Photoshop for 4K Video

Photographic retouching is nothing new, and it’s as common as the digital technologies used to take the photos themselves. Retouching a video, however, is a bit trickier, and it usually requires more work to make a specific effect blend in with the rest of the image. Foton, Inc, a company from Japan, is working on technology that is achieving simply mind-blowing results with video that look as good as any Photoshopped image. Click through to check out these impressive clips.

This is what Foton had to say about the first video

We developed special movie retouching techniques that won’t damage a detail of material, and don’t use “blur skill” for it that is why you feel more real. And also we work on 4K data without compressing 4K into HD. This model already had the natural beauty. However,we could improve it more to perform retouching,free transform, and color correction in the movie.

It appears that the software is advanced enough to track with subjects’ faces as they moved around the frame, allowing for the edits to be consistent throughout the entire video without any blurring (look at how clear the skin is!). Although the new technique does away with frame-by-frame editing, Foton says it still spent 3-4 days creating the short proof-of-concept clip above.

This sort of manipulation is commonly done on movies and TV shows, but it usually takes a tremendous amount of time and work to do something like this on this sort of scale, and make it blend in perfectly. It’s not often that you need to actually do this much to a video image, but if you could, and it could be done rather quickly and efficiently, why wouldn’t you?

Here are a few more of their videos:

The other videos don’t seem to be embeddable at the moment, but you can check out the rest on Foton’s Vimeo page. You might be thinking that this isn’t all impressive or that they do this all the time on movies, but most effects are not done at 4K, as the cost is just too great. It also seems that the technology they have can be made to work with lower resolutions, but I’m sure they have a custom tracker that works a lot better when there is more information and more detail.

The real test for this sort of thing will be to see it with a lot of motion. It’s likely the tracker will have a difficult time if the scene changes drastically, but since we don’t have any examples of that, we can’t be sure. Can you do something like this in After Effects? Probably, but the amount of detail that is retained after retouching is impressive, and the retouches are blended seamlessly in a pretty impressive way.

What do you guys think? If the technology needs the extra pixels, does this make the case for 4K video? Have you done any retouching like this in your own work?


[via Gizmodo & PetaPixel & Fstoppers]

Digital camera gives a bug’s-eye view

Insects have a wide field of view and are acutely sensitive to motion, as anyone who has tried chasing a housefly knows. Researchers have now created a digital camera that mimics the curved, compound structure of an insect eye. These cameras could be used where wide viewing angles are important and space is at a premium — in advanced surveillance systems, for example, or in unmanned flying vehicles and endoscopes.

Insect eyes are made up of hundreds or even thousands of light-sensing structures called ommatidia. Each contains a lens and a cone that funnels light to a photosensitive organ. The long, thin ommatidia are bunched together to form the hemispherical eye, with each ommatidium pointing in a slightly different direction. This structure gives bugs a wide field of view, with objects in the periphery just as clear as those in the centre of the visual field, and high motion sensitivity. It also allows a large depth of field — objects are in focus whether they’re nearby or at a distance.

The biggest challenge in mimicking the structure of an insect eye in a camera is that electronics are typically flat and rigid, says John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “In biology, everything is curvy,” he says.

The new device, which Rogers and his colleagues describe today in Nature1, comprises an array of microlenses connected to posts that mimic the light-funnelling cones of ommatidia, layered on top of a flexible array of silicon photodetectors. The lens–post pairs are moulded from a stretchy polymer called an elastomer. A filling of elastomer dyed with carbon black surrounds the structures, preventing light from leaking between them. The lens is about 1 centimetre in diameter.

“The whole thing is stretchy and thin, and we blow it up like a balloon” so that it curves like a compound eye, says Rogers. The current prototype produces black-and-white images only, but Rogers says a colour version could be made with the same design.

This is the first time researchers have made a working compound-eye camera, says Luke Lee, a bioengineer at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved with the work. The trick, he says, was building and integrating all the parts of the ommatidia. “Usually people just show one part, the lens or the detector,” says Lee. In 2006, for example, Lee’s group made arrays of artificial ommatidia that had microlenses and light-guiding cones, but no photodetectors2.

He says that Rogers made the device work by predicting the mechanics of how his designs would stretch before building them — to make sure that the lenses would not be distorted when the device was inflated, for example.

Rogers describes the camera as a “low-end insect eye”. It contains 180 artificial ommatidia, about the same number as in the eyes of a fire ant (Solenopsis fugax) or a bark beetle (Hylastes nigrinus) — insects that don’t see very well. So far the researchers have tested it by taking pictures of simple line drawings (see image).

With the basic designs in place, Rogers says, his team can now increase the resolution of the camera by incorporating more ommatidia. “We’d like to do a dragonfly, with 20,000 ommatidia,” he says, which will require some miniaturization of the components.

Alexander Borst, who builds miniature flying robots at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany, says that he is eager to integrate the camera into his machines. Insects’ wide field of vision helps them to monitor and stabilize their position during flight; robots with artificial compound eyes might be better fliers, he says.

