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What Should Be In Every Scene You Write?

Are you writing a scene? Is it missing something…?

Scenes: they’re the backbone of every story, whether it be TV, film, or even on the stage. Scenes build on one another and create a world, a vision, and take people on a journey.

But how do you write a scene? And what should be in every scene?

Check out this video from Tyler Mowery and let’s talk after the jump.

What Should Be In Every Scene You Write?

This is a fun video that I think offers a few different perspectives, but at the end of the day, every scene needs to have one thing: drama.

Does your character have a goal in the scene? What’s standing in their way?

That’s it. That’s the center of every scene.

Drama is the perils that your characters will face in order to achieve their goal. Those perils can make us laugh, they can be thrilling, they can be emotional.

But without drama, you’re not building a story. You’re just boring us.

So how can you add drama to scenes?

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New Details About Sundance 2021 Emerge

After a long wait and a tumultuous year of festivals, Sundance has announced its plans for 2021.

If you’re a film fan, there’s no better way to start a year than with a trip to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The fest boasts one of the most immersive and enjoyable atmospheres, set against glorious mountainscapes, parties, pressers, and the occasional snowstorm.

This year, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, things are going to look much different. Today, the festival announced changes to its usual format.

The festival will have an abbreviated one-week run, lasting Jan. 28 through Feb. 3, 2021.

Films will be shown on a new online portal as well as in drive-ins, arthouse theaters around the U.S., and other local locations.

All films will be available online in the U.S., and select films will be available internationally. Everyone will get access to the talks and events program and the New Frontier program.

In a statement on Dec. 2, festival director Tabitha Jackson expressed enthusiasm for the new format.

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Crew Me Up Wants to Change the Way You Get Hired in Film and TV

Crew Me Up is an app designed to help you find work in film or TV around the country.

Crew Me Up is the first industry-tailored mobile platform that connects filmmakers in real-time. The app offers a streamlined pathway to access and track film and TV jobs that are posted in various regions.

Hiring managers can see which crew has already been hired, and when other crew members are available. The app has also integrated new COVID-19 postings and health and safety resources as the entertainment industry starts coming back amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Best of all? It’s free.

Joshua A. Friedman is the creator of the app. He’s also a producer and DGA assistant director who started as a PA. In 2011, he wrote Getting It Done: The Ultimate Production Assistant Guide.

He was kind enough to speak with No Film School about the origin of the app and his own experiences in film and TV. Let’s dig in!

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‘Happiest Season’ Sets Hulu Record for New Watchers

Maybe this is the happiest season after all?

Christmas movies usually make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. They should be the right dose of nostalgic, emotional, and fun to watch. It’s hard to make something that special and unique, and even harder to make it a movie that matters.

But it seems like Hulu has stumbled on a new Christmas classic, and its subscribers agree.

The story of the movie is simple. It’s a coming-out story and a romance featuring Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis). When Harper invites Abby home for Christmas, she confesses that she’s closeted to her family. She asks Abby to pretend they’re straight until after the holiday when she swears she’ll come out to her uptight parents, Ted and Tipper (Victor Garber and Mary Steenburgen). Of course, hijinks ensue, and Harper hurts Abby’s feelings, and the relationship is weakened.

I won’t spoil the ending, but you get the picture.

The film was directed by Clea DuVall and co-written by DuVall and Mary Holland.

How did this movie become such a raving success?

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How Oscar Winning DP Chris Menges Mastered Naturalistic Cinematography

He’s seen it all… through a camera’s lens.

If anyone on this planet is a natural-born cinematographer, it might just be Chris Menges. His earthiness and pragmatism combined with his uncanny, innate sensibility for the moving image are what make his films special: Kes, The Killing Fields, and The Mission, to name just a few. If you haven’t seen them, then trust us that they are among the most beautiful movies ever made.

Menges has seen a lot of adventure; he’s been all over the world, and he has stories.

In this wide-ranging discussion, we talk about the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s influence on Menges’ work and the importance of “walking the streets.” From his early days in documentary to his later work with directors like Neil Jordan, Stephen Frears, Stephen Daldry, and Sean Penn, Menges is a true master of observation… and he’s picked up a couple of Oscars along the way.

Pay your respects and listen to the man speak!

For another conversation with a great DP, check out our recent chat with Phedon Papamichael.

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Tamron announces 17-70mm F2.8 for Sony APS-C cameras

Tamron has introduced the 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD lens for Sony APS-C bodies. The lens has a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 25.5-105mm and uses the company’s ‘Vibration Compensation’ image stabilizer (no word on its performance).

