UNITED PHOTO PRESS - World Photography Day: August 19th 2013

UNITED PHOTO PRESS - World Photography Day: August 19th 2013

More than ‘just’ a picture and more than ‘just’ art. A photograph is a memory frozen in time, emotions and all. World Photography Day is all about celebrating photography. Whether you see yourself as an Amateur, Hobbyist or Professional, August 19th is a day to embrace your love of photography.

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The photo is a universal language. It is something that came true in a given time and a given space. That moment photo, often belonging to a distant past becomes alive and present before our eyes and our emotion. It is an instrument that opens the door for you to create and recreate images of the world. Each person pointing camera for any image to be photographed has a different look from the other and this is an unimaginable wealth. Are small peculiarities seen by a camera, and the other camera on the other. This diversity of focus multiplies each moment lived, immortalizing particularly a moment of joy, excitement, natural beauty, artistic expression. This variety of looks is what makes it so fascinating and rich the act of shooting, making it often a true work of art.

In addition, photography is one of the instruments that light up the memory. Without memory there is no history and no history there is no life to remember. Man, from the earliest times, always wanted to perpetuate, telling stories to the children, for the grandchildren so that their narratives crossed time. Even without the mastery of writing, the memory was the only chest of stories. But the man felt then that needed to record what was happening and began to paint the actions of his life on cave walls, initiating the art of painting and writing: acts of memory.

Time passed, the painters continued to record life, until, in the nineteenth century a fact change the view of art and the world: the advent of photography. Before that, there were only two ways to "freeze" a picture: keeping it in mind or asking a painter to do a painting. The first photograph, recognized as such, was made in 1826 by Frenchman Joseph Nicepháre. There was photographic film yet. The image was then recorded on a glass plate with the aid of a darkroom. Had to be even a landscape, because the photo took 14 hours to be registered. Imagine if it were to portray a person! - "Watch the birdie! Just a little more! Watch the birdie just over 14 hours. "

The 14 hours turned into seconds. The frozen image gained movement and voice. Today, we can write an image to the phone memory or computer and even a gold record, able to withstand the ravages of time and the immense radiation in orbit. This disk will into space carrying a collection of photos on board a satellite communication. But nothing compares to the act of contemplating, as long as you want, the moment immortalized in a photo.

August 19, marks the World Day of Photography and is a time to celebrate, it is very good to get a photo album and remembering that ride, that trip, that birthday party, those who were absent but remain with us, not only in the heart, but looking us in the eye! Despite the ease of digital cameras, many still prefer the delicate frame of smiles and always surprising images from the pages of a photo album.

Carlos Alves de Sousa
Executive President

Swedish championship: Photography without professional equipment is that possible?

I decided to photograph the Swedish Championship in Sweden (Borås) I got my accreditation so I could take photos without any problems with accessibility.

Before I decided to shoot Swedish Championship, I thought about going there to photograph without professional equipment? Let's try and see how it goes I thought, and packed my gear and drove to Boras.

I started with photographing bowls that held the middle of the center where both competed and was able to test on as an amateur. The pictures were great and colorful.
Crosscart, Cars and Motorcycle
As number two, I chose MC / car & crosscart that was running in the woods on a hill, put on my 150-500 lens and was looking good spot for photography, the competition started with MC.

Crosscart, Cars and Motorcycle
Everything worked fine with my lens when I looked at the pictures only problem came when the sun disappeared when the pictures were not as good in color longer.

Gliding aerobatics
The third sport, I chose flight on Boras Airport but this day the weather was bad with rain and clouds in the sky. I put on the 150-500 lens and set the camera for at least 1/1000 sec.

There were mixed results when the sun came and went, but good enough to be used at high level.

Gliding aerobatics
When the sun disappeared so became the pictures again quite boring with dull colors against the gray sky, had I had better equipment so had obviously images become more useful.

Gliding aerobatics

Swedish Championship in Roller Derby

The sport involves practitioners, divided into two teams, running on an oval indoor track and points are awarded to a player (wailing, marked with a star on the helmet) that runs by each member (blockers) of the opposing team. Blockers is to block the path of the opposing team's jammer and help their own jammer to make it easier to get past. This is done by using different strategies. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins.

