’t know, back in 2010 Zander and I went into development on an independent feature called Encounter; a 120 minute sci-fi thriller intended for theatrical distribution (aim for the top right, why not?)

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After writing a script (’09-’10), putting together a budget and production schedule, and attaching a core team of esteemed film industry professionals (’10-’11), we began the long and unenviable task of trying to raise the finance. (Video production blogs of all that work can be found here). We worked with a corporate-finance team to develop a solid business plan and strategy and began approaching potential investors at the beginning of 2012. And although we had some brilliant meetings with some very receptive parties who were excited by the project, the recurring comment was that we, as the Directors, were the weak link in the project. And that, is a very fair point.

The budget for Encounter is not small, we’re not going to go into it now but suffice to say it’s a significant sum of money to trust to two blokes who’ve never actually directed a feature before. We’re experience directors in shorts and TV and we know we can make this film but we’re also not naive to the risks of film production.

And this is where Cosmos comes in. At the beginning of 2013 we had a choice to make; do we continue to push ahead with Encounter and work away until we secure the finance, or do we take a slight detour, make a much lower budget indie that proves we can see a feature through to the end (which is also hopefully good!!) and in turn be able to use that film to get Encounter off the ground?

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Follow The COSMOS Movie Blog

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COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 1:
FOLLOW US!


“THE TRUTH FINDS US”

ACCESS ALL AREAS:

Please follow the production of this Feature Film for weekly and monthly updates on Production News, Casting Calls and Crew Jobs.

We know that filmmakers are generally secretive about their work, teasing a few behind-the-scenes photos here and there. But with COSMOS we’re giving you an access-all-areas pass to watch the full production of the film on its journey from script-to-screen.

  • Sit in on the script writing process.
  • Watch storyboard art turn into reality.
  • Follow the edit and visual effects process.
  • Get to know the cast and crew.
  • Hear the soundtrack evolve from a concept piece to concert piece.

We want to share this journey with you; become part of our crew and follow all the on and off-set action through our exclusive video blogs, on-set b-rolls and articles written by cast and crew; all available exclusively on this blog and our official COSMOS Twitter.

With delivery of this film scheduled for Winter 2014, this is sure to be a fast-paced, seat-of-your-pants insight into ‘how it’s made’.

Our next posts are about WHY we’re making this film and HOW the idea evolved.

Thanks for your support and if you have anything you’d specifically like us to feature, please get in touch.


 

Ell & Zand

Zand & Ell

Elliot Weaver & Zander Weaver
Directors/Producers
COSMOS Team @CosmosMovie

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