The 17-70 F2.8 has a total of 16 elements, including one hybrid aspherical and two glass-molded aspherical elements. The focus unit is driving by a ‘Rapid eXtra-silent stepping drive’ (RXD) stepper motor.

The minimum focus distance is 19cm (7.5″) and the maximum magnification is 0.21x. The lens is 12cm (4.7″) long and weighs in at 524g (1.2lbs). It’s weather-sealed, and its front element has a fluorine coating to repel water and oil.

The 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD will be available in mid-January for $799.

Press release

Tamron Announces World’s First[1] 17-70mm F2.8 Wide Range 4.1x Standard Zoom Lens with VC For APS-C Mirrorless Cameras

17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A[2] VC RXD (Model B070)

December 2, 2020, Commack, NY – Tamron announces the launch of the 17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD (Model B070), a high-speed standard zoom lens for Sony E-mount APS-C mirrorless cameras on January 14, 2021 at approximately $799. Due to the current global health crisis, the release date or product supply schedule could change.

The new 17-70mm F2.8 is Tamron’s first high-speed zoom lens for mirrorless cameras with APS-C size sensors. It features a maximum aperture of F2.8 across the entire 4.1x zoom ratio covering a focal length of 17-70mm (a full-frame equivalent of 25.5-105mm) ideal for everyday use, and superb optical performance. It is a small, lightweight lens that is also equipped with Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism to minimize camera shake. This VC mechanism leverages AI technology when shooting video.

[1] Among interchangeable F2.8 standard zoom lenses for APS-C mirrorless cameras (As of November 2020: Tamron)

2 Di III-A: For APS-C format mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras

The lens features Moisture-Resistant Construction, Fluorine Coating and a Ø67mm filter size – the same as the Tamron series of lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras. Compatible with many of the features that Sony builds into its cameras, including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF, the lens is the ideal everyday zoom for a multitude of situations. It is a highly practical lens that enables photographers to attain high image quality while enjoying the benefits of the large F2.8 aperture.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

World’s first high-speed standard zoom lens for APS-C cameras with the focal length range of 17-70mm 4.1x zoom ratio

The Model B070 has a focal length range of 17-70mm, equivalent to 25.5-105mm on full-frame cameras. It is the first F2.8 high-speed zoom lens in the world for APS-C mirrorless cameras to achieve a 4.1x zoom ratio.

Outstanding optical performance

The optical construction of the new 17-70mm F2.8 features 16 elements in 12 groups. Two GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) lens elements and one hybrid aspherical lens element are precisely arranged to maintain high-resolution performance from edge to edge.

Upgraded VC effective in combination with Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras, leveraging AI for video shooting

The 17-70mm F2.8 features Tamron’s proprietary VC mechanism. Additional sophisticated algorithms optimized for this model and a dedicated, independently operating MPU all combine to superbly compensate for vibration. This feature is available when the lens is used with cameras with or without in-body image stabilization. When shooting video, by leveraging AI technology, image stabilization performance improves compared to conventional models.

Close focusing−MOD is just 7.5” at the wide-angle end

The 17-70mm F2.8 zoom focuses close, down to 7.5” MOD (Minimum Object Distance). This is far superior to the performance achieved by conventional high-speed zoom lenses for APS-C cameras. In addition, the 15.4” MOD at the 70mm telephoto end ensures good close-range shooting performance allowing photographers to enjoy compelling close-up shots.

A highly portable compact design

The 17-70mm F2.8 zoom measures a scant 4.7” in length and 74.6mm in maximum diameter and weighs only 18.5 oz. The lens also maintains the same small Ø67mm filter size of each lens in the Tamron mirrorless lens line-up. This is remarkable for a lens with built-in VC image stabilization. When used with Sony’s APS-C mirrorless cameras, this zoom is nicely balanced and provides a comfortable user experience.

The RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit is exceptionally quiet and perfect for video use

Moisture-Resistant Construction and Fluorine Coating provide extra protection

Compatible with many camera-specific features and functions, including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF

SPECIFICATIONS

Model

B070

Focal Length

17-70mm (for APS-C frame mirrorless format)
(25.5-105mm full-frame equivalent field-of-view)

Maximum Aperture

F2.8

Angle of View (diagonal)

79° 55′-23° 00’ (for APS-C frame mirrorless format)

Optical Construction

16 elements in 12 groups

Minimum Object Distance

7.5“ (WIDE), 15.4“ (TELE)

Maximum Magnification Ratio

1:4.8 (WIDE) / 1:5.2 (TELE)

Filter Size

Ø67mm

Maximum Diameter

Ø74.6mm

Length*

4.7“

Weight

18.5 oz

Aperture Blades

9 (circular diaphragm)**

Minimum Aperture

F22

Standard Accessories

Flower-shaped hood, Lens caps

Compatible Mounts

Sony E-mount

* Length is the distance from the front tip of the lens to the lens mount face.