Roller derby was developed in the USA during the 1930s and was originally an entertainment sport. At that time played both ladies and gentlemen. In the 1970s, the sport died out of the 2000s revived, this time as an underground / do-it-yourself movement with mostly female practitioners.

Roller derby is run on an oval, flat indoor track. A match (called a bout) lasts for a total of 60 minutes and is divided into two 30-minute periods. The sessions are in turn divided into several jams that can be in a maximum of two minutes and 30 seconds break in between.

The teams consist of up to 14 players each. Ten pieces are on the track at the same time, four blockers and one jammer from each team. Substitutions may be made from yams. A blocker may have the role of pivot, closest comparable to a quarterback in American football, and have certain privileges. Pivot is marked with a stripe down the helmet and wailing with a star.

Each jam starts with the blockers start in a cluster (called packing) behind the front starting line on the track. Jammers start position is at the rear starting line, directly behind the peloton. Everyone starts at the same time on the referee's whistle. Lamentation first task is to try to squeeze through the peloton. Blockerns task is to try to boost their own jammer through the pack while preventing the opponent's jammer to get through. This may be done through tackles according to certain rules. The jammer who first manages to get through the opposing blockers without being penalized for any fouls called lead jammer and has the right at any time to cancel jammen by placing his hands on his hips. The two jamrarna will now quickly run up the peloton again after which point the count begins. Wailing will now try to get past so many motståndarblockers as possible. Each rule according overtaken motståndarblocker gives one point. When lead wailing marks with hands on hips or when two minutes have elapsed, the jam is over.

Around the web, there are seven judges, including those on roller skates, with different roles. Five keeps track of the bunch, and two follow opposite jammer to keep score. 

UNITED PHOTO PRESS - Tommy Hammarsten - Sweden 2014
Vídeo coming soon...!

Sarajevo Film Festival - An art "BOOM" during the Bosnian war.

Sarajevo Film Festival - Photography by Ricardo Praga
Sarajevo Film Festival is one of the most important film festivals from Eastern Europe which can differentiate from others due to its origins and this year, from 15th to 23rd of August, celebrates its 20th edition.

The festival was not created either "before" or "after" the Bosnian Independence war but "during" the siege.

Such event is a live proof that, no matter which bad circumstances in life people are facing, there is always need and space for Art.

The SFF (Sarajevo Film Festival) was founded in 1995 during the siege of Sarajevo and the attendance to the projections were quite low within that time. However 15000 people were at the 1st edition in which were projected 37 films from different countries.

The SFF has a strong attention from media and its audience has increased to more than 100 000 viewers. Throughout the years the city managed to bring to the capital celebrities such as:

Angelina Joli, Brad Pitt, Bono Vox, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, Morgan Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cave, Gérard Depardieu, Michael Moore, Kevin Spacey, Danny Glover, Eric Cantona and many others.

SFF is not only an attempt to bring the 7th art to an audience and definitely shouldn´t be about celebrities, red carpets and people with money. The reason why this festival drags so much attention from media and movie stars is due to all Sarajevo film festival History. According to Mirsad Purivatra, the festival´s Director, the event should be a place especially to promote Balkan films and discuss Balkan issues.

Srdan Golubovic – Film director presenting the movie “Circles” at the SFF red carpet
There is so much more to know about the festival that cannot just be told but should be experienced. Only this way is possible to understand why there is such an interesting and special atmosphere at the place.So, if anyone thinking on traveling throughout the Balkan area then is a great opportunity to do it during the festival time.

For those more curious, the following videos can provide a better impression of the environment.

