Books and Literature
The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (2013 Edition, Plume, New York, USA) by Steven Ascher & Edward Pincus. Like the sub-title says, this is a very comprehensive handbook on filmmaking written orignally in 1984 and during a course of three decades rewritten and amended to comprehend the digital revolution of filmmaking. This means that it is quite up-dated compared to other similar classics. Its emphasis lies almost exclusively on the technical aspects, i.e. the choice of camera, lighting, sound equipment and post-production aids. Purpotetly, it is used as a text book at several film schools. I have learnt a lot from it when it comes to basics and fundamentals.
Cinema Raw: Shooting and Color Grading with the Ikonoskop, Digital Bolex and Blackmagic Cinema Cameras (2014, Focal Press, New York, USA) by Kurt Lancaster. This is a very inspirational book for those that like to shoot film in the CinemaDNG RAW format and with sensors approximating Super 16. This is a book as much about philosophy of shooting film as it is a technical manual, promoting the idea of what I refer to as Digital Film emulating Celluloid Emulsion Film. The link is attached to an extract on Google Books with the full introduction of the book, serving serving to be a appetiser. Compared to the objective presentation of formats in Ascher’s and Pincus’ The Filmmaker’s Handbook, Lancaster’s Cinema Raw is a highly subjective and ideological exposition, with spiritual undertones.
Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema (Second Edition, 2014, Peachpit Press, San Francisco, USA) by Alexis Van Hurkman. This is supposedly one of the best introductory instruction manuals to basic colour grading out there. Van Hurkman is quite universal in his tutorial, using several different software programs to explain the different techniques and aspects of colour correction, but with an emphasis on DaVinci Resolve.
Installation and Operation Manual: Blackmagic Design Compact Cameras (July 2016 edition). Published by Blackmagic Design, this is a common manual for the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. It contains all of the necessary information and instructions in operating each camera, as well as a entire section providing a quickstart guide on editing and colour grading using DaVinci Resolve 12.5.
DaVinci Resolve 12.5 Reference Manual (October 2016 edition). Published by Blackmagic Design, this instruction manual covers all topics that are necessary to master the DaVinci Resolve 12.5 NLE editing, colour grading, image manipulation and rendition software, in great detail on 1333 pages.
DaVinci Resolve 12.5 Hardware Selection and Configuration Guide (June 2016 edition). Published by Blackmagic Design, this guide provides recommended hardware solutions based on the requirements necessary for the optimal performance and operation of the professional NLE and editing program DaVinci Resolve 12.5.
Fusion 8 User Manual (September 2016 edition). Published by Blackmagic Design, this instruction manual covers all basics that are necessary to master the Fusion 8 compositing, visual effects and motion graphics program software, in detail on 587 pages.
Fusion 8 Tool Reference Manual (September 2016 edition). Published by Blackmagic Design, this descriptive manual covers all of the various tools that are available for the Fusion 8 compositing, visual effects and motion graphics program software, in great detail on 747 pages.
Sekonic Studio Deluxe Operating Instructions Model L-398. The original manual of the Japanese Sekonic L-398, a true classic of analog light meters released in 1976, originally based on the Norwood Director M2 from the 1940’s and redesignated as Brockway Model S (also known as the Sekonic Studio L-28) in 1957, with the ability to measure both incident and reflected light.
Blackmagic Forum. This is the official forum managed by Blackmagic Design and the place to be if you want to discuss and ask questions about Blackmagic Design products. It is also a good place to ask for and receive support from the staff of Blackmagic Design, as well as knowledgeable and experienced forum members, to receive suggestions and advice to any problems encountered, or in getting started or penetrating the intricacies when using Blackmagic Design hardware and software, such as Blackmagic Cinema Cameras, and DaVinci Resolve or Fusion.
BMCuser. This is the unofficial but equally impressive forum as the official one maintained by Blackmagic Design. Here Blackmagic Camera owners meet and discuss various topics concerning their cameras, as well as Blackmagic Design postproduction software. It is a good place to ask questions to any concerns or issues, or to become enlightened in a particular subject. Many users that are members of the Blackmagic Forum are also members of BMCuser, and many topics and threads are seen in both, not seldom cross referenced. So you should be a member of both to cover everything.
Voodoo Film. This is the largest forum by and for the independent filmmaker in Sweden. Being around since the last two decades, it has gathered a huge following and is still quite active with many experienced (and even more inexperienced) filmmakers of different flavours. In my early ventures of filmmaking, I had a great recourse and received good aid in making the right decisions. It also has other features besides the discussion forum, such as user groups, a on-line film school, filmmaking resources, teaching materials, etc. Unfortunately, everything is written and communicated in Swedish.