** The circular diaphragm stays almost perfectly circular up to two stops down from maximum aperture.

Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.

Slideshow: People’s Choice Award finalists for Wildlife Photographer of the Year

People’s Choice Award finalists for Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has selected 25 finalist photos for its People’s Choice Award. Now it’s up to the public to vote for the overall winner. Anyone can participate in the process until February 2nd at 14:00 GMT.

Over 49,000 images were submitted to this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. 100 images were chosen as winners or finalists by the panel of judges. An additional 25 photos have been set aside for this latest shortlist. Make sure you view the gallery, read the rules, and cast a vote for your favorite image before the deadline.

The winner and top 4 highly commended images will be revealed on February 9th. An exhibit of all shortlisted images across the entire Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will be on display through July 4th.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘The Alpha’ by Mogens Trolle

About this Photo: Of all the different primate species Mogens has photographed, the mandrill has proved the most difficult to reach, preferring to hide in tropical forests in remote parts of Central Africa.

This made the experience of sitting next to this impressive alpha, as he observed his troop above, even more special. When a male becomes alpha, he undergoes physical changes that accompany a rise in testosterone levels, and this results in the colors on his snout becoming much brighter. With the loss of status, the colors fade. Mogens used a flash to enhance the vivid colors and textures against the dark forest background.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Life Saver’ by Sergio Marijuán Campuzano

About this Photo: As urban areas grow, like Jaen in Spain, threats to wildlife increase, and Iberian lynx have become a casualty of traffic accidents as they too seek to expand their own territories.

In 2019, over 34 lynx were run over, and three days before Sergio took this photo a two-year-old female lost her life not far from this spot. To combat mortality on the roads, improvements in the fencing and the construction of under-road tunnels are two proven solutions, and they are a lifeline for many other creatures as well as lynx.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Shut the Front Door’ by Sam Sloss

About this Photo: This coconut octopus was spotted walking around the black sand of the Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi carrying its house made of shells.

Remarkably, this small octopus constructs its own protective shelter using clam shells, coconuts, and even glass bottles! These intelligent creatures are very picky when it comes to choosing the perfect tools. They know that certain types and sizes of shell have their advantages, whether they be for shelter, camouflage, or concealing themselves from both prey and predator alike. It is safe to say that the coconut octopus is certainly one of the most scrappy, resourceful, and brainy creatures in the ocean.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Backstage at the Circus’ by Kirsten Luce

About this Photo: At the Saint Petersburg State Circus, bear trainer Grant Ibragimov performs his daily act with three Siberian brown bears.

The animals rehearse and then perform under the lights each evening. In order to train a bear to walk on two feet, Kirsten was told that they are chained by the neck to the wall when they are young to strengthen their leg muscles. Russia and Eastern Europe have a long history of training bears to dance or perform, and hundreds of bears continue to do so as part of the circus industry in this part of the world.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Drawn and Quartered’ by Laurent Ballesta

About this Photo: Scraps of grouper flesh fall from the jaws of two grey reef sharks as they tear the fish apart.

The sharks of Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia, hunt in packs, but do not share their prey. A single shark is too clumsy to catch even a drowsy grouper. After hunting together to roust the grouper from its hiding place in the reef, the sharks encircle it, but then compete for the spoils – only a few sharks will have a part of the catch and most of them will remain unfed for several nights.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Coexistence’ by Pallavi Prasad Laveti

About this Photo: A cheeky Asian palm civet kitten peeps from a bag in a small remote village in India, curiosity and playfulness shining in its eyes.

This baby was orphaned and has lived its short life in the village backyard – comfortable in the company of locals, who have adopted the philosophy of ‘live and let live.’ Pallavi sees the image as one of hope, for in other parts of the world the civets are trapped for Kopi Luwak coffee production (coffee made from coffee beans that are partially digested and then pooped out by the civet) – where they are contained in tiny, unsanitary battery cages and force fed a restricted diet of coffee beans. She feels this image portrays a true essence of cohabitation.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Border Refuge’ by Joseph Dominic Anthony

About this Photo: Joseph formed the idea for this photograph in 2016 on a visit to Mai Po Nature Reserve in Hong Kong.

