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The building where I worked in the best job I’ve ever had

The best job I ever had was at the “creative hotshop” advertising agency where “God of Copywriting” Tim Delaney was Creative Director. The agency was referred to as Leagas-Delaney and its full name was The Leagas Delaney Partnership, and it was based in London.

leagas-delaney_233-shaftesbury-avenue_london_01_2048px
Leagas Delaney “creative hotshop” advertising agency at 233 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EE, where I worked for Tim Delaney, the “God of Copywriting”. Image courtesy of Dave Dye.

Continue reading “The building where I worked in the best job I’ve ever had”

Film and Digital Times: SIGMA fp and fp L cameras get EL Zone – Commentary

https://www.fdtimes.com/2023/02/07/sigma-fp-and-fp-l-cameras-get-el-zone

EL Zone

SIGMA fp L and fp are the first mirrorless cameras to incorporate EL Zone. With new firmware updates, your SIGMA fp L (61 MP) or SIGMA fp (24.6 MP) camera is now a spotmeter and exposure tool, in addition to being a versatile DP/Director’s Finder, smallest Full Frame cine camera and mirrorless still camera….

Takuma Wakamatsu, SIGMA Product Manager, said, “EL ZONE is based on an evaluation of the actual recorded signal. It  displays the exposure status of any part of the frame in a color-coded manner, allowing you to evaluate highlights, shadows, see  where details may be lost and where to set your lens aperture.”

EL Zone developer Ed Lachman, ASC said, “I found false color and waveform monitors much too general. They are based on IRE values that originally measured analog composite video signals as percentages of voltage, aren’t consistent with T-stop values on lenses or light meters, and are not the same from one manufacturer to another. I’m happy that SIGMA fp L and fp are the first mirrorless cameras to incorporate EL Zone.”…”

Sigma fp & Sigma fp L mirrorless hybrid cameras

Commentary

This is excellent news.

Panasonic was the first company to bring Ed Lachman ASC’s EL Zone System for accurate exposure in cinematography to its VariCam cinema camera line and now Sigma has added EL Zone System to its fp and fp L hybrid mirrorless cameras.

Panasonic, what’s stopping you from adding the EL Zone System to the Lumix GH6, Lumix S5 II and the coming Lumix S5 IIX?

Fujifilm, now that you’re supporting professional video production with the Fujifilm X-H2S and X-H2, what’s stopping you from adding the EL Zone System?

And Blackmagic Design, time for EL Zone System to come to your hardware and software too.

Canon, Nikon and Sony, keep playing amongst yourselves.

OM Digital, are you serious about video yet?

Links

Sigma Photo: SIGMA Updates fp & fp L Cameras Appealing to Cinematographers by Adding New Color Mode, 4TB SSD Compatibility, Atomos Cloud Support and More

https://press.sigmaphoto.com/product/02/fp-series-major-firmware-updates/

“Key updates include the addition of a “Warm Gold” color mode, support for 4TB SSDs, and Atomos Cloud support.

With these firmware updates, the fp and fp L are also now the first mirrorless still/cine cameras to incorporate the EL ZONE metering system created by cinematographer Ed Lachman, ASC. EL ZONE is a false-color exposure tool where standard exposure (18% reflectivity) is displayed in gray, with up to six steps of both highlights and shadows displayed in an intuitive, standardized, color-coded format to allow creators to utilize the dynamic range of the cameras to its fullest.

“The introduction of the EL ZONE metering system, along with the full roster of additional features and functions provided in the latest firmware, demonstrates SIGMA’s commitment to the fp camera series.” reports Mark Amir-Hamzeh, SIGMA America President. “With each major firmware update, the fp cameras become ever more important tools catering to the needs of the creative community.””

Sigma fp & Sigma fp L mirrorless hybrid cameras

Links

SAGE Journals: European Journal of Cultural Studies: Enduring inequalities: Fifty years of gender equality talk in the media and cultural industries

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/13675494221145307

Abstract

This article provides a critical overview of gender equality talk within the media, arts and cultural industries, focusing on a case study of Australian cultural policy discourse from the 1970s to 2020s.

