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Photo © Zeynep Gizem Küçükaksoy

NisiMazine *19 March 09

Cameras


Editorial Y

ou like to watch?

As long as we have been looking we have been on a quest to find tools that capture images and reality whether tinkered by us or taken in “as it is”. Think about the quality of your birthday video and the tiny machine you used to capture the maturing process of the person in front of it even if just for a moment. How about a wedding video in something that equals 70mm? Does the quality really matter when all it has created is a massive jump in quantity but perhaps not at all in the strength of the content? In this issue we focus on digital film cameras, those much talked about cool devices that make us ask: “does it look as good as film?!” But what has been the most concrete effect of the digital cameras for now? Yes, everyone can make a film of…some quality…

But if you talk to the older industry professionals (many of them men) you often hear that digital has emancipated, equalized the industry, at least a bit. For the older generations if you knew how to put a machine gun together you more than likely would learn how to assemble one of those old heavy cameras and be able to carry them (both machines having something to do with shooting anyway) as well. The quest for lighter cameras with more options, better performance and smaller bodies will continue and out there on the field DOPs and cameramen will come up with new ideas and gadgets to get the latest tools even more up to date (like DOP John Bailey’s quest for new set of anamorphic lenses). But today whether you are a boy or a girl, it does not take long when you have already had your first encounter with a camera. Surely this is not bad for the development of our movies? Or at least birthday videos.

Atso Pärnänen

For more info on NISI MASA activities, check out www.nisimasa.com!

Agenda March, 14 - 23 Alba (Italy) NISI MASA film journalism workshop March, 18 - 21 Alba (Italy) NISI MASA General Assembly March, 16 - 22 Alba (Italy) Script & Pitch IV, Session 1

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Next Issue...

NISIMAZINE # 20 ~ April 2009 Special focus: Expat filmmakers

Portrait: Joanna Gallardo (EO) IN THE SPOTLIGHT: CINEstesias (SPAIN)

Nisimazine is a monthly newsletter published by the association NISI MASA. EDITORIAL STAFF Director of publication Esra Demirkiran Editor-in-chief Nina Henke Secretary of the editorial Maximilien Van Aertryck Layout Nina Henke Contributors to this issue Zoltán Aprily, Dániel Deák, Guillaume Giovanetti, Anne Kennes, Zeynep Gizem Küçükaksoy, Julien Melebeck, Metin Özçakır, Atso Pärnänen, Gülcin Sahin, Filip Syczynski, Maximilien Van Aertryck, Çagla Zencirci NISI MASA (European Office) 10 rue de l’Echiquier, 75010, Paris, France; Tel/Fax: + 33 (0)1 53 34 62 78 + 33 (0)6 32 61 70 26 Email europe@nisimasa.com Website www.nisimasa.com


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Cameras

Shooting in Tokyo with the Panasonic AG-HMC155

e had the opportunity to shoot our last film (a fiction documentary named Six) in Tokyo, Japan, last December. After our previous fiction, Ata, shot on Super 16 mm, back to the HD shooting... with its pros & cons!

On the other hand, it records the information by creating clips when you start and stop recording, you then just need to drag those clips to your editing software. It's more practical to make the derushing. But before that, you need to convert the raw information which is on those clips. And here starts hell: it's a brand new codec, which is only compatible with the up-to-date post-production material. Our poor 4-year old Mac was unable to do anything (FCP HD and our QuickTime were out of the game), so it forced us to find extra-budget to make the post-production in studios! So as a short conclusion, we'll say that it's an excellent camera, but not for people who do everything at home. OK, now enjoy your shootings; we'll enjoy your movies! http://czggfilms.free.fr/home.html