Text, photography and video by Ricardo Praga

Srebrenica Massacre – 19 years after the genocide

Gallery 11/07/95 – Design by Ricardo Praga based on the photography artwork from Tarik Samarah
Gallery 11/07/95 – Designed by Ricardo Praga based on the photography artworks from Tarik Samarah

Being part of an organization such as United Photo Press don’t mean only to do photography or painting and promoting it throughout the world, means also that we can use those activities that we are good at to raise awareness on World´s current problems and conflicts. By using your personal skills together with an initiative spirit, the United Photo Press can indeed provide you with the opportunity to highlight important causes or events. Due to that, as an artist and member of UPP, I would like to take the chance to recall today´s date, 11 July, the day which started the Srebrenica Massacre in Bosnia back in 1995. Have been only 19 years from what is known as the biggest genocide after World War 2. More than 8,000 Muslim men were rounded up and killed when the town of Srebrenica was seized during the Bosnian war. These people have been buried in mass graves during the war times and till now only over 6000 have been exhumed from mass graves to be buried at Potocari cemetery.

Today the remains of 175 victims are being buried at Potocari Cemetery and every year more remains are found and put together till families agree that is time to bury them. 

There are still around 2000 victims somewhere in hidden mass graves across the Drina valley, today´s Republic of Serbia.

The past shouldn’t be forgotten and the crimes committed are no different of the genocide committed in other camps such as the Auschwitz. Therefore, young people should be constantly reminded of the crimes and must do all that is necessary to never let such things happen again.

Gallery 11/07/95 – Srebrenica – Photography by Ricardo Praga

 It´s important to know that such event didn´t happen so long time ago and must say that I do remember very freshly those times. Incredible to think 19 years ago this was happening just in Europe but things in that time seemed so far away…
Nowadays as countries in Europe get more near each other with borders dropping allowing free transit between different cultures, this phenomenon that happen back in 1995 is just near to unthinkable but on the other hand very recently we were assisting to a War happening in Ukrainian soil which is showing that we, as human kind, are not taking the proper actions when such conflicts as the Bosnian one appear. We didn’t established proper protocols to prevent innocent people to die.

We are not learning much from past mistakes even if we are aware of previous horrifying genocides or is it possible that we just start to forget since medias not playing the role of recalling important History facts and instead pumping the general public with many other information far from relevant. Today while running through several international media channels I could verify that there was not much information about the events that happened in 11 July 1995 or the ceremony of the 175 victims that were killed during the massacre and finally the families have the chance to do a proper burial today. Bosnians every year are burying the victims at the 11th and doing ceremonies in this day to recall the terrifying acts of the Genocide, the street´s walls from the capital scream for Srebrenica with graffiti painted on the walls and a big gallery just at the city center of the capital call for the 11 July 1995. From my perspective such date should be propagated worldwide to let people know what power, politics and religion can lead to if not driven by compassioned, reasonable and intelligent people.

Today with the United Photo Press we would like to take you back to 1995 and recall what happen during the times of the Massacre and due to that we have been at Gallery 11/07/95 in Sarajevo, one of the most important galleries in the capital with the main aim to call for awareness of the Srebrenica events.

Text and images by Ricardo Praga

The Sixth IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Japan and First IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Europe

Expression and impression in Fine Arts 

Most important expectancy in this case, The Sixth IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Japan and First IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Europe is a more refined artistic vision as a result of the world window.

This is a time when art appropriates scholars’ precepts to regurgitate spontaneous gestures of creativity.
The art, being a manifestation of language, own codes and signs that are interpreted by the public and the enrichment comes with this exchange of culture between the Continents.

The art work in motion, in short, is the chance of a multiplicity of personal interventions, but it is not amorphous invitation to indiscriminate intervention: is the invitation not necessary neither univocal to targeted intervention, to insert ourselves in a free world, however, is always the one desired by the creative artist. He offers, in short, the spectator a work over.

Saíra Kleinhans
Founder President
IAPAJ Worlwide


Since 2003, Canadian photographer Michel Campeau travels the world to photograph darkrooms. Toronto, Mexico City, Havana, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Niamey, Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo were stops to record these chambers of analog photography. Technological progress makes these rooms, where icons of picture making once were crafted through the use of chemicals on silver gelatin paper, obsolete. Today they seem like allusions to a time long gone.