It aims to expand on existing understandings of postfeminism and popular feminism by exploring how these sensibilities have been taken up and expressed within arts and cultural policy discourse.

How has the problem of the cultural gender gap previously been understood?

And how has that changed in light of increased public attention to feminist concerns?

While there are important differences across the decades there are also recurring notions of pragmatism, self-empowerment, resilience, vigilance and trickle-down logics – which cultivate a sense of movement without progress.

By looking at policy discourses and gender equality talk through a longer lens, considering situations of feminist visibility and invisibility, acceptance and repudiation, and inequalities that are speakable and unspeakable, we see how inequalities in the creative and cultural industries come to be both enduring and endurable.”

Commentary

Ever since becoming a creative worker in the 1970s before going to the only available tertiary-level art school there’s been clear and obvious gender inequality in the media, arts and cultural industries in Australia.

Other biases and inequalities remain but gender bias affects the greatest number of us here.

I came across this article by Maura Edmond, School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University in Melbourne while researching in aspects of inequality in the film and television industries.

Links

Julie Ritson: Julie Ritson – My life as a BBC News Camerawoman – Pt 1

“As I enter my 35th year as a BBC News camerawoman, I feel a need to pass on my experience, advice and stories to the next generation. I’m also on a mission to encourage younger filmmakers into the world of TV News. Most of this video was shown as part of my ‘How to become a TV News filmmaker’ webinar on 31st January 2023.”

Commentary

We’re looking forward to seeing part 2 of camera journalist Julie Ritson’s My life as a BBC News Camerawoman soon but there’s plenty to see and read on her and her work below..

Meanwhile do also check out for fellow BBC camera journalist Danny Bull’s new videos and website through the article at the bottom of the list.

Links

Danny Bull: Video Breakdown: BBC News in Ukraine

“A deep analysis into shot composition, edit and equipment choice while the BBC is in Ukraine. The BBC team on this shoot: Dave McIlveen on camera, Paul Adams reporting, @thewirlinzim, Daria Sipigina, Mariana Matveic.”

Commentary

There’s nothing like learning from the professionals regardless of your genre and subject matter for video storytelling.

BBC Camera Journalist Danny Bull analyses a video report made in Ukraine shot by shot.

Links

Cole Haddon: On Screenwriting: Twenty Screenplays by Women to Study – Commentary

https://medium.com/@cole.haddon/on-screenwriting-twenty-screenplays-by-women-to-study-898caa6f47ba

“Twenty screenplays written by women to download for free and study….

If you’re an aspiring, emerging, or established screenwriter and you are not reading screenplays by women, you are failing yourself in so many different ways….

To help you in your education, I’ve curated a list of twenty screenplays written by women (and, on three occasions, co-written with a male partner)….

These screenplays have a tendency to vanish, as all things do on the Internet. Download ASAP if you want to read and study any of them.”

Commentary

This list of great, recent screenplays written by women is an excellent starting point for all writers.

Links

  • B&H Affiliate Link – click here to research and purchase or pre-order your choice of cameras, lenses and accessories for stills photography and video production whatever your genre and subject matter.
  • Cole HaddonOn Screenwriting: Twenty Screenplays by Women to Study – Published on Medium and may be behind a paywall or require subscribing.

Fujifilm House of Photography High Speed Photography Workshop with Fujifilm X-H2S on Saturday 4th February 2023

We attended the Fujifilm House of Photography high-speed photography event in Sydney after a harrowing ride on a train replacement bus and got there late as a result, losing the opportunity to make pre-event photographs. 

For most events that we cover the before and the after are often more photographically rich than during the event itself unless it turns into a riot or a confrontation with the authorities. 

Stephen Pierce made an in-depth presentation on using and getting the best out of the Fujifilm X-H2S camera before illustrating how one Western Australian photographer, Shelley Pearson, uses it in combination with the Fujinon XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8.0 R LM OIS WR super-telephoto variable focal length aka zoom lens for bird photography. 

Unless you’re Fujifilm Australia staff member and motorsports photographer Andrew Hall or bird photographer Shelley Pearson then you don’t need a Fujinon XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8.0 R LM OIS WR super-telephoto variable focal length lens.

Until you do.

Or at least you need to be able to give one a serious tryout.