Çagla Zencirci & Guillaume Giovanetti

© czggfilms

As directors, we didn't manipulate the Camera ourselves, but our DOP Yuichi Nagata did. We used a Panasonic Cam for the 1st time, an AVCHD, with SDHC memory cards, same as the famous P2. Well, the standard images were obviously « warmer » that the Sony Cams (which have a « metallic » look). So, if you don't plan any colour grading, better to know it in advance. What impressed us the most with this camera is the way it works in low light conditions. We worked for the 2/3 of the shoot in half darkness (outdoor and indoor), with no additional lights, and it's the best we've had so far. No ugly « digital noise » that the Z1 or other HDV may give. And for a camera of this size, it's a real performance. Second good point: the angle of the lens. More than just a powerful zoom (that we didn’t use); the Cam has a 28mmequivalent lens, which was for our case very practical. In daylight we had a mini-35 adapter with several lenses that we removed in our last -and main- location, a 15 m2 (!) bar, too dark for it. Eventually, the 28 mm default lens became crucial to have wider shots!

Let’s talk about the memory cards: Well, they’re so small you may lose them anytime... More seriously, they claim there'll be less problems compared to tapes (playing head problems e.g.), why not… What is certain is that it's expensive! So, if you're shooting a lot (more than 15 or 20 hours), either you'll have to spend more (a DV tape costs 2 or 3 Euros), or you'll have to constantly empty the cards to hard-drive devices. And what if there is a technical problem during the transfer? Go back and shoot again!

© czggfilms

W

CAMERAS

QUIZ

1. RED 2. John Logie Baird 3. Three Charge- Coupled Devices 4. A magnetic tape 5. Panavision Genesis 6. Brian Singer’s Superman Returns 7. 2005 by Jim Jannard founder of Oakley 8. From NASA, they were developed for the Apollo moon landings.

NISI

1.Which color is also the name of the most talked about digital camera of the past few years? 2. The earliest video cameras were those used by the BBC in the 1930s and based on the Nipkow disk. Who designed the cameras? 3. What does “3CCD” stand for? 4. What is videotape actually? 5. What is Panavision’s high-end digital movie camera called? 6. Which feature film was the first to be shot with it? 7. When was the Red Digital Cinema company founded? 8. When Kubrick was filming Barry Lyndon from where did he get the special lenses?

by Atso Pärnänen


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Cameras

Letters and numbers

Choosing a camera

W

hen I was telling my friends about my new Canon digital HD (or is it HDV?) camera I bought, I felt stupid. Why? Because it is impossible to memorize and know about all the technical vocabulary such a small piece of plastic is confronting us with. First I said “it’s HD”, “it can record 1920x1080”. I showed off and went on: “It can do 1080p and ehm… 1080i”. I thanked God nobody would ever ask what all this really means. I thought I could smarten me with Wikipedia, but I drowned in seconds in an ocean of resolutions, formats, codec, interlaced or progressive, 24-fps on 60 Hz or 1080/60i and video compressions. It felt a bit like these flat screen TV’s they were selling not so long ago, and nobody knew what the difference between “Ready”, “Compatible” and “Full” was. In the near future, people will be working in production companies and be in charge of coordinating and easing this small chaos of easylooking letters and numbers. I don’t want to be that guy. The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age by Steven Asche and Edward Pincus (Plume,2007)

© Luca Percivalle

Maximilien Van Aertryck

A

camcorder, from the simplest to the most sophisticated one is designed to function in an “all-automatic” way. So the video director can use his camera without being concerned with the manual adjustments. Almost all of the special effects that once were used during the shooting are now useless because, it is easier and more efficient to create them at the editing stage. If you like to have a 100% sound quality related to the digital, you should check at first that the camera you are planning to purchase has an external microphone and an audience headphone entrance. There are lots of choices of cameras that can allow you a high quality sound recording. You should choose your camera according to the use. But if you have a limited budget combined with a great talent, nothing can prevent you of creating some masterpieces. 1. Family and leisure activity use Choose an automatic model, light, easy to handle, moderate price. 2. You want to carry your camera everywhere with you Choose a DV or HD camcorder which has a vertical architecture, is compact and doesn’t weigh more than 500 g. These cameras have an extremely minimised design which makes them easy to film with but their performance is better if you use them in an automatic mode. The buttons are small, and the menu is a bit complicated, so you need to have good finger coordination. 3. High technique and artistic use To receive a high quality image and an optimal sound, chooicktse a tri-sensor that allows you a manual adjustment of all the essential functions. This professional use involves constraints and specific caring. Compare and analyse the performances of the cameras according to the priority of the characteristics of your domain. (maximal sensitivity, focal of the zoom, handiness, sound recording quality, etc.)

