7 Reasons Why You Might Be an Ask-hole

July 21, 2014 Leave a comment

1. do you always ask for advice, yet never take it to heart or act upon it?

2. do you have it all figured out, yet you’re stuck in the muck spinning your tires?

3. after you’ve asked someone a question, do you tend to tune out when it’s being answered? 

4. do you roll your eyes and scoff at the educated replies that come from those around you with more experience and wisdom on the matter?

5. do you ask industry professionals pointless and mundane questions, just for the sake of getting an introduction or in the name of “networking“?

6. do you ask, ask, ask… and then constantly become distracted by your phone, rendering you mentally distant and distracted from the corresponding reply?

7. do you find yourself asking the same question over and over again simply because you don’t like the answer you’re being given and think the answer might change the more you ask it?

if you answered yes, then you might just be an Askhole.

regardless of the industry or circles you run in, kindness, sincerity and respect play a vital role in one’s career development. these positive social behaviours create an open dialogue for potential mentorship to occur with peers who can help and educate you in your industry ambitions.

having personable traits make you a more likeable person and easier to get along with. people will want to be around you, rather than run away. 

these PMA’s (positive mental attitudes, for those unfamiliar with author Napoleon Hill or punk pioneers,Bad Brains) also create a welcoming environment for potential business relationships and partnerships to blossom. 

people prefer doing business with those whom they like and respect.

so if this sounds like you… it’s never too late. take off your selfish blinders and the next interaction you have with someone try this: 

listen. absorb. reflect.
respect the opinion of those from whom you ask it.

don’t be an Askhole.

An FBI Counterterrorism Agent Tracked Me Down Because I Took a Picture of This

July 20, 2014 Leave a comment

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Good morning. My name is James Prigoff. I am 86 years old and a retired senior corporate executive, having been president of a Levi Strauss division and previously the senior vice president of the Sara Lee Corporation in Chicago. I am also a professional photographer – in fact, I have been a photographer for most of my life. My specialty is photographing murals, graffiti art, and other community public art. I am the co-author of three books utilizing my photographs, one of which, Spraycan Art, has sold over 200,000 copies. My photographs appear in countless other publications and my photography has been exhibited at the Smithsonian in Washington and in many other galleries. I have lectured on photography and public art in museums, universities, and venues worldwide.

I have never had an experience like I had when attempting to photograph the “Rainbow Swash” outside Boston in 2004. Let me explain.

The Rainbow Swash is an iconic piece of public art near Boston painted on the circumference of a 140-foot high liquefied natural gas storage tank in 1971 and repainted in 1992 at an adjacent site. It is actually one of the largest copyrighted pieces of art in the world. The original artist was Korita Kent.

I went to Dorchester, Mass., to photograph it, but before I could take a picture, I was confronted by two security guards who came through their gate and told me I could not because the tank was on private property. I pointed out that I, being well outside the fenced area, was not on private property – but they insisted I leave. If one goes to Wikipedia there are number of excellent close-up shots for the entire world to see.

A few months later, I found a business card on the front door of my home in Sacramento from Agent A. Ayaz of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, asking me to call him. One of my neighbors, an elderly woman, told me that two men wearing suits had come to her door to ask her about me, her neighbor.

When I called Agent Ayaz, he asked if I had been in Boston recently. At that moment I realized that the security guards at the Rainbow Swash site must have taken down the rental car license plate number and reported me to a law enforcement agency. I never gave the guards any information about myself, so I must have been traced across country via my rental car record.

So, consider this: A professional photographer taking a photo of a well-known Boston landmark is now considered to be engaged in suspicious terrorist activity?

I lived through the McCarthy era, so I know how false accusations, surveillance, and keeping files on innocent people can destroy their careers and lives. I am deeply troubled that the SAR program may be recreating that same climate of false accusation and fear today.

Photography is an important part of my life, and I plan to keep photographing public art and public places that contain WPA murals and other architectural sites – as I have been doing for 69 years. Why have my artistic pursuits landed me in a national database potentially linking me to “terrorist” activities? There is no reason for it. This program must be stopped.

Apple announce ProRes XQ and Arri announce support for Alexa

July 1, 2014 Leave a comment

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A new, higher quality version of ProRes is immediately supported by the ARRI Alexa

Apple have announced a new flavour of ProRes: Apple ProRes 4444 XQ. It is similar in features to Apple ProRes 4444 except that it brings a higher target bit rate of 500 Mb/s to the table (for 1080p video at 29.97 fps). Previously ProRes maxed out at 330 Mb/s for ProRes 4444 so this new mode features much lower compression. Apparently the compression ratio in the new XQ mode is as low as 4.5:1. There’s no indication of what the X in XQ means. I’m guessing it is short for Xtreme but it could be short for Xtra too I suppose. My suspicion is that over time ProRes 4444 XQ will become more well known as just ProRes XQ.