We’re often asked to recommend cameras and lenses by friends, acquaintances and complete strangers as we were recently by a former neighbour who’s now living in a bird-rich region north of here.

We gave him some pros and cons for looking at current APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras and their long focal length lenses but had no hands-on experience to go by.

He chose Fujifilm.

This suburb where he lived from when it was mostly bush has lost most of its wildlife due to ongoing overdevelopment but we’ve turned our little patch of paradise into a haven for brush-turkeys, so-named for the shape of their tails that can morph from filbert-shaped to fan brush and back.

We’d love to photograph them but doing it well depends fast and deal accurate autofocus with really long lenses for when they fly up the gum trees at dusk or flutter down from them at dawn to gather, chat with each other then forage for seeds from the native plants we love so much.

We’ve had some remarkable experiences over the years with our brush-turkey friends and often converse with them in a call and response fashion when they’re carefully foraging through the leaf litter and grass seed heads.

Why we need the Fujifilm House of Photography

We dropped into the remaining – we used to have two of them nearby – local camera store to research for some articles about current generation gear for documentary video production made by Fujifilm, Panasonic and others and it was a stark reminder of why Sydney’s Fujifilm House of Photography is so useful, essential in fact.

Wouldn’t it be great if other brands did something similar to Fujifilm and then we wouldn’t have to keep asking for retailers to get gear we’re considering purchasing in from the different brands’ warehouses.

The brand reps, we’ve been told, justify the difficulty in getting gear we’re considering purchasing by the existence of online reviews, apparently telling camera stores that nobody wants to touch and try before they buy anymore.

We dispute that especially when we’re considering which camera and lens systems to go with when re-equipping with contemporary stills and video production hardware.

What next for Sydney’s Fujifilm House of Photography?

To our knowledge this is just the second event to be held by the Fujifilm House of Photography since it opened in June 2022.

Stephen Pierce announced there would be more events for genres including architectural photography and applications including video production as well as videos so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and will continue to attend and make photographs as long as they keep letting us in the door.

Next time there’s track work we’ll leave the house even earlier than usual and do a proper job of covering the event.

Fujifilm X-H2S & Fujinon XF 150-600mm f/5.6-8.0 R LM OIS WR

Links

BBC Senior Cameraman Danny Bull Reports on Live Broadcasting on the Thai-Myanmar Border & How He Does It at F-Stop Frenzy

Danny Bull, BBC Senior Cameraman based in Bangkok, Thailand, has just launched F-Stop Frenzy, his “blog dedicated to all things cameras, lenses, films, news, and documentary” with a story about live broadcasting on the Thai-Myanmar Border.

We came acros this story while waiting for the upgraded video of an online webinar about news video journalism by BBC camera journalist Julie Ritson to appear on her YouTube channel below. 

Given the ongoing convergence and crossover between different forms of video production, in this case documentary moviemaking and news journalism, it’s useful to learn from experts in other fields. 

Sony a7S III, Sony FE 24-105mm f/4.0 G OSS & Sony XLR-KM3 audio adapter

“Our goal is to provide you with the latest news and reviews on the best cameras, lenses, and film equipment on the market, as well as valuable tips and techniques to help you take your photography skills to the next level.

In addition to our product reviews and tutorials, we also share in-depth interviews with accomplished photographers, cinematographers, and filmmakers, who share their personal stories, insights, and advice for aspiring artists….”

We’re now subscribed to Julie Ritson’s YouTube channel and social media as well as Danny Bull’s channel.

How does Danny Bull do it and with what?

Although not all the gear he uses may be suitable for self-funded independent documentary moviemakers, it is certainly exactly right for other camera journalists – the new and non-sexist term the BBC is using for what used to be referred to as a “cameraman”.

Danny Bull’s core gear list

Sony A7siii camera
XLR-K3M
LiveU600 unit
Mini LED lights – made by iWata – these are fantastic and cheap
Reflectors
Lapel mics
Headphones
Extra mini XLR cables for wireless lapel mics
Memory cards
Loads of batteries for the Sony A7siii
AA batteries for our wireless lapel mics

He shares his current lens choices in a comment below the article:

For the last few years on the A7iii I’ve been on the 24-105mm f/4.0 mostly. then a wide and a 70-300mm. but run and gun 24-105 and the crop up sensor worked for most conditions.