Zeynep Gizem Küçükaksoy

The RED Camera It was talked, anticipated, waited, could it be that it was really coming? And then it finally arrived. The RED camera. This wonder of modern filmmaking was first used in Peter Jackson’s short movie called Crossing the line and from then on it has been welcomed by the cineastes and professional as a revolution in the camera department. Red puts the whole high quality definition of film technology in to a small and light camera that will let filmmakers to create new ways for shooting. To pack up and go running. To search for those special frames. The camera is manufactured by the Red Digital Cinema Company which was founded by Jim Jannard who also founded Oakley. With RED you get the same Depth of Field and selective focus as found in film cameras using equivalent 35mm P/L mount lenses without any chemical or analogue process -entirely in the digital environment. Like many cameras and film equipment this is bound to see changes and improvements as it has now gone through its first proper feature film shoot. Steven Soderbergh, the director who often also works as his own cameraman put the RED camera into a proper test and using it in such a big production as Soderbergh’s latest makes one of the most talked about cameras of recent time show its true colours and qualities for us. With Panavision Genesis and RED we might finally be taking a proper step towards talking about digital cameras in a way where the first question is not: Does it look like film? A lot of technical specifics and gadgets will still need to evolve but that is also part of filmmaking. Visioning the tools that you will use to mold the clay. Link to Soderbergh talking about RED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yo32Zn70LIw

Atso Pärnänen & Gülçin Sahin


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Cameras

The way they make us see it

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girl, sitting at the edge of the shore – placed at the edge of the frame as well -, looking through the water (a lake? a sea? an ocean?), with an uncanny look of the nature around her, accompanied by some weird sounds and music... This would probably leave the audience into its own world within the limitations of the visual material. The atmosphere, that was built by the director, would most probably help the audience create, combine and re-create its feelings and have its own trip with the help of the director. Everything in a visual material - except for the ‘chance’ of something to be included unexpectedly, but/and in a good way - is a decision made by the director. Unlike photographs, movies supply motion that might be considered as a limitation towards the freedom of imagination of the audience. This can be seen in the difference between the novel and the adapted movie of the novel. The characters (including the way they look, behave, breath), the place, etc. might be a way much different than how it was imagined for the movie. One of the most important elements of a movie –other than the story and/or the sounds- that has a control over our perception is the cinematography. The overall framing and the movements of the camera send the whole scale of feelings and atmosphere directly into the perception of the audience. The same frame with a shaking or still camera would be so much different. The cinematography style has to be choosed purposefully since each style can lead to different group of feelings. While a shaking camera may take the audience into the scene, a non-moving camera may let the audience watch the scene as a guest. The other factor that has an affect on the audience’s perception might be are the colours and the speed of the scene. Each should be taken into account separately (and also together) as each has a direct effect on the overall feeling of the scene. Of course, there can be no generalizations or any rule implied to any form of visual material. The only thing that can be taken into account is a balanced mixture of the choices.