Taken within the Frontier Closed Area on the Chinese border, strictly timed access rules meant years of studying tide tables and waiting for the perfect weather. Joseph wanted to convey the story and mood of Mai Po in a single balanced photograph, combining individuals and the behavior of multiple species in the context of their wider environment, particularly to juxtapose the proximity of the ever encroaching urban development.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘White Danger’ by Petri Pietiläinen

About this Photo: While on a photography trip to the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard, Petri had hoped to spot polar bears.

When one was sighted in the distance on a glacier, he switched from the main ship to a smaller rubber boat to get a closer look. The bear was making its way towards a steep cliff and the birds that were nesting there. It tried and failed several routes to reach them, but perseverance, and probably hunger, paid off as it found its way to a barnacle goose nest. Panic ensued as the adults and some of the chicks jumped off the cliff, leaving the bear to feed on what remained.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Resting Dragon’ by Gary Meredith

About this Photo: The Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia is home to a wide variety of wildlife, which exists alongside man-made mining operations.

The wildlife found in this environment needs to adapt to the harsh, hostile living conditions. When the opportunity arises, the long-nosed dragon makes use of human structures. This individual positioned itself on a piece of wire mesh outside a workshop, waiting for the sun’s rays. The artificial light source outside the building attracts moths and insects, easy prey for a hungry lizard.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Close Encounter’ by Guillermo Esteves

About this Photo: The worried looking expression on this dog’s face speaks volumes and is a reminder that moose are large, unpredictable, wild animals.

Guillermo was photographing moose on the side of the road at Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA, when this large bull took an interest in the furry visitor – the driver of the car unable to move it before the moose made its approach. Luckily, the moose lost interest and went on its way after a few moments.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Licence to Kill’ by Britta Jaschinski

About this Photo: Britta’s photographs of items seized at airports and borders across the globe are a quest to understand why some individuals continue to demand wildlife products, even if this causes suffering and, in some cases, pushes species to the brink of extinction.

This zebra head was confiscated at a border point in the USA. Most likely, the hunter was not able to show proof that the zebra was killed with a license. Britta found the use of a shopping trolley to move the confiscated item ironic, posing the question: wildlife or commodity?

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Turtle Time Machine’ by Thomas Peschak

About this Photo: During Christopher Columbus’s Caribbean voyage of 1494, green sea turtles were said to be so numerous that his ships almost ran aground on them.

Today the species is classified as endangered. However, at locations like Little Farmer’s Cay in the Bahamas, green turtles can be observed with ease. An ecotourism project run by fishermen (some who used to hunt turtles) uses shellfish scraps to attract the turtles to the dock. Without a time machine it is impossible to see the pristine turtle population, but Thomas hopes that this image provides just a glimpse of the bounty our seas once held.

Shortlisted Photograph: ‘Bushfire’ by Robert Irwin

About this Photo: A fire line leaves a trail of destruction through woodland near the border of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland, Australia.

The area is of high conservation significance, with over 30 different ecosystems found there, and is home to many endangered species. The fires are one of the biggest threats to this precious habitat. Although natural fires or managed burns can be quite important in an ecosystem, when they are lit deliberately and without consideration, often to flush out feral pigs to hunt, they can rage out of control and have the potential to devastate huge areas.

Apple releases Pro Display XDR Calibrator for its $5,000-plus monitor

Apple Pro Display XDR users can now perform in-field recalibration of their monitors. Apple has released the Pro Display XDR Calibrator, allowing users to recalibrate their displays for the first time since the display’s release last December.

Every Pro Display XDR comes calibrated from the factory; however, the new free-to-download Calibrator software allows for in-field recalibration for specific workflows ‘that may require custom calibration’.

To perform calibration, you must use one of the following spectroradiometers: Photo Research SpectraScan PR-740, PR-745 or PR-788 or the Colorimetry Research CR-300. Additionally, users must be using macOS 10.15.6 or later and their Pro Display XDR must have display firmware v.4.2.30 installed. This firmware version was released alongside the Calibrator software download and includes minor stability improvements.

The Pro Display XDR includes incredible technology and performance. Granted, you’d expect an incredible display given its starting price of $5,000 USD ($1,000 Pro Stand not included). Nonetheless, the reference-quality display offers a peak brightness of 1600 nits, a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 6K resolution. The 32-inch display has a P3 wide color gamut and 10-bit color depth.