DSLR Cinema, Cinema Raw, and Cinematic Journalism. This is the personal blog of Kurt Lancaster, the author of Cinema Raw: Shooting and Color Grading with the Ikonoskop, Digital Bolex and Blackmagic Cinema Cameras (see above). In his book, Lancaster often makes references to his blog for more in-depth study of particular subjects. Lancaster is also the author of DSLR Cinema, being one of the formost gurus of independent filmmaking and spokespersons of the CinemaDNG RAW format as the film medium of the new age, and thus one of my heroes.
John Brawley Director of Photography Blog. The personal blog of the Australian director of photography and the cinematographer that was part of the development (from the user’s end) of the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera and one of the first to use it. Brawley features in Kurt Lancaster’s Cinema Raw: Shooting and Color Grading with the Ikonoskop, Digital Bolex and Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. He is also a frequent commentator on the Blackmagic Forum and BMCuser, contributing with valuable guidance.
ViFV – Vintage Lenses For Video. This is a blog maintained by cinematographer Alan Besedin, entirely focusing on old and antiquated lenses for SLR and Cine Cameras, with the professed goal to create a vintage filmic look with modern DSLR and Digital Cinema Cameras. He writes quite interesting reviews which are right on the spot, avoiding excessive verbiage. Lenses are picket apart and tested from all around the world, also vintage lensens made in the USSR which makes this site all the more interesting.
LensCraze. A blog founded by Polish photographer and videographer Paweł Dudko with an emphasis on vintage and old school lenses, amongst them some from Eastern Bloc Europe. There aren’t that many articles posted on his blog, and it hasn’t been updated for a long while, but what is there is interesting enough as he uses the Micro Four Thirds system and explains how to adapt these lenses to that format, applicable for Blackmagic Design cameras.
Gorilla Film Studios. My own YouTube channel where I upload all of my films and clips that are featured on this blog.
Blackmagic Design Cinema. A Vimeo channel which gathers various short films shot with Blackmagic Design cameras, in particular the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K.
Tom Mellors. A young filmmaker from Norway that has his own production company called RedForest Media. He shoots really good, intriguing and inspiring shorts with high production values on shoe string budgets, with his own friends and relative as actors, and mainly using Blackmagic Cinema Cameras (the BMCC and BMPCC) and DaVinci Resolve, captured on CinemaDNG RAW.
Sid the Jet Dslr Filmmaking. A American filmmaker and DSLR shooter, using the Magical Lantern hack to render his Canon EOS 70D with a RAW capability, decoding the proprietary RAW / .MLV files to CinemaDNG and putting it through a DaVinci Resolve 12.5 workflow. His images are beautiful, saturated and vintage flat looking, with a visual style that is enchanting, and sometimes experimental and surreal. Truly inspiring to watch.
Hideki Shiota / FILM EI. A filmmaker based in New York, exlusively using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, making beatifully executed shorts capturing different moods of The Big Apple, that brings out the BMPCC to its full potential through masterful colour grading. Many of his shorts are little masterpieaces, often blending art and mysterious acting into quite surreal levels, in the borderline between video art and narrative.
DaVinci Resolve 14. The NLE editor, colour correction and grading program developed by Blackmagic Design. The “Lite” version is downloadable for free and sports more or less the same features as the Studio version which costs $299. The freeware version only supports one GPU and Ultra HD, no stereoscopic effects and no noise reduction, as well as no network support. It has full support of third party OpenFX plug-ins, though. This is the industry standard grading tool, and its for free!
Fusion 8.2.1. The compositing and motion graphics program developed by Blackmagic Design. The freeware version sports more or less the same features as the Studio version which costs $995. The freeware version only supports Ultra HD, no stereoscopic effects and no third pary OpenFX plug-ins, as well as no network support. This is the industry standard compositing tool, and its for free!
Neat Video v4. A noise reduction plug-in adapted for several NLE’s, including hosts supporting OpenFX such as DaVinci Resolve 12.5. The licensed plug-in for OpenFX costs $249.90 but you may download a Demo version for free. This OFX plug-in is considered to be the best for noice reduction.
Color Grading Central. A web page project maintained by colorist Denver Riddle. He offers on-line colour grading tutorials and workshops, using various software, not the least DaVinci Resolve 12.5 and with lots of attention to CinemaDNG, as well as Blackmagic Cinema Cameras. He also offers colour grading products, various LUTs such as Ascend, Osiris and ImpulZ, as well as video tutorials. Riddle also maintains a blog and hosts a forum community.