Apple are promoting the new format for use in animation and CGI, making much of the support for 12bit colour depth and lossless alpha channels, however these features are not actually new to ProRes. I expect Apple are looking to draw peoples attention to these features as they are a good match for the increased bitrate and they want to get across the message that this new flavour of ProRes will be really useful for computer generated imagery.

The news of the new flavour of ProRes was fast followed by an announcement from Arri that ProRes XQ will be supported on the Alexa XR and XT cameras. This will surface with the next software update packet: SUP10. The software update is scheduled for an open beta in July and will be released properly in August.

Using ProRes XQ will of course mean that the space on your media will be used up much more quickly, increasing your media costs but it is expected that it will still be a popular choice for those working with Log-C and wishing to carry out more extreme grading or those who are shooting footage for VFX work. Of course for those who find the costs of media are not significant it may prove popular anyway for the slight extra quality it gives and lets not forget that there are of course still cost savings to be had over shooting in raw, so it may also end up finding a home where productions can’t quite stretch to shooting raw and are looking to compromise.

It’s great to have different codec options on cameras like this as media costs can be a significant headache sometimes and having the flexibility to choose the level of codec that best suits the amount of data your production is capable of handling is certainly good news for users. It also can’t hurt Arri to have such a great way of making sure that the camera is flexible enough to work across a wider range of the diversity of productions and budgets that are out there!

Check out the table below where Arri shows the different features for the various flavours of ProRes. Oddly all with a framerate of 29.97 fps but it does give you and idea of how the modes compare to one another:

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Wal-Mart sues widow over old family photos

May 23, 2014 Leave a comment


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A photography organization is siding with the woman, and describes the company’s tactics as ‘bullying.’

Wal-Mart’s (WMT) founding family is involved in a lawsuit against the widow of a small-town photographerover Walton family photos taken decades ago.

Hundreds of photographs of the Walton family were taken by Robert Huff, the proprietor of Fayetteville, Ark.-based Bob’s Studio of Photography, and his son David, between 1950 and 1994.

 

Robert and David are now deceased, but the Walton family is suing Helen Huff, David’s widow, demanding the return of any photos and negatives that remain, The Washington Post reports.

 

The Waltons say the Huffs kept the prints and negatives as a courtesy to the family and that the photos are the Waltons’ property. Huff’s widow contends that she owns the copyright to the images and is counter-suing the Walton family and The Walmart Museum to block their use of the images.

 

Huff reportedly turned down a $2,000 offer from Wal-Mart for the images. The Walton family is suing Huff under the name Crystal Lands LLC, and the Walmart Museum filed the suit under the Wal-Mart Stores name, The Post reports.

 

Part of the issue stems from how the photographers were classified. If they were “work-for-hire,” as the Walton family contends they are, the Walton family would have rights to the copyright. If they were independent contractors, the photographers would have the rights.

 

Citing prior celebrity photo lawsuits, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) sides with Huff’s widow. On its website, the PPA points out that photographers typically own the copyright to images they take, and says Wal-Mart’s tactics are “bullying.”

 

The case will go before a U.S. District Court judge in early July.

Darkness ( A Short Film)

April 20, 2014 Leave a comment

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Soon to be release is a short film I shot with Director John Licona and some awesome people in the crew, simple shot, but super fun, too much fun I think.

Make sure you all follow up on their page:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=493254770803032&set=a.408802279248282.1073741829.408269045968272&type=1&theater

Blackmagic URSA And Studio Cameras

April 14, 2014 1 comment

In 2013 it was Blackmagic Design who stole the shows with the camera announcements, whether they will be announcing more cameras tomorrow I don’t know. I hope not. Why? Because they have 3 cameras out there already and all of them are flawed in basic operation. This needs to be rectified urgently and top of that the Blackmagic 4K has image issues. Again, needs to be fixed. So hopefully tomorrow they will make a big announcement that you will be able to format your cards in the camera and delete clips! 🙂

Well Blackmagic didn’t launch a camera this year at NAB, they launched 2! a monster, the Blackmagic 4k URSA with an interchangeable sensor module for 4k S35 using EF or PL mounts and a broadcast sized sensor module using the (B4) Mount. The 2nd camera being a standalone studio camera unit using a 12.48mm x 7.02mm sensor in 4k and Full HD with an MFT mount.