The display ships with industry-standard reference mode presets, including HDR, HDTV, NTSC video, digital cinema and more. Per Apple, the Pro Display XDR can display over a billion colors at a per-pixel level. Further, compared to a typical LCD display, the display’s compensation polarizer reduces off-axis light leakage by 25x, resulting in an accurate image even from off-axis viewing angles.

Click to enlarge

According to an Apple technology white paper about the display, ‘Every Pro Display XDR undergoes a state-of-the-art factory display calibration process on the assembly line to ensure accuracy of individual backlight LEDs and tight calibration control relative to key industry specifications.’ Further, ‘In addition, the factory calibration process enables Pro Display XDR to accurately reproduce a variety of color spaces used by media today, including BT.709, BT. 601, and even sRGB.’ You can view detailed specifications for each of the available reference modes in the paper as well.

Click to enlarge

While the Apple Pro Display XDR is itself expensive, and the compatible spectroradiometers required to calibrate the display are also expensive, it’s an undeniably good move for Apple to provide its customers more ways to use an Apple product and take full advantage of the display’s performance.

Of course, the jury is still out when it comes to the Apple Pro Display XDR besting other, much more expensive, reference monitors. Some have loved the display while others are not convinced that the Pro Display XDR lives up to Apple’s lofty promises. If you’d like to learn more about the Apple Pro Display XDR, visit Apple.

CIPA’s October report shows camera market has mostly recovered from its COVID-19 downturn

Top: Panasonic S1 (left) Canon EOS R (right) Bottom: Sony a7 III (left), Nikon Z6 (right)

It’s been a rather tumultuous year for camera sales atop a market already in decline, but the latest report from Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) shows the market is back in business and nearly recovered from the COVID-19 downturn.

CIPA, an industry association that aggregates shipment and sales information from the leading camera manufacturers, has shared its October numbers, which show the September recovery of shipments wasn’t a fluke. According to the October report, total digital camera sales – which include both fixed-lens cameras and interchangeable lens cameras – saw a total of 1.13 million units shipped. That’s still 22.8% fewer units shipped compared to October 2019, but that’s a far better shipment rate than the past six months, which have seen shipments hover around 50% of what they were in 2019 in the same months.

A line graph showing the month-by-month shipment numbers of digital cameras — including compact, fixed-lens, DSLR and mirrorless — for the past three years. Click to enlarge.

And the numbers look even better for interchangeable lens cameras. CIPA’s report says a total of 754K units were shipped, a decrease of just 13.6% compared to October 2019. Despite shipping fewer units, the monetary value of those shipments is up half a percentage point year-over-year (YoY) as well, showing the cameras being sold are more expensive models.

Interestingly, the increase in value from those shipments can be attributed only to mirrorless cameras. Globally, the monetary value of DSLR sales is down 22% YoY for October, aligned with overall unit shipments, while the monetary value of mirrorless shipments is up 11.9% YoY for October. In other words, the average revenue from global DSLR sales has more or less stayed the same while increasing for mirrorless camera sales. This backs up statements from multiple manufacturers – most notably Canon and Nikon in their investor reports – that higher-end, full-frame mirrorless models are selling better and will be the focus of their product lines.

A line graph showing the month-by-month shipment numbers of interchangeable lens cameras for the past three years. Click to enlarge.

The October report also confirms DSLR camera sales are on a far faster decline than mirrorless cameras, at least in most regions. Global DSLR shipments were at 338K units, down 21% YoY for October, while mirrorless camera shipments were 416K units, down just 6.4% YoY for October.

Where it gets interesting is when you look at shipments by region. The increase in monetary value of mirrorless camera shipments comes almost entirely down to China, which saw a 53.8% increase in value YoY for October. Also, Europe stands as an outlier in the DSLR market; according to CIPA’s report, while DSLR sales are down in volume and value to the United States, they’re only slightly down in volume and up substantially (30.5% YoY for October) in Europe. This could simply be due to the stock being sent to the respective regions (budget DSLRs vs higher-end DSLRs), but it’s an interesting discrepancy nonetheless.

A full breakdown of production and shipments of cameras aggregated by CIPA. Click to enlarge and click here for the PDF version.

The ratio between DSLR and mirrorless shipments to different region varies quite a bit as well. In Europe, DSLR and mirrorless shipments in terms of volume are roughly even, but in terms of value, mirrorless is nearly double. The United States, on the other hand, saw roughly 35K more DSLRs shipped to its shores compared to mirrorless cameras, but mirrorless still has double the value of those DSLRs.

It remains to be seen if volume and value return to their 2019 numbers over the holiday seasons, but things are looking up for an industry that’s seen a devastating decline.