Apple QuickTime 7.7.8 for Windows. Unfortunately, since 2016 Apple no longer supports QuickTime for Windows and the last version 7.7.8 was released as far back as in february 2014. It supports ProRes 422 HQ, so you don’t have to download and install the Apple ProRes QuickTime Decoder 1.0 for Windows, released in 2008, which is a older version of the codec anyway.
Avid QuickTime Codecs LE. This is the codec specifically designed for Apple’s QuickTime player which renders it compatible with compression codecs such as the Avid DNxHD family. This makes it possible for you to view high quality 4:2:2 compressed video on your computer. The current version of the QuickTime Codecs LE package for Windows is 2.7.3 and supports the following codecs: AvidAV1xCodec.qtx: Avid 1:1x codec (Uncompressed MXF 8-bit), AvidAVd1Codec.qtx: Avid DV 100 codec (MXF), AvidAVdnCodec.qtx: Avid DNxHD codec (MXF), AvidAVdvCodec.qtx: Avid DV codec (DV 25 and DV 50, OMF and MXF), AvidAVpkCodec.qtx: Avid Packed codec (Uncompressed MXF 10-bit), AvidQTAVJICodec.qtx: Avid Meridien Compressed codec (OMF 8-bit) and AvidQTAVUICodec.qtx: Avid Meridien Uncompressed codec (OMF 8-bit).
Blackmagic Design. The homepage of the Australian company founded in 1984 by Grant Petty, specialised in postproduction hardware products. Over the years BMD has aquired key postproduction companies, DaVinci Systems (2009), Echolab (2010), Teranex (2011), Cintel (2012), and eyeon (2015), the designer of the Fusion software, as well as Fairlight (2016). In 2012 it introduced its first natively produced cinema camera, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera or BMCC (sporting 12-bit uncompressed CinemaDNG RAW and 13 stops of dynamic range, with a oversized Super 16 sCMOS sensor in 2.5K) with either a PL, EF or MFT lens mount. In the following year it introduced the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera or BMPCC, a Digital Super 16 Film MFT mount camera featuring 12-bit losslessly compressed CinemaDNG RAW and 13 stops of dynamic range, captured on a 1080p sCMOS sensor, as well as the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K or BMPC (sporting a Super 35 sized sCMOS sensor that captures losslessly compressed 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW with 12 stops of dynamic range). In 2014 BMD announced the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera (hosting the same features as the BMPCC but fitted into an even smaller body and without a viewing screen) and the Blackmagic URSA (their first high-end cinema camera sporting a Super 35 sCMOS sensor in 4.6K, featuring 15 stops of dynamic range, with either a PL or EF mount), which was followed up the following year with the Blackmagic URSA Mini (with either the 4K sensor and features of the BMPC or the regular 4.6K). It also offers two different Ultra HD 4K studio live broadcast cameras (the Blackmagic Studio Camera and Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera) and since 2015 the Blackmagic Video Assist, a monitor and video recorder which comes in two sizes (5″ and 7″). Blackmagic Design is also renowned for their proffessional industry standard postproduction software, the DaVinci Resolve 12.5 NLE and colour correction tool, as well as the Fusion 8 composing and VFX tool. The webpage is mainly a marketing tool for BMD products, but also hosts the web community Splice, as well as the Blackmagic Forum.
Digital Bolex. The homepage of the Digital Bolex company founded by camera designers Joseph Rubinstein and Elle Schneider. Digital Bolex has manufactured the D16 digital Super 16 film camera, introduced in 2012, sporting 12-bit uncompressed CinemaDNG RAW captured on a 2K CCD sensor. The camera came in a default C-mount version which was field convertible to PL and MFT mounts. In 2015 Digital Bolex also announced a set of five Veydra mini prime lenses ranging between 12mm to 50mm. Manufacture of the D16 (both the colour version with 12 stops of dynamic range and the monochrome version sporting 13 stops of dynamic range) was put into a hiatus in june 2016, but the company still exists and offers both service and repair of cameras, as well as promising future firmware upgrades to develop the camera further. The web page maintains a forum for D16 users, a blog, as well as tutorials and lots of information on the Digital Bolex, including footage shot with the D16, and more. It used to maintain a web shop as well, but since the announcement to discontinue the production of the camera it has become defunct.
RawCinemaShop: Ikonoskop Repair & Service. This is the Dutch company that bought the Swedish company Ikonoskop and aquired its domain on the internet, ikonoskop.com, as well as the patent for the first Digital Super 16 film camera, the A-Cam dII (sporting 12-bit uncompressed CinemaDNG RAW and 10 stops of dynamic range captured on a 1080p CCD sensor) designed by Göran Olsson and Daniel Jonsäter. The A-Cam dII came with different lens mounts, of the PL, C, Leica M and IMS (Interchangeable Mount System) standards, and came with its own proprietary flash memory card. Although camera manufacture of the Ikonoskop A-Cam dII was discontinued in 2013, it maintains a forum for A-Cam dII users, as well as sells services including entire film crews and facilities, rents camera packages (inkluding the Ikonoskop A-Cam dII), provides repair and service of the A-Cam dII, and sells used Ikonoskop equipment.