Campeau highly appreciates these historical places. He regards their fate as an important means to bring attention to the influence of globalisation and proceeding digital revolution on culture industry. However, he also refers to the thus visible regional standards of photography, which are, as he points out, not as universal and ethnocentristic as the Western world may perceive them to be. His Photographic Darkrooms are evidence for that.

Martin Parr, who published some of the work in an editorial series wrote about it:

»Most photographers have spent hours and days in that peculiar environment known as the darkroom. Here, prints are magically created using chemicals and light. Campeau’s photographs show the passing of an era. As digital production takes hold to a greater and greater extent, we will look back at these images and mourn the darkroom’s passing.«

Canon EOS 1DC: Is this the "perfect" camera?

Such an important camera

I've been using the Canon EOS 1DC for the last few weeks and I wanted to explain why I think this is such an important camera.

First of all, let's look at what exactly this camera is.

The Canon 1D series has a long history of being at the top end of Canon's still camera range. It's always been expensive compared to their other cameras and you only have to pick one up to see why. It's heavy. Not only does it have a dual horizontal/vertical aspect, with a second, perpendicular hand grip at the bottom of the camera, but many of the controls are duplicated as well for ease of use in portrait mode.

The extra grip also provides space for the large battery, giving the device the sort of extended power provision that is essential if you're working in the field, away from mains electricity.

And then there's the fact that it feels like it is hewn out of a single chunk of metal. It isn't - it's much more complex than that - but it does give you the reassuring feeling that this is a device that's going to last and last, even if it's used all day, every day.

Consistent with this impression is the reassuringly positive and fast action when you lightly press the button to take a picture. It happens almost instantly, accompanied by the sort of clunk that you get when you close the door on a very expensive German car.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a top end camera that's begging to be used hard.

And that's before you see the pictures.

1st DSLR to capture 4K video

What makes the 1DC different - in fact unique - is that it's the first DSLR that can capture 4K video.

Now, quite obviously, if you're the first, you don't have any standards to comply with. Canon had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with this camera, and they made some interesting - some would say controversial - decisions. 

The biggest of which is probably that they chose MJPEG as the compression format for 4K.

This is not the newest codec for storing video. It's certainly not the most efficient, but there are clear and completely justified reasons for Canon choosing this in my view.

First of all, it does a very good job. Look as hard as you like and you'll struggle to see artefacts. The bitrate at 4K is pretty phenomenal - about 3.6GB per minute. You're going to need a lot of storage.

4K frame grab

4K frame grab 1:1 crop

But what this gives you is essentially a string of individually encoded frames. There's no interframe compression to worry about. Each individual frame is there in its own right, without any need to refer to adjacent frames. Most of the time, this is a big advantage.

And because it's a well-known codec, you're able to play and manipulate your 4K footage in quite a few NLEs without any complaint. To grab individual frames I brought 4K footage into Premiere. I even clicked on a 4K MJPEG .MOV file and said "Open with Photoshop". This worked without hesitation: The latest Photoshop CC opened the clip - as a video - and I was able to step through the frames and export with ease.

"Flowers" 18Mpixel still

Specification-wise, there are cameras with more pixels, for less money, that weigh less. And some of them are very good. But what comes out of this camera, with the right lens, is simply superlative. And that's not just pictures that you take in an ideally-lit studio; it's everyday shots that you snatch opportunistically as well. Quite simply, this is the sort of camera that can quite often turn the mundane into magnificent.

There's absolutely nothing new about a DSLR that can capture video. All of the arguments about whether you should be taking video with a DSLR still apply with the 1DC. It's probably not the best form factor for shooting video. It doesn't have a global shutter. You can't autofocus - in fact, you can't really focus-pull. But despite that, at HD resolutions, the optics and the sensor do a great job.

So clear, so sharp

That you are able to do this is pretty important with this camera because the 4K footage is so clear, so sharp, that you can absolutely select individual frames and use them as stills.

Of course if you do this, you're not getting the ultimate quality from the camera because you're not using raw, and because your pictures will only be made from eight megapixels. But eight megapixels is more than enough to give you a good image, especially on a camera of this quality. Just the fact that you can select exactly the right frame from the thirty per second that you've shot gives you an unprecedented ability to capture exactly the right moment.

