Rokinon – First Impressions

So I purchased two Rokinon Lenses for my setup. I sold off my fixed lens camera and got another 60D and two lenses, more memory etc. I purchased both the 85mm Rokinon 1.4 and the 35mm 1.4 lenses. My first impressions are simply, WOW!

First, the 85mm. NOTE: these ARE manual lenses.

The picture is beautiful. I was amazed at how sharp and how paper thin the DOF was when using this lens. Because they are manual, the 85mm below anything 2.8 aperature requires a steady eye and quick micro adjustments on the focus ring in order to get a shot that is not blurry. That is just the way it is. I would confidently, without a doubt recommend this lens to the videographer using DLSR without hesitation. Keeping in mind that your focus pulls and framing are going to have to be done on your feet because there is no zooming beyond the physical which by default provides a much more professional look if you have a rookie behind the camera. So if you are a video guy, this is a MUST have lens in your bag. If you are a photographer mostly, I would suggest something like a Sigma 50mm 1.4 or the Canon version. I recommend the Sigma but both are really nice.

The 35mm…

Rokinon 35mm

This lens is absolutely beautiful and feels so sweet.. 2 issues.. One, mine broke on day two of filming. The aperature ring rotates but the interal gearing mechanism failed. Two, what I was able to shoot however came out beautiful. I have replacement on the way, (Amazon Rules) but what I was able to note with this lens are as follows:
For Videographers ONLY. If you think for a second you’ll be able to focus in on any object at 1.4 or even, sadly, 2.8, you’re in for one heck of a disappointment. This lens is absolutely, without a doubt, throw me down and kick the dog NOT for photographers. Unless I’m just missing something.

The 35mm on a smaller, cropped sensor camera, it was more like a 50mm lens but I was very happy with the range the crop gave me as far as field of vision. Some of the shots I got here around the house, the lens felt great, smooth with a beautiful look. For a price tag of $499, if you are really into photography over video, I would pass on this lens. But if you are doing anything independent film and want a look that is just amazing in low light, this lens is for you. I’ll let you know if that aperature ring was a fluke in the single unit or if they are inherent in the build quality. Only time will tell and I’ll scrap it if I get another broken one.

Posting a video with the 85mm. I think you’ll like it. ūüėČ

Harry Potter VS Transformers

The last couple of weeks, I had the fortune to get out to see 2 films. ¬†“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II” and “Transformers 3 – Dark Side of the Moon”.

The reason I wanted to just do a quick review, is because I think for anyone that reads this site, you pretty much know that I am a serious film goer and I don’t enjoy crap. ¬†So if your a person who loved “The Phantom Menace”, there’s nothing here of interest for you, move along. ¬†For those that do enjoy a good movie, and I’m really not trying to just pick apart either, some of what I say may¬†resonate. ¬†Let’s get started. ¬†(Spoilers to Follow – Look away now)

So we got to see both HP and T3 within a 3 day span. ¬†I enjoyed both movies, but one clearly fell short. ¬†Can you guess which one if you’ve also seen both?

Harry Potter. ¬†Let’s just jump right in. ¬†The film carried itself very well in my opinion and much of the VFX was just phenomenal. ¬†This was the first of the 2 movies that we saw. ¬†Why did it fall short?

They had a 10 year storyline and in the end, it seemed very apparent to me that they lost focus to generate a great ending. ¬†I would even say, the ending fell VERY SHORT of what they built upon in the film. ¬†Each arch presented more of an excitement for me and when I was expecting that final arch, Harry Vs. Tom, it just dropped off the cliff for me. ¬†I was not wowed, and I was not impressed. ¬†I’m not saying at all that I could have done any better, let’s be clear. ¬†But what I would have loved to have seen was that story arch peak to a point that drew you up to the final battle, and to me, it just happened. ¬†I thought it was going to really begin when Nevell took out the sword and Harry turned out still alive. ¬†But it was like, “Here you go Voldamort – Now we’re going to kick your ass!” but then they all ran away… ¬†Is it just me?

And the final part when Harry and Tom did finally duel, they again were alone in a courtyard with no witnesses.. ¬†I felt that after 10 years of this poor kid having to face these demons on his own, they really should have brought everyone together in the end. ¬†I could go so deep on the story here, but I think that would only be a waste of time because I’m not a writer and probably wouldn’t do the film justice. ¬†And perhaps that’s what the writer intended, I don’t know. ¬†Would I spend $12 to see it again? ¬†Probably not. ¬†But I’ll probably rent it again on HD Streaming or something when available to see if I was sleeping behind the wheel.

Compare this to T3..

Let me just say, no one does it like Micheal Bay.  He is definitely one of my favorite directors when he can curb his 13 year old humor (Which is hard to deal with at times) but he clearly listened to his audience complaints about the 2nd film and I thought he did a brilliant job.  The story was for the most part, well crafted and the delivery of the action was really really pumping and seamless (for the most part).