Rogers says that his next project is to go “beyond biology”, by inflating or deflating the camera to adjust its field of view.

Source: Nature

Women Defy Gravity

n this project called Zero Gravity, Moscow-based photographer Nikolay Tikhomirov creates dramatic portraits that feature elegant female figures casually drifting into the air while everything around them stands still. The artist’s surreal worlds are a creative blend between dreams and reality that seem to be emerging from the minds of the women while they sleep.

As imagination consumes them, each woman seems unconcerned about her predicament. She gracefully embraces the lack of gravity and continues to enjoy a peaceful slumber as the world evolves around her. Although we can assume some sort of manipulation is involved, Tikhomirov’s compositions leave no evidence of such, leaving viewers in awe of his dramatic and technically inspiring photographs.

Nikolay Tikhomirov’s website
via [Faith Is Torment]


Martin Scorsese’s Hand-Drawn Storyboards for Taxi Driver

Anyone who’s watched Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver surely remembers, or has remained haunted by, many images from the film, most of which — if not all— began as humble pencil drawings. Like many major motion pictures, Taxi Driver began not just as a script but also as a storyboard, the piece of comic book-like sequential art filmmakers use to plan shots, camera movements, and character placements. Some directors, like Ridley Scott, spend time crafting detailed storyboards, while others, like the thoroughly improvisational Werner Herzog, don’t use them at all. Scorsese falls somewhere in between, sketching out storyboard panels that feel more like brief notes to himself and his closest collaborators. You can see them alongside the Taxi Driver scenes they produced in the video above.

To read the rest of the story go to the original post:

Open culture


Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is an amazing up and coming city. This time lapse is a culmination of 10,000 RAW images and multiple shoots capturing some of the cities relentless energy and pace of change.

Everyone who has visited Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam knows part of the magic (love it or hate it) is in the traffic. Ever since I first set foot in HCMC I have been captivated by the cities energy. Saigon is a city on the move unlike anything I have experienced before which I wanted to capture and share.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the film and thanks also to the numerous kind people who allowed me access to some amazing locations.

The soundtrack is the energetic Mondo’77 by Looper -
Used with permission.

The Word HCMC magazine has published a Q&A interview with some background information on the project:

Winner of Best Experimental Film at Tiburon International Film Festival 2012
Official selection at: DisOrient Asian American Film Festival of Oregon 2012, Mudfest 2012 and ANIMAYO 2012.

Copyright © All Images Rob Whitworth 2011 -
If you’d like to support my work by making a Bitcoin donation – 1HVus5t2s7Mz9oMLdS11gk5QJ6HBDHskaX

Green Screener

iPhone Screenshot 1

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iPhone Screenshot 3

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iPhone Screenshot 5

Get amazingly perfect green screen with Green Screener.

See demonstration video at

For good chroma keying, green/blue screens must be extremely even, or fine edge detail like hair and transparency starts to become blotchy, which is the hallmark of bad green screen.

Invented by Per Holmes, creator of the Hollywood Camera Work training, Green Screener is a new kind of tool for lighting a green screen that breaks your green screen up into bands, so you can easily see how to light it.

Whether you’re working on a $100M blockbuster or shooting green screen in your basement, Green Screener will raise the quality of your green screen to a new standard.


Hollywood’s completely broken

When you stopped buying DVDs and started streaming on Netflix, Hollywood’s economics changed. So did the movies

I was driving west in a classically horrible L.A. morning commute on my way to Peter Chernin’s new office in Santa Monica, thinking about our regular lunches back when he ran the studio and I worked as a producer there in the nineties. Peter, who is now building his own media empire at Fox and had been president of News Corp. for over a decade, was clearly the perfect person to ask what had turned the Old Abnormal into the New Abnormal. First of all, he was incredibly smart about the business. But more important, I now realized that during those lunches, he was the first to warn me that the proverbial “light ahead” was an oncoming train. It was way before things turned obviously grim. Since I was reliably churning out pictures then, I didn’t take his gloomy talk about piracy seriously. I just went around saying, “The landlord has the blues,” and blithely fell into the future.

Peter wasn’t exactly having a hard time making the transition. Once he decided in 2009 to leave the number-two job overseeing the News Corp. media empire, he became the biggest producer at Fox (one of the biggest anywhere), with guaranteed pictures and huge potential profit participation. His first picture was the tentpole smash Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and he already had three television shows on the air. More recently, he released the smash Identity Thief, with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman.

The long drive got me thinking about the contrast between the struggling Old Abnormal producers (and writers) and the soaring New ones like Peter. It was discussed at a fancy-pants dinner party I went to a week before.

“They’re completely broke,” said a studio head, when asked by me (of course) about how different things were these days. He spoke about famous players who regularly came to him begging for favors—a picture, a handout, anything.

“Why?” his very East Coast guest asked incredulously.