© Metin Özçakir

Metin Özçakır

Tests when shooting digital

W

hat is the one major advantage when shooting digital compared to shooting on film? It’s the possibility of making very cheap tests (lighting set-ups, effects etc.). The most important thing is to remember that what you see on your small LCD monitor from the camera won’t be the same as what you will see in the editing room, or even worse – on the big screen! One can observe this especially when using the in-build effects of a camera (colour correction, transitions, cine-effects and all the other poor options). I remember a very good example when a friend was shooting on a Sony Z1 and he wanted the movie to be black & white. They’ve switched the camera to black and white and everything seemed fine till they got to the editing room and started applying corrections (levels, contrast). Suddenly ‘mysterious’ digital noise appeared, which was quite obvious and became even worse on the big screen. The noise was quite fine in the high-tones, but became unbearable in the mid-tones making even whole walls seem to flicker. What would have prevented this? A simple test; taking the camera with the options we want to use during the shoot into a situation or environment that will more or less emulate the one from the script and then watch it back, not on a small LCD monitor, not on a editing station, but on a normal projector! This could be very expensive and time consuming when done on film, but shooting digital gives one this, rather cheap, luxury. As a little advice I would say that the most important button on your digital camera is the ‘recording-button’, the rest is just there to complicate your life. Take a look at a simple 16mm Arri camera with its one button to start and stop recording and then look at a Panasonic HVX or a RED (with its never ending ocean of menu’s) and you will realize that the most important thing is going on in front of the camera and not behind it. I’ve met a lot of DP’s, who hide behind their camera with the knowledge of all the geeky stuff. In the end the most important thing is not the camera, because a bad lighting set-up can make even 35mm look horrible! Don’t trust your camera – trust your inner eye! Filip Syczynski


Latest news Buff FILM festival (SWeden) During the BUFF Filmfestival in Malmö (10th to 14th March) NISI MASA and the Swedish association NISI MINI will get the chance to present the two organisations. Some NISI MASA board members will go to Sweden for this occasion… http://www.buff.se

"food-project": matter of taste Finally, we found a name for the NISI MASA project: MATTER OF TASTE! In the next days the official website of the project will be on line (www. matteroftaste.eu). Here you can find the call for short films, reviews about other food-related films, informations about the hosting festival and of course you can upload and watch the shorts on food! Upload your shorts until the 15th of May and if you win you will be invited to a week full of cinema&food in Italy! www.matteroftaste.eu

Tampere: cinetrain films (finland) The Tampere Film Festival takes place in Tampere (Finland) between the 4th and the 8th of March 2009. The short documentary Between Dreams shot during the Cinetrain project last September will be screened in the festival! Between Dreams by Iris Olsson, Natasha Pavlovskaya and Dimitris Tolios is shot in the the sleeping wagons of the Transsiberian and tells about people's dreams and fears, hopes... and futures. http://www.tamperefilmfestival.fi http://cinetrain.blogspot.com

IDFA SUmmerschool (netherlands) From the 15th to the 20th of June 2009  IDFAcademy organises a Summer School. Around fifteen projects from all over the world will be selected for the  Summer School 2009. The filmmakers of these projects will be coached in Amsterdam intensively by 10 international documentary experts. The deadline for submission for Summer School 2009 is 27 March 2009. http://www.idfa.nl/industry/ idfacademy/summer_school. aspx

EUropean short Video project in pitch (france) latinamerica The 3rd edition of the scriptwriting workshop at the Moulin d’Andé (France) went from the 15th to the 22nd of February and it was once again a great time for everybody! 19 young scriptwriters from 14 different countries travelled to the scriptwriting residency to develop their stories with four professional tutors, before eventually pitching them in front of over 20 producers, this year not at the Clermond-Ferrand Short Film Festival but at the Moulin d’Andé. Both the participants and the producers gave a great feedback for a week full of inspiration, creation and future coproduction! The pitching sessions ran smoothly and were very good, let’s hope that all the talented writers will be produced. We’d like to thank our participants, the tutors, the producers and the Moulin d’Andé-Céci for the time and effort they dedicated to this workshop. Merci! See the book of project: http://www.nisimasa. com/?q=node/291

Video Eldorado is a road trip organized by a group of 5-7 young people who will be travelling to Central America (from Quebec to Panama) on a refurbished old school bus. Complete with cameras in hand, ideas flowing and with a need for adventure, the project consists not only of getting out on the open road, but also to record and reflect upon their ongoing journey through online videos of the trip, to mingle and give photo/video/ art workshops in the communities they encounter, and to build ties with humanitarian projects they meet along the way. They are still looking for 2-3 people: people with mechanical knowledge, musicians, filmmaker (sound engineer, editor) people with some knowledge of Spanish. Inexperienced travellers don’t be put off! They will be leaving on the 1st of April and return in late June. See videoeldorado@gmail.com or visit the facebook group "video eldorado"!