And sometimes this is the only thing that will give you a decent shot. I was taking some pictures of my daughter in a restaurant in the available light - a mixture of perpendicular window light, and incandescent light bulbs. What sounds like a bit of a nightmare was actually handled very well by the camera. The Auto White Balance got it exactly right, and the fact that the lens was opened right up gave a lovely out of focus background with a great looking bokeh.

But there was a problem. The depth of field was so shallow, that it was hard to get the focus right. More often than not, my daughter's nose was in focus but her eyes weren't. And because she was talking and gesticulating at the time, it was almost impossible to get a good shot.
4K movie mode

So I put the camera into 4K movie mode. I just took about six seconds (I didn't have the biggest memory card with me at the time). It looked OK on the camera's LCD screen so I brought it home and opened it up in Photoshop.

What I saw was revealing.

About four-fifths of the clip was not properly focused. The depth of field was too shallow, and there was too much movement. It was still usable though - I think people are used to this type of DOF issue and because the subject was moving, it was excusable.

As I went through the short clip frame by frame, I came across some images that would simply have been missed if I had been shooting stills, unless I was extremely lucky. The control was so precise that I remember approaching a group of frames where the focus on my daughter's eyelashes was improving. I simply stepped forward to the frame where the focus was perfect, and exported that as my shot.

It's hard to explain how good it is to work like this. Cameras have been striving for this type of capability ever since the days when film-based SLRs had fast motor drives. But the 1DC is about five times faster than these ever were. The slight loss of ultimate resolution is in my view a small price to pay for the ability to get the right shot at the perfect time.

All of which illustrates another point: exactly how good the 4K from the 1DC is.

It also highlights another debate: the one about raw vs compressed video that's ready to use.

"Bottesford" 4K frame grab

"Bottesford" 4K frame grab 1:1
A moving high resolution still picture

We'll be returning to this in other articles but for now what I would say is how great it was to shoot some clips and to know that they'd be usable straight out of the camera. In fact to call these "usable" is to understate it. The 4K video from the 1DC looks like a moving high resolution still picture. It really is that good.

How can this be? It's compressed, and it's only 8 bit. Surely that can't be compared with 12 bit raw uncompressed raw video?

No, it can't. It's not going to be as flexible as 12 bit raw uncompressed. You can't push it as far.

But don't forget that the 8 bit MJPEG compression in the 1DC is being fed with extremely high quality images in the first place. What this means is that despite the apparent disadvantages of the codec, to all intents and purposes, the images are extremely good. I've also read several reports that say you can actually push the images quite far in grading as well.

So, what you get with the 1DC is not just one camera, but essentially three of them.

You get a "conventional" still camera, and it's one of the best you can buy. You get a still camera that can take thirty eight megapixel images per second. Working like this is a complete revelation, and once you've tried it, you won't ever want to be without it.

Finally, in the same device, you have a wonderful 4K movie camera. Despite all the potential drawbacks compared to dedicated movie cameras, this is definitely something you would want to have. Here's why.

The DSLR video revolution has turned a huge number of professional still photographers into video makers. Most of them still concentrate on still images but with the 1DC, with the same sort of kit you've always carried with you (ie a professional, heavy, no-compromise DSLR) you can make cinema-quality films as well. The footage you can get with the 1DC wouldn't look out of place in a National Geographical wildlife documentary. In fact, if you're in any breaking news situation and you have one of these, it's not difficult to see whose footage the broadcasters are going to choose. To put this in perspective, the European Broadcast Union has designated the video from the 1DC as "Tier 1", which is their highest quality category, suitable for absolutely any broadcast use.

I strongly believe that the 1DC is the first of a new class of cameras that will become the staple kit that photographers worldwide will want to take with them. It's almost like magic: take a top-end still camera with you and with the press of a single button, the mirror jumps out of the way, and you can make top end 4K footage as well.