I recalled his exact words as I sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic. “They have extremely high overheads,” he said to his guest with me listening in. “They have multiple houses, wives, and families to support. They’ve made movies for years, they were on top of the world and had no reason to think it would end. And then suddenly it did. They’ve gone through whatever savings they had. They can’t sell their real estate. Their overhead is as astronomical as their fees used to be. They’ve taken out loans, so they’re highly leveraged. It’s a tragedy.”

To read the rest of the story go to the original post on

Light in cinema

Light is an integral part of cinematography and is largely responsible for the look of the film. It can easily set the tone of a scene and make or break how “good” a movie looks. It can also be used artistically. Light can represent a feeling or a presence. Coloured lights can hold meaning or highlight the tone of a scene. This gallery will examine how cinematographers achieve the lighting in their films and how that light can affect the audience.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind [1977]

Close Encounters of the Third Kind [1977]

An example of a creative, artistic use of light. In this scene in Close Encounters of the Third Kind The bright light blinds the characters and keeps the aliens a foggy mystery.

Silence of the Lambs [1991]

Silence of the Lambs [1991]

In Silence of the Lambs during this end scene the audience is able to see what is happening in the supposed pitch black basement through the eyes of Buffalo Bill. this is a creative use of light and creates cognitive coherence.

On a technical level positioning the lights is usually about creating a scene that looks good while staying contextual with the environment. However it can also be used artistically. Where are you casting your shadows? What do you want to show the audience or hide in darkness?

3 Point Lighting

This set up is called 3 point lighting, it’s the most basic and the most used set up in cinema. It can be broken down into 3 parts.

1. Key light, the primary source of light in a shot.

2. Fill light, the secondary light, fills in the shadows cast by the key.

3. Back light, used to make an object pop from the background. The 3 point system lights objects in a three dimensional way creating a fuller more interesting image.

However using it by the book often ends up in a “sitcom” look, most cinematographers us variations on this system using only one light, only two or adjusting the brightness of the lights.

To break things down further I’ll dissect each part of the system.

Key Light

Key Light

The key light is the primary source of light in a shot. The complex process of placing the lights for a movie can all be narrowed down to one question: Where is your key? Once you answer that question the rest becomes easy. It’s the just looking at the subject and then applying what is appropriate. Want shadows filled? go ahead. No? Okay then don’t there is no set rule book, just a set of guidelines.

Most of the time the key light should be contextual within the scene, it could be lights from a car, a lamp, a fire etc.

If a character is in a dark cave and a bright light is shining on him from nowhere it’s distracting for the audience. When placing the key shadows should also be taken into account. The majority of the time shadows will face the audience.

Not only does this look better but by having the light come from within the frame it draws the audience in, creating a more 3 dimensional space.

Fill Light and Back Light

Fill Light and Back Light

TO read the rest of the story, go to the original post on

10 Things Inexperienced Cinematographers do that Annoys the Rest of the Crew

1. Re Lighting Every Shot

It has always bothered me when DOPs do this. Not because I don’t want to do the extra work, but because it’s a waste of time and in a lot of cases the lighting will not match.

Once things are set in the master shot, is it actually necessary to change everything around completely?

Tweaks, cheats, additions or subtractions make sense, but I have experienced Cinematographers that literally swap out every single light for something else.

Do not waste the crews time, think about all your coverage while you are lighting your master shot and then make decisions based on that.

DO NOT tackle each shot individually.

2. Asking for Every Toy

This one isn’t so bad for the technicians on set since we love to play with toys, but the production team will hate you.

Inexperienced DOPs will ask for absolutely everything as if they can’t make a scene work without all the fancy gear.

It is the truly talented and professional Cinematographers that understand what tools they need to aid in the telling of the story and make their decisions based on that.

4. Not Communicating Their Goal

The more experience you gain as a technician the less you will need to be walked through things. You will just know what needs to happen and why things are being asked of you.

At the start of your career it can be quite frustrating though.

Often times on smaller sets the DOP and/or AD will decide that a crew blocking is unnecessary or a waste of time (don’t get me started on how moronic that is, but it happens).

Because of this many DOPs will just call out positions of lights and technicians will be left having no idea what these lights are doing and what you are trying to achieve.

This very frustrating and in many cases causes the technicians to hate working for certain DOPs.

9. Making Tweaks to Gear with out Letting Anyone Know

I believe in communication on set, sometimes to a fault.

People need to know what is going on, what has happened and what will happen.

Often times if I tweak a light I will let the people under me know what I have done.

Why? Think about it like this: The more information people have the better and faster everyone will work.    If several changes are made and no one is aware but the cinematographer, what happens when that cinematographer asks for a light to be reset?

If they don’t communicate tweaks the technicians will hate working with them because they spend their whole day in a state of confusion and always feeling like they are trying to catch up.

It is no way to work and build relationships with your crew members.

10. Not Being Grateful for People’s Work

A big part of set etiquette is just shaking someones hand and thanking them for the work they did for you that day.

There are hundreds of cinematographers that don’t care about that and actually treat you like you’re a piece of meat. There is this sense of entitlement, like they are the end all be all of film making.

They are not and neither are you!

To read the rest of the story, go to the original post @ Howtofilmschool


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