In the spotlight:

O

nce upon a time around 2001 a cute brown bored girl met the Edison and Lumières Brothers of early Nisi Masa. Anne, (it’s her name) decided to gather some friends from very different horizons and they met in a trendy Café of Uptown Brussels. As they quickly got along and agreed to jump into this European youth cinema adventure, they seriously focused on finding a good name for their local association. Brainstorming was going high, throwing up names as Cinemagie, Cinema Script, Scripto Verbum, and finally Maniaco Deprescript. Surprisingly this one was not kept and they finally choose a more common one: “Cine Script”. Simple and right to the point. Its leader was Anne Kennes, just coming out of IHECS, a communication school in Brussels were she picked up Johan Bollinger and Florence Bovy, both just discovering the mean cultural job market. Vanessa Jullien freshly graduated from ULB Journalism, Anaïs Renard studied art and Julien Melebeck, the crew’s oldest, had just found a job in a cinema production company. Cine Script became a legal association and official functions were distributed among the team. Full of motivation they started to spend lots of energy in the organization of the first NISI MASA Script Contest, at the same time discovering the advertisement sector, the partnership business field, the Belgian cinema industry and all kinds of big dreams that they summerized in one sentence and happened to be the guideline of the association : “Finding Tomorrow’s new talent, unhiding the future pair of feet that one day will walk on the famous red karpet in the South of France”. Yeah, they were kind of poets in a way. Rooted in a kind of Gaulois behaviour, they quickly questionned the way the big NISI MASA office was sometimes working. The members of CS have a rebel heart, are a bit provocative and it leads to some “diplomatic issues” sometimes, but so what? Do we have to shut up if we don’t agree with the decision even if this is kind of a democracy? In fact Cine Script goes deep into the critics of the democratic methodology. Their leitmotiv is an easy going, onserieus and ludical way of doing the things.

A normal Cine Script meeting is composed of good self cooked food (there are lots of talent) red wines and a large amount of big new fresh gossips (for some years CS was composed of 6 girls and a boy...) In 2003, the NISI MASian Godfather gave them a challenge of organizing a meeting. It was the “Towards Another Cinema European Meeting” one that took place in Huy, across the river “Meuse” during the Film School Festival. They were European cinema presentations, meetings with big producers, directors (Jaco Van Dormael, Joachim Lafosse), editors talking about European cinema and the transition to digital cinema, football games, bowling games, peket drinking, partying, Belgian fries... These are unforgettable memories for all of us. In the mean time, Cine Script absorbed new members, Vania Leturq, a young and talented director (3 short films, one documentary), Gaëlle Debaisieux, an international scriptwriter, Marie Gilles, an entousiast cinema student, and shortly after, opened to exotic flavours as Eve-Laure Avigdor, half French, half Turkish and cinema festival volunteer addict, Tanja Kozar imported from Serbia and Maria Palacios Cruz from Spain joined. The next contest (Silence) promotion was the best of all and was never equaled, we got more than 70 scripts ! After that, some of our members bought houses, got busy jobs, babies and slowly left the association. Little by little CS got freeze by a new contagious disease called “lack of free time”. So to renew the body of the association, new members like Delphine Mougenot, Marie Bergeret and the newcommer super motivated Nicolas Fradet came along. This new forces will help the transition to a futur energic Cine Script by organizing, together with some old dinosaurs, the next Jury meeting in Brussels in november 2009. I give you an advice: don’t miss it!! Julien Melebeck & Anne Kennes

Pictures from left to right and : Marie Gilles, Anne Kennes, Vania Leturq, Florence Bovy, Johan Bollinger, Julien Melebeck, Anne Kennes, Anaïs Renard, Vanessa Jullien. Compiled by Julien. Thanks!