With the new Sony A7Siii I’m also on that lens but i’m trying out the 24-240mm on today’s shoot, I liked it more than I thought I would.

He wrote this about neutral density filters:

I dont yet have a solution for ND’s on the lenses yet,…

That’s something I’m liking about the Sony FX6, variable ND. and hoping to upgrade to that at some point for situations like this.

His tripod as depicted in the header photographs is a Sachtler flowtech tripod, known for being fast and easy to set-up and dismantle on location.

What alternatives are there to Danny Bull’s Sony & Sachtler gear?

Sony’s 35mm sensor aka “full frame” cameras and lenses are expensive and are often beyond the reach of self-funded indie documentary moviemakers but there are some excellent alternatives now.

Panasonic’s Lumix S Series cameras and lenses are also equipped with 35mm sensors and the brand’s experience in professional video production goes back decades.

Panasonic’s Lumix G Series cameras with their Micro Four Thirds sensors also deliver excellent results and the smaller, lighter M43 sensors make for more effective in-body image stabilization aka IBIS.

We’re looking forward to the successor of the Lumix GH6 having the phase detect hybrid autofocus aka PDHAF that appeared in this year’s S5 II and S5 IIX, replacing the sometimes challenged Depth-from-Defocus  aka DfD that Panasonic persisted with for too long.

Fujifilm’s X-H2 and X-H2S APS-C/Super 35 flagship hybrid cameras have advanced radically in their video production capabilities,  their sensors also allow more effective IBIS than 35mm and their autofocus capabilities have leapt ahead in the current generation.

Sachtler flowtech tripods are excellent though not necessarily affordable so we recommend Miller Tripods’ Solo range – we have one and love it, and the Australian company is the inventor of the fluid head.

Next for Danny Bull?: Sony FX9 Cinema Camera

Links

Women’s Agenda: ‘Tired of seeing same faces’: The women who feel left out of International Women’s Day events and the Coalition of 25 advocates wanting to transform representation

https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/tired-of-seeing-same-faces-the-women-who-feel-left-out-of-international-womens-day-events-and-the-coalition-of-25-advocates-wanting-to-transform-representation/

“International Women’s Day (IWD) is coming up on 8 March, but many women from diverse backgrounds don’t expect their voices to be included in the month-long celebrations across the country.

Australian IWD celebrations often centre white, non-disabled and straight women, and a recent national survey of 419 women, trans or gender-diverse and non-binary people revealed that almost 7 in 10 respondents don’t feel represented at IWD events, panels or in the media.

Half of these respondents indicated having at least two intersecting identities and being from racialised, minoritised or marginalised communities such as First Nations, refugees, people with a disability, women of colour, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and LGBTQIA+….”

Commentary

This initiative looks good on the surface but is it just another variation on same as it ever was?

We’ll see if we can find out more soon.

We didn’t come across the survey mentioned above and it is now closed so suspect that not everyone who should have responded has done so.

We’ve attended and photographed a number of International Women’s Say rallies and events over the years and have noted how so many classes of people have been left out altogether with the same faces and names coming up again and again amongst the speakers, the panel members and the presenters.

Not once has anyone who looks like us been one of them.

The same applies to the alternative speakers presented in one of the PDFs below.

Links

Meanjin: This Is About the Nation’s Soul

https://meanjin.com.au/blog/this-is-about-the-nations-soul/

“This Is About the Nation’s Soul

Amy Remeikis
January 31, 2023

‘Art should astonish, transmute, transfix’, Brett Whiteley once said, adding ‘one must work at the tissue between truth and paranoia’.

And, in recent years at least, in the crack between poverty and scraping by, as Australia’s arts and cultural scenes were stripped of the support necessary to enrich the nation’s consciousness—or even just brighten someone’s day. Creatives may be compelled to create, reflecting back our hearts, fears, desires and whimsies to the mutual benefit of the nation at large, but the nation’s representatives felt no such compulsion to fund it.

The pandemic was just the nail in an increasingly cavernous coffin….”

Links