Is it expensive? Well, not if you're a professional. It costs about the same as a small car. If I were a serious professional photography freelancer, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one with my own money.

Free venues at the Montreux Jazz Festival

We always announce the Festival lineup in two parts, because at Montreux we showcase music in all its forms. These events represent music from the heat of the afternoon to the cool of dawn. Here is our second array of performances and projects, all completely free!

Free Venues

The Rock Cave // doors open at 9 pm, first concert at 10 pm

This year the Rock Cave presents not one but two live performances per night, in a space that has been slightly enlarged in order to better enjoy a close encounter with artists of the Swiss and international kind: the Fat White Family is a grouping of six English bad boys whose smooth rock–like themselves–is tempered by a sharp edge from rougher days. Twenty-something brother act Drenge disguise their raging rock in layers of electric pop music, with a delicately torturous result that smacks of post-punk and the White Stripes. In stark contrast, the hot dreams of Timber Timbre sound like angels singing their hearts out—hearts that the Canadian crooner will be breaking non-stop with his powerful folk vocals. Also not to be missed is the elegant, rhythmic rock and melodic refrains of just-announced Brooklyn trio SKATERS. Also in the mix: TOY, The Lords of Altamont, Blues Pills and, above all, Swiss rock that never stops.

The Rock Cave program

Music in the Park // starting 1 pm

To live the summer outdoors, come to Parc Vernex starting at 1pm, whether with the family or just your main squeeze. On the green lawn, big bands from all over the world will kick things off with a bang! After the crowds have had time to sample the rich culinary offerings of the stands along the promenade, and as the evening concerts approach, Swiss and international bands proudly take the open-air stage. A veritable explosion of diversity is scheduled, mixing new discoveries and famous artists: Guillaume Cantillon “Kaolin”, Opé Smith, Maceo Parker, The Rob Ryan Rob Show, a Japan Day with huge stars from Japan Hotei et Lisa Ono, the dark-wave Zurich sound of The Beauty of Gemina, Australia’s The Jezebels, and even Ella Ronenaccompanied in sign language by specialist Laura Schwengber…

Music in the Park program

Aftershows at the Lab // starting after the concerts, until 5 am

Every night after the concerts (except 11 July) the Lab metamorphoses into a temple of electronic music, opening its doors to night owls of all descriptions. The aftershows lineups feature the hottest acts that are lighting up dance floors all over the world, including Dantom Eeprom,Nina Kraviz and Daniel Avery. Discover amazing talents likeGramatik, out of Slovenia but now operating out of Brooklyn, or Montreal’s Kaytranada. A few long-established artists will keep things on an even keel: Ellen Allien, Michael Mayer, Matias Aguayo andEtienne de Crécy.

Aftershows at the LAB program

Aftershows at the Club // starting after the concerts

The jams after the concerts at the Club prove that improvised music is alive and well at the Montreux Jazz Festival! You’ll want to keep a close eye on the mood every single night if you would like to experience the artists from the main venues and the competitions communicating with each other–and with the audience–in the language of improvisation.

The Studio // from 11 pm to 5 am

The Studio, another venue that gets people on the dance floor, has a subtle theme each night showcasing house, progressive house, and techno. This year’s surprises run the gamut from Klangkarussell, well known for their hit Sonnentanz, to the Chicago-Detroit tracks of Green Velvet and the irresistible new sound of L.A. duo Claude VonStrokeand Justin Martin. The Brodinski-esque French wave of the label Bromance will sweep you away with Monsieur Monsieur andLouisahhh!!! and MK makes a triumphant return with USA-style house-disco. An electronic smorgasbord!

The Studio program

Educational projects and Workshops

Le Chalet d’en bas // everyday starting 4 pm

This ephemeral museum brings to life the Festival’s rich cultural and technological heritage, with interactive exhibits, direct access to the concert archives, and a rock-n-roll photo exhibition. Some of the attractions include: “Other Music”, exhibition of rock photos byCatherine Ceresole; iPads and a chronological video wall displaying Festival archives footage; new technologies developed at the EPFL (Lausanne’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) such as Sound Dots–sonic umbrellas–and a 3D visual and acoustic recreation of the concert hall in the old Montreux Casino. Also on display is thewall of light designed by Cauboyz, which visitors can activate using a Wurlitzer piano. If you are thirsty for more than music, a line of gourmet lemonades is available as well. 