SLR Magic. A small company from Hong Kong, lead by Andrew Chan, who specialises in the manufacture of high quality and affordable prime lenses with a classic filmic and vintage look, especially with cinematography in mind. They also offer anamorphic adapters and anamorphic prime lenses.
Veydra. Started off as a kickstarter campaign in 2014, founded by Ryan Avery and Jim Zhang, this company has specialised in producing cine prime lenses for mirrorless cameras and originally the Micro Four Thirds standard (although extending its range to C-mount, E mount and Fuji X mount as well), optimised for the Blackmagic cinema cameras (BMCC, BMPCC and BMMCC) as they cover the MFT sensor (and in certain case even the APS-C / Super 35). Its classical rage of Mini Prime lenses (12mm, 16mm, 25mm, 35mm and 50mm T2.2) share the same housing and features, such as follow focus gear with long focus throw and 80mm front barrel diameter, with a consistent sharpness and overall image quality equal to the best and modern professional cine lenses, such as Zeiss, but for a affordable price (you can buy the entire set of five prime lenses for a price equal to one Zeiss cine prime lens).
Luma Tech. Formed in the USA as New Image International in the early 1990’s, headed by Gregory Mirand it co-developed a new brand of Super 16 prime lenses together with a Russian Optical Engineer at JSC Optika (the successor of Ekran from 1954) in St Petersburg, the Optar Super 16 T1.3. Manufacture was initiated at the JSC Optika plant, however due to manufacturing issues the production of the new set of prime lenses was transferred to the Zenit/KMZ (Krasnogorskiy Mechanicheskiy Zavod) factory at Krasnorgosk in 1995, reusing OKS optical blocks and renaming the final product as the Optar Illumina, changing the name of the American distribution company to Luma Tech in the process, headed by Peter Abel to distribute the Optar Illumina brand worldwide. JSC Optika started to produce the identical set of prime lenses clandestine as the Optar Elite (later developed into the Optica Elite). The production of the classical set of affordable professional high speed Optar Illumina Super 16/2K prime lenses was limited to 8mm, 9.5mm, 12mm, 16mm, 25mm, and 50mm, all at T1.3 and fitted into a similar housing with follow focus gear, long focus throw and 80mm front barrel diameter, available with either a PL mount or Arri-B bayonet configuration. The production has been discontinued since several years. The image quality is consistent between the primes and has been described as providing a high resolution, medium contrast with more flare compared to Zeiss’ high res, high contrast image, i.e. having a more vintage character. RusCamera sells them from the Russian Federation on ebay for quite attractive prices, taken from factory stock.
Juicebox. This is the web page of a third party company specialized at producing cheap and high quality li-ion battery solutions for Blackmagic Design cameras, to extend their operating utility. It offers a compact battery called the ‘Magic Power’ which attaches to the 1/4″ screw mount and will power a BMPCC or BMMCC shooting RAW for over seven hours of operating time and a BMCC for over three ours. It also offers larger batteries adapted for a V-mount rig, which will provide almost unlimited power for a small BMPCC. Other accessories include cable adapters and power cables adapted for the BMPCC.
Petroff. The web page of the Canadian company which since 2011 has located all of its manufacture to Bulgaria. It has been around since 1979 and has specialised in making affordable, simple and high quality follow focus systems and matte boxes, as well as camera supports (base plates).
POOLi™. A web page maintained by the Russian citizen Andrew Kramar. He is something of a one man factory and design company, skilled in CNC machining. He specialises in camera cages (for Blackmagic Design cameras, and Panasonic and Sony DSLR’s), as well as various rigs, base plates, rods, and related accessories, as well as his own unique design for anamorphic filming called POOLi Anamorphic System (PAS). He also maintains a VKontakte (VK) community.
RafCamera. The web page and on-line store for the Russian company founded and run by Rafael Pankratau, hence the name RafCamera. This company has specialised in producing CNC machined adapters for various Western mount standards, so that it becomes possible to use the plentitude of Soviet Russian and Eastern Bloc made cameras and lenses. It also offers follow focus gear, filters, and lens caps, as well as reselling various products made in the USSR. This company is realible, not only in its quality control but also in its customer support, beyond what is to be expected in the latter case. Many customers with me can attest to Rafael sending adapters free of charge if any of his products doesn’t perform as expected.