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The Blackmagic URSA 4k S35

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The Blackmagic Studio Camera

The URSA is one chunky camera. Looking like something Tony Stark invented and coming in at 16.53lbs.

The specs look very similar to the 4k Production Camera but as the sensor has room to cool they allow the camera to record at 60fps in 1080 mode. Something that the 4k Production camera cannot do. It also has 2 x analog XLRs that are switchable between mic and line levels together with the all important Phantom power support.

What is missing from this camera is a lack of an SSD drive, instead Blackmagic have opted for the new 2.0 compact flash cards (CFast 2.0).

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Amazingly its sports a flip out 1920×1200 10” screen and 2 800×480 5” touch screens. Its a beast.upgradeable-670x258

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The Blackmagic 4k URSA with an interchangeable sensor module for 4k S35 using EF or PL mounts and a broadcast sized sensor module using the (B4) Mount. Interestingly they also have a HDMI 4K input module to act as a standalone recorder.

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Prices at a very well positioned $5,995 for the EF version and $6,495 for the PL version. Shipping is slated for July. The Studio camera comes in at $1,995 for the HD version and $2,995 for the 4k version.

The Studio camera is described as the world’s first 12G-SDI broadcast camera for live Ultra HD production with 10” viewfinder, 12G- SDI, MFT lens mount, support for up to 2160p60, 4 hour battery, talkback, tally and more.studiocamera

Coming soon are 2 more models / versions:

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast
Includes an Ultra HD sensor optimized for broadcast video, combined with a broadcast B4 lens mount and broadcast lens control connection, 12G-SDI plus built in ND filter wheel.

Blackmagic URSA HDMI
Camera body without sensor, features an HDMI 4K input with mounting plate to connect any HDMI camera for URSA quality recording, monitoring, audio and timecode.blackmagic-studio-camera

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Steven Spielberg and George Lucas predict film industry ‘implosion’

April 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were speaking at the University of Southern California.
Veteran directors warned students in US about difficulty of getting projects into cinemas, and suggested studio cautiousness could lead to hiked ticket prices

Changing scene … Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were speaking at the University of Southern California. Photo: Hubert Boesl, Corbis/Mario Anzuoni, Reuters

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have predicted a Hollywood “implosion” that could change the shape of the film industry forever and lead to dramatically hiked ticket prices for blockbuster films.

Speaking at the opening of a new media centre at the University of Southern California, the two Hollywood titans painted a picture of a future in which the failure of half a dozen $250m movies in quick succession caused a seismic shift in studio dynamics, leading to audiences being asked to pay $25 (£15) a ticket for films such as Iron Man 3 but just $7 (£4.50) for movies such as Spielberg’s own Lincoln.

Spielberg told students at USC they were vying to enter the film industry at a time when even established film-makers were struggling to get their projects into cinemas, and revealed that the Oscar-winning Lincoln came “this close” to being premiered on the US pay-TV network HBO. He said that many talented young directors were now considered “too fringey” for a cinematic release. “That’s the big danger, and there’s eventually going to be an implosion – or a big meltdown,” Spielberg said. “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

“I think eventually the Lincolns will go away and they’re going to be on television,” Lucas added. “As mine almost was,” Spielberg interjected. “This close – ask HBO – this close.”

“The pathway to get into theatres is really getting smaller and smaller,” said Star Wars creator Lucas, pointing out that his own passion project, the war drama Red Tails, barely scraped into cinemas last year. “We’re talking Lincoln and Red Tails – we barely got them into theatres,” he said. “You’re talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can’t get their movie into a theatre!”

The warning from the two elder Hollywood statesmen echoes comments in recent times from the Oscar-winning film-maker Steven Soderbergh, who has said that he does not expect to work in the cinema again. Soderbergh’s latest project, the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, screened on HBO in the US. He will next oversee the 10-episode period TV drama The Knick, starring Britain’s Clive Owen, for HBO sister channel Cinemax.

“The worst development in film-making – particularly in the last five years – is how badly directors are treated,” Soderbergh told New York magazine in January. “It’s become absolutely horrible the way the people with the money decide they can fart in the kitchen, to put it bluntly. It’s not just studios – it’s who is financing a film. I guess I don’t understand the assumption that the director is presumptively wrong about what the audience wants or needs when they are the first audience, in a way. And probably got into making movies because of being in that audience.”

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