In terms of film making stars of the internet, certain names like Laforet, Hurlbut, Bloom etc immediately come to mind. Another name to add to that list is Frank Glencairn.
Writer, Director & Cinematographer Frank has been happily sharing his thoughts and work on the internet through social media, his blog and various forums. His portfolio of projects online show his professionalism and understanding as a cinematographer. From high end projects, corporate and experimental, all show his vision, eye for detail and ethos. Give him a consumer based camera he can pull out beautiful images that a lot of us can only dream of.
His work with the Sony FS100 is incredible, creating an image quality and cinematography that far outshines many works on more expensive equipment as opposed to the sub £5,000 camera. He even created his own picture profiles and shared them for free from his site.
One of the first to receive a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Frank straight away began to blog and conduct baseline tests.
Frank also plays and experiments with the camera. Trying different lenses, taking it along with him to various shoots, sharing all through his blog and twitter. Any initial problems or bugs and you'll find Frank on the various forums sharing his knowledge and solving the issues. Remember when we were told we should wait for the M/43 version of the camera to use PL mounts, Frank had already attached a Angenieux Opitmo 15 – 40 lens to the camera, showing how it can be done.
For his actions recently at a cinema during a showing of Skyfall alone, he deserves a medal (and became one of my heroes in the process).
Best of all Frank has agreed to answer some questions for us here at BlackmagicUser.net.
BU: So, before we get into the camera, I just wanted to ask what inspired you to get into film making and who were your heroes and influences?
FG: After seeing the first Star Wars movie as a kid (the REAL first Star Wars - A New Hope), back in 1977, I decided to become a filmmaker. We had a huge meadow behind our house where they used to dump all the snow from the inner city. I talked my poor mum into standing on a snow mount (in the middle of a snowstorm) and swinging a X-wing fighter model on a broomstick over the scenery, while a friend was throwing fire crackers in the snow. I filmed that with my dad’s super 8 camera and cut it later together with Viper start scenes, out of Battlestar Galactica that I filmed from the TV screen. That was my first 'movie' and VFX shot.
Later I got a degree in communication design and photography. First I was working as a fashion photographer, later as video editor, but then I went back to my roots, not only as a DP but as a self contained filmmaker.
BU: Has their been any new talent that has caught your eye?
FG: This summer I worked at a US production for a week, together with Rodney Charters, Nino Leitner, Frank Mirbach and Phil Arntz. Phil is the most talented 17 year old bloke I ever met. I was really blown away, how mature he is for his age, by his knowledge, talent and work. He just finished the WWII short 'Sophie' and I bet in a few years he's gonna earn his first awards.
BU: What projects have you been using the Blackmagic Cinema on?
FG: I’m shooting a series of 10 minute documentaries called '10DOC'. It’s about people that live their dream and do what they love to do with the most passion possible. The pilot 'Man of Steel' was shot on a FS700 prototype but the rest will be shot on the Blackmagic. Just finished 2 more episodes, but can’t show samples here at the moment. Teaser will be up in January.
I’m going to Bastogne (France) in December to shoot more material for my 50 minute '1945-Entering Germany' documentary. Also there are two independent feature films in planning, where I've been hired as DP and already convinced the production to use Blackmagic Cinema Cameras as A-cameras.
BU: You've had the camera for a while now and have been using it in various situations. How has the camera performed and has it lived up to your expectations?
FG: Better than I thought. Of course there where some quirks to sort out in firmware but most of it is already done. I hope with the next update, that we should see soon, the camera should be ready for prime-time. In my first article [right after NAB 2012] I talked about some ergonomic problems the future users are gonna run into, and most of it still stands; All the plugs are on the wrong side, glossy screen, and what not. However for the image I get out of the BMCC I’m happy to work around all that.
BU: The quality of image you're getting, how does it compare to other systems?
FG: It’s poaching in Alexa and Scarlet territory for a DSLR price - you can’t beat that.
BU: You recently said on twitter that you enjoyed working in RAW and would find it hard going back. Why?
FG: I’m a great fan of DP Deon Beebe, especially his 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. When I saw that film the first time, the sort of images I always wanted to create. Rich, thick, creamy, but sharp and with an insane DR. The Cinema Camera is the first cam that gives me exactly those sorts of images right out of the box. Once you've played with that sort of material there is no way back. You are completely spoiled.
Frank's Blackmagic Cinema Camera Dynamic Range Stress test:
BU: You are the first person we've seen who's been pairing the camera with older lenses, what were the results like?
FG: I have a nice set of mint Zeiss primes of the 1960s.They are medium format lenses and their organic look goes pretty well with the non-videoish look of the BMC - a great match, that I use for most of my doku shots. Unfortunately there are no wide lenses in that set (the widest is a 50mm). I also have two supersharp Vivitar Series1 zooms, from the first batch, that were still made by Kino Precision - they are a PITA to handle, because they are pumpgun style zooms, but I love the image they give on the BMC.
BU: What would you advise as the top purchases to be made with the camera before all others?
FG: A Heliopan BLF 1x, LW -0 filter. The BMC is prone to far-IR pollution, especially with heavy ND in front of it. I use it religiously on top of every lens I own.
A good rig - I like the Bebob very much - and a v-mount plate that provides different voltages to power anything you need from one battery. Also you want a off-board monitor. I have the TVLogic with proper histogram, great peaking and audio meters, since the BMC’s monitor is hard to see in certain situations, especially under sunlight. The peaking is not exactly stellar and even if we get VU meters with the new firmware, you want them where you are looking at and not on the back of the camera.
BU: You have had the camera with you on many shoots, what have been others reaction to the camera?
FG: It’s quite a conversation starter. Most people think it’s a 'new digital medium format photo camera'. Never experienced so many guys coming up to me and asking, "what the hell is that" before.
BU: How much has the camera changed how you work and is it worth it?
FG: I learned to light different - more natural, more contrasty, cause I know, the BMC can handle the DR. That’s quite liberating, but it took a while until I got it. Post is different though, because I stopped using proxies and round-trips years ago, since Premiere was able to handle all natively. But that’s not a deal breaker. I learned Resolve (actually still learning something new every day) and started to like it very much.
( Click here for Franks Post workflow for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera blog entry )
BU: Should Coking and Popcorning become the new tarred and feathered, as well as the official punishment for all breakers of cinema etiquette?
FG: Absolutely. Since a lot of those wannabe gangsta brats just don’t give a sh..t - I think vigilante theater enforcement is absolutely an option these days.
All here at BlackmagicUser.net thank frank for his time and online efforts. If you're not following Frank Glencairn online (whats wrong with you?) then you can find his blog at http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/ or follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/FrankGlencairn or his Vimeo account here