NYPG's Shamelessly Subjective Newsletter
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GUEST BLOG: How VTR (Video Tape Recorder) Became Video Assist
Written By: Lee Hopp, @LHVideoServices
Video Assist is a position on a film/video production where we record and playback what is being shot. This is done concurrently as they are filming/recording.
For those of you who are new to the Film Industry you may ask "why do you do this?" In the days of where we shot only film if you wanted to see the actors performance or check out how a shot went this was the only way that you could do it. A small video camera was attached to the film camera that could video what the camera saw, and we would then record that image.
Now that we are in the digital age it has become a little more complex than it was in the film days. Back then we used to record on video tape, which meant that when you had to playback something from earlier in the day you had to rewind the tape to the point where you shot the previous scene to play it back. This could take a few minutes sometimes, then you would have to fast forward back to the spot where the tape was blank.
With the use of computers, we now have the ability to access the shots that were previously recorded instantaneously. This technology was a game changer. I bought my first digital recorder back in the mid 1990's. It was amazing and saved a lot of time not having to rewind the tape anymore.
In addition, we didn't have to keep notes on a piece of paper anymore as the software enabled us to write any notes we needed in it. Wow! It also advanced each time the number when we did a different take of a shot. Woohoo! For the people who have been around you all know what a big deal that was back in the day! Now the software and hardware we use is so advanced we can record up to 4K if needed. It's pretty amazing what can be done!
About Lee Hopp: Lee is the owner/operator of LH Video Services, LLC. He provides HD video assist services using Qtake HD, the industry's preferred video assist tool, which he helped bring to the market in 2009. His knowledge of the software enables him to be quick and efficient as a video assist operator and allows him to perform onset visual effects that, previous to Qtake HD, could only be dreamed of. Lee has over 30 years of experience in the film industry from commericals and episodic TV to feature films. For examples of his work, check out LH Video Service's website here: www.lhvideoservices.com and feel free to contact him via email at LH@LHVideoServices.com.
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The Great Debate: Film vs Digital
The debate between film and digital will probably be a never ending one. That’s why our post next week will be focused on the pros and cons of each format. As a little teaser, however, we thought we would let you see if you can tell the difference between the two formats just from looking at two movie stills.
Without cheating (yes, we see you opening Google), can you tell which one of these films were shot on film and which one on digital?
Hint: Calling Batman (or Superman for that matter) won’t help in this case.
Happy Pride Month New York City
Follow the link below to take a look at our tribute to the LGBTQ community!
History of Film in New York City
1886 - After Thomas Edison's Kinetoscopes made it into Manhattan in 1984, New York is captured on film for the first time in William Heise's Herald Square. Edison assistant, William Heise, shot the film.
1906 - Vitagraph Studios was founded by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith in Brooklyn.
1914 - The Squaw Man directed by Cecil B. DeMille's becomes Hollywood's first feature.
1927 - The Jazz Singer, a sound-film or "talkie," experienced immense success upon its release and because the New York City is too loud for sound-film production, almost all studio films to Hollywood. This hiatus lasts for almost two decades.
1948 - The Naked City is produced and filmed in New York City. The film was directed by Jules Dassin.
1953-54 - Stanley Kubrick, a photographer born in the Bronx, directs Fear and Desire, his first feature. In the same year, On the Waterfront, a film it's director Elia Kazan called an "Eastern," was released.
1957 - 12 Angry Men, Sidney Lumet's first movie is released.
1960-62 - As the studios began to struggle, Hollywood began to struggle as well. This leads to the beginning of the art-house period in filmmaking. At around the same time in 1962, the New York Film Festival debuts.
1964 - Empire by Andy Warhol is released.
1965 - NYU forms its School of the Arts. A young Martin Scorsese becomes one of its first students.
1966 - American International Pictures distributes Woody Allen's first feature: What's Up, Tiger Lily?
1973 - The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola's wins Best Picture at the Oscars.
1976 - Taxi Driver is released.
1978 - Annie Hall by Woody Allen wins Best Picture.
1979 - Bob and Harvey Weinstein launch Miramax Films.
1981 - Raging Bull is released and nominated for best picture. In the same year the Oscar telecast had to be postponed after John Hinckley Jr.'s Taxi Driver inspired attempt to assasinate President Ronald Reagan.
1982 - New York Production Guide (NYPG) launches onto the scene and has published a spiral bound directory commonly known as "The Bible to the New York Film Industry," annually every year (you're welcome).
1984 - Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise is released. Over the next decade, as indies reshape the city, New Yorkers (Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dawn Steel) take over Hollywood.
1986 - She's Gotta Have It, the first feature film by Spike Lee is released.
1990 - James Schamus and Ted Hope form the production company Good Machine. Along with Killer Films and the Shooting Gallery, they will help make New York the place for indie producers and directors.
2001 - The attack on the Twin Towers raises doubt about the future of film production in the city.
2002 - Woody Allen makes his first and only appearance at the Oscars, to introduce a clip celebrating New York filmmaking. The Tribeca Film Festival starts. Universal acquires Good Machine, refashioning it into Focus Features.
2005 - Eisner steps down as CEO of Disney - only to be replaced by another New Yorker, Robert Iger; Bronx-born Brad Grey becomes CEO of Paramount. The IFC Center opens.
2006 - New York hits a record high for film and TV production.
2007 - Steiner Studios in Brooklyn's Navy Yard announces plans to double its size. And Scorsese finally wins his Oscar - by making a film in Boston. Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, and the Coen brothers dominate the NYFF.
2011 - The Museum of the Moving Image opened its redesigned and expanded building, designed by Leeser Architecture.
2017 - The Grammy's return to NYC after a 15-year hiatus. To commemorate the Grammys 2018 return, the city together with the Recording Academy, commissioned "Welcome to New York City of Music," a promotional video directed by Spike Lee.
Ten Cinematographers Who Inspire Us Even After They're Gone
Do you agree with our list? Be sure to check out some of their finest work listed below.
1. Gordon Willis: Annie Hall, The Godfather, All The President’s Men
2. Harris Savides: American Gangster, Zodiac
3. Sven Nykvist: Persona, Cries and Whispers, Fanny and Alexander, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
4. Conrad Hall: American Beauty, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Road to Perdition
5. Néstor Almendros: Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs Kramer, Days of Heaven
6. Haskell Wexler: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
7. Freddie Young: Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago
8. Michael Ballhaus: The Departed, Goodfellas, Bram Stoker’s Dracula
9. James Wong Howe: The Rose Tattoo, Hud
10. Jordan Cronenweth: Blade Runner, Peggy Sue Got Married
Top Ten Films of 2016
At NYPG we're great at what we do but sometimes our taste can be questionable...Do you agree with our Top Ten Films of 2016?
1. A United Kingdom
4. Don't Breathe
5. 20th Century Women
6. The Shack
7. Edge of Seventeen
8. Beauty and the Beast
9. A Monster Calls
10. Eddie the Eagle