Photo © Anita Libor

PORTRAIT

Dániel Deák & Zoltán Aprily (Daazo)

I

have to start with a confession: sometimes I am pretty rude to my friend. For instance when I introduce Zoltán (let me just call him Zoli) to somebody, I always draw the attention that this brownie guy with glasses looks pretty similar to a Hungarian pop icon, András Lovasi. Most of you, dear readers, are probably not really into Hungarian pop music and don't know him, but believe me or google it! I am pretty sure this frustrates enough Zoli and I am pretty sure too that is the reason why I am doing this. Our legendary friendship would not exist without badgering each other. I think - for us - this is the clue for being honest too.

Zoli was the first elder student I met with at the university and I respected him at first sight - you know one year plus could mean a lot when you are around 18 - he seemed to be proper filmmaker explaining ideas and shaping wide screen frame with his fingers. As far as I remember we chatted for hours about boring Russian silent films, then we complained about the anomalies of Hungarian film business just like everybody in Hungary, especially at university buffets. But it was not a special relationship at all. In 2005 NISI MASA - what else - came and brought the turning point. We were asked by Annamari (former board member and leader of the Hungarian association) to participate at a filmmaking workshop in Le Havre. Were took it quite seriously. The films we made were actually very bad, but it wasn't important at all (sounds like a typical NISI MASA story). In Le Havre we were finding our common principles and carried on working together; don’t make me count how many finished and unfinished project we have had. Why is Zoli upset for looking like this Hungarian pop star? Among other things (vanity, sense of taste and so on) because he is probably the strongest individuality I have ever seen. He always wants to find his own way. It is his main advantage and handicap at the same time - Woody Allen meets James Bond. Imagine how easy it is to run a common business with such a person... I am sure that he is never going to be an ordinary employee at a multinational company from 9 to 5 in order to struggle for life. Zoli completely gets you have one life to live and also having all the precious ingredients to make it. And he will - no matter whom he looks like and how I badger him. 

Dániel Deák

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e are at an anti-globalist techno party somewhere down in the night during this year's Berlinale. The DJ’s are playing some indie music on their Mac. It is almost five o'clock. There are only a few people dancing. Among them, Daniel is jumping still with full of energy, trying to keep alive Esra, Lasse, Sylvia and all the others. If Valentina's idea of transforming NISI MASA into a global party organization will be ever realized, Daniel will definitely have a seat in the board. What always amazes me is the amount of energy he has. He is dealing with five different things at the same time; he has 6 different projects going on. Probably his biggest problem in life is that he simply is not able to say "no". Is it dangerous? Yes - you might say - he won't have time to go into details. This is just not true in Daniel's case. If he says "yes" that means that sooner or later he will try to do his best. Daniel is one of my best friends. We do many things together. We have some common thoughts about the world. What impresses me is that he manages to be inside and outside of a situation at the same time. This is very rare. I am not sure if I can do the same. While he is taking part of something, he always has a critical aspect on the thing; he is able to look at it from outside. I like this complex contradiction. This critical view is very useful to have. I think this is the most common thing in us: we believe that the world around us is more absurd than people would admit. We must take part in it though. This ironical point of view is coming from many roots of course. In my opinion, Daniel has a very strong motivation to give quality things on every level. What I mean is that whether we talk about work or personal relationships; he is really keen on doing the things all right. In a country like Hungary this is very rare. Here, people like to have the job done, no matter in what quality. I think that is one of the strongest reasons why we are working together, we just met a couple of years ago with the same need: "Let's do things better". Well, that is quite a good base to build a friendship on. It's early in the morning, around six o'clock. It's going to be a cold day in Berlin. The anti-globalist DJ puts on some Madonna records. I am too tired to accept it. After 6 Jägermeister and many beers, I'm more exhausted than fresh. Daniel is still dancing. Of course we will party tonight again.

Zoltán Aprily


Nisimazine March 09