I thought the CG was incredible and some of the stunts performed in the film (3D) were just jawdropping. ¬†I don’t know of another director who could pull off what MB did. ¬†Was it perfect? ¬†No. ¬†I think the only perfect films are the likes of “Jaws”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.. ¬†pacing, music, dialogue, story, they are just brilliant and I consider them perfect classics. ¬†This was clearly the best of the 3 films, but I was surprised to see the Rotten Tomato scoring for both. ¬†Actually, based on my my last write up, not very surprised, but didn’t expect the tomato ratings to be reversed from what I just watched.

Anyway, the point being, if you have the chance to see either, I would say both are good movies but Transformers 3 clearly wins. ¬†And you really should go see it in 3d before it’s out of theaters.

Just my 2 cents..  I needed to vent.

Screening Update

We had the screening on Saturday evening and overall, it was a real success. ¬†It accomplished exactly what we intended it to accomplish. ¬†We were able to sit down, have some soda, well, beer AND Soda, some popcorn and other snacks… ¬†We gave out note cards and pens so people could reference ideas, suggestions, comments to the timeline in the film. ¬†We watched it and some folks clapped, some didn’t.

Okay, so what did we learn?

Lot’s. ¬†First, we need to make some shot adjustments in the film. ¬†There were clearly some objections to the use of more than a few shots and while I could default to the heart and say, “well, they were here for this and that”, I’m going to default to taking a harder look at what we used, why and where. ¬†So the general sense I got was, we should have asked folks to NOT write down during the film because my experience for this type of film, the length and the narration, if you miss something, it’s likely something won’t make sense. ¬†And of course, there were some things that people questioned. ¬†Which is exactly what was intended.


Roof of Car

When writing this film, the intention was to be ambiguous. ¬†That challenge with ambiguity is that it can frustrate some audience members. ¬†However, we CANNOT spoon feed this kind of story and make it interesting. ¬†We see movies for the entertainment value, not to get a life lesson so we want to be careful to separate the two, but we also want to make you as a viewer, “Think about what you just saw”. ¬†Graphically, we tackle very specific subject matter and it’s difficult when you don’t want to give away plot.

So, the plan is, is to maybe, MAYBE shoot one additional scene, rearrange a couple of things around and tighten up some things.

One of our friends who is a critic beyond all critics, which is why I love the guy, said simply, “It was much better than I expected”. ¬†Of course he went onto share why and what he didn’t like but overall, the general sense was we accomplished something film wise that would be regarded as successful. ¬†We would like it to be unquestionably successful so we’re going back in folks. ¬†Not for long. ¬†Nothing should take more than a couple of weeks to get through this and I think we’ll be in a very very good place to submit this for scoring.

So, all in all,… ¬†it was great, GREAT to see people watch our film and enjoy it and ask questions after. ¬†Thanks to everyone who took the time.


First Private Screening of “Despondent”

Israel and reached out to some folks to see if they’d be interested in seeing an unfinished, finished product. ¬†Right…

Okay, so where we’re at with the film. ¬†We are showing our first private screening of the film. ¬†The only thing missing? ¬†The music. ¬†We are however using all the temp tracking that we’ve been using to line up and score with. ¬†We’re doing this to venture into uncharted territory.

As a storyteller and film maker, you tend to produce your own level of pride andor ignorance towards the audience. ¬†It’s, in my humble opinion,¬†unavoidable. ¬†Sometimes, as we’ve seen through the latest round of “Star Wars” films, a blatant arrogance to the audience. ¬†I’m talking specifically about George “Bring me another Goblet of something cool and refreshing, along with the Head of a Pig!” Lucas. (Courtesy Brian Regan).. ¬† While I think our arrogance is not intentional, the fact is, you can lose site of your audience because YOU as the film maker already know the details of your story. ¬†So perhaps arrogance is a strong word when in fact I would say, it’s more ignorance. ¬†Arrogance would be ignoring your own ignorance. ¬†So there, settled.

Despondent - On the Web

So, we’ve opened the doors up to a small handful of people where we will screen the film, in it’s entirety while providing pens and paper for constructive feedback. ¬†We’ll take this feedback and use it (where applicable) to make necessary changes or additions to the film so that we don’t have to necessarily “go back” and do it again after we’ve locked it for scoring. ¬†It’s a pretty significant hurdle for us and we’re pretty excited about it.

Am I excited to hear the criticism of the film? ¬†Nope, not at all. ¬†I hope EVERYONE Loves it.. ¬†However, we know that there will be pretty significant suggestions and we’ll have to weigh these suggestions out against time, scope and cost.

We are shooting for Sundance submission in August. ¬†I think we’ll get it in and even if it’s not accepted as a screener, we’re hopeful that someone who’s interested in up and coming film makers who can tell a good story while keeping an audience interested will see it. ¬†That could lead to more opportunity to do what we love. ¬†Isn’t that the goal of every filmmaker? ¬†To make a film people enjoy and give you opportunity to do what you love and get paid for it. ¬†Wows that would be something.

So, the next update will be, “what did people think”. ¬†I’ll give a general take after the fact and what’s planned.

If you are a film maker with some talent and are interested in the screening, contact me here through the website.  It will be on Saturday at 7pm in Gaithersburg, at a private theater.  Cheers!