Workshops & Competitions // starting 1 pm

The workshops exist to continually question our relationship with music of all kinds. One of Montreux’s trademarks is to provide “alternative” venues for artists to interact with the public in an intimate afternoon setting. This year, Neil Cowley, Monty Alexander, Tigran Hamasyan, Moderat, Manu Katché and Oh! Tiger Mountain will discuss their music (and perhaps provide examples!) at the Petit Palais. A lecture series will push back the boundaries of the relationship between music and science (featuring researchers from the CHUV or CERN), cinema, and the human body. At the Montreux Palace, theMontreux Jazz Artists Foundation continues to intensify its support of young artists, organizing the famous Competitions in Voice, Piano, and Guitar. These are veritable springboards for young talents in Swiss and international jazz, with the winners earning admission to theMontreux Jazz Academy opening this autumn…and why not a gig at the Blue Note New York?

Workshops program

Swiss artists

Claude Nobs was always proud to point out how each year our local artists prove at Montreux that the Swiss music scene is truly vibrant, whether in popular music, jazz, rock, or DJing. Music in the Park, the Rock Cave, El Mundo, and the dance floors of the Studio…the Festival offers an incredible array of Swiss artists that you can’t afford to miss:Cheyenne, Forks, Lady Black Sally, Camion, Kruger, Iris Moné,The Bianca Story, Klischée & Band, Annakin, Stevans and Gustavalong with many many more!


NAB 2014: Digital Bolex D16M, Native Monochrome RAW

Even though they don't have a booth at NAB, the team at Digital Bolex is making news with the announcement of the D16M, a native monochromatic version of their popular 2K camera.

Although you won't find Digital Bolex on NAB 2014's official exhibitor list, you wouldn't know it by their impressive event presence. You can find the original D16 at no fewer than five booths, including that of Wooden Camera, Zacuto, Pomfort and Switronix. And, better yet, Joe Rubinstein and company will be walking around the event, showing off their latest creation.

Dubbed the D16M, this new camera has the same form factor as the original D16, but there's a significant change under the hood. According to this blog post, the D16M sports a native "black and white sensor for highest quality monochromatic capture without the need to debayer, retaining a higher sensativity to light and preserving the full dynamic range of the sensor."

Here are the technical specs:
Kodak native monochrome sensor
Same resolution options as D16: Super 16mm (2K), 16mm (HD), and Super 8 (720p)
No OPLF filter to further maximize fine details
ISO 100, 200, 400, 800
500GB Hard Drive

Fans of the original D16 love the ultra-filmic images that the camera produces, and as you can see from the video below, the D16M does for black-and-white what the D16 does for color. You can read more about the camera and the thoughts behind it's making by reading Elle Schneider's blog post.

Water Drops on the D16 Monochrome from Digital Bolex on Vimeo.

Digital Bolex's Kish lenses out soon - for only $300 - $350! Also work with MFT cameras

Digital Bolex unveils a set of c-mount prime lenses that are as unique as the Bolex itself

Along with the recent release of the D16 Mono-chrome camera, Digital Bolex has unveiled the latest, and very close to final, version of their Kish Prime Lens set. 

The lenses come in 10mm, 18mm, and 38mm and operate with a fixed aperture of ƒ-4. The are said to have a one-hundred and eighty degree focus rings that are designed to be compatible with follow focus systems.

According to their announcement, the team at Digital Bolex chose to produce the lenses with a fixed aperture sprung from the desire to create a superior lens at an appealing price point.

“What we found was that designing a basic lens with a really nice image was relatively straight forward, but when the F-stop changes it gets a lot more complicated.”

The major costs behind designing and producing lenses isn’t simply related to materials. Beyond the basic components of metal and glass, elaborate engineering is required to make lenses that don’t vary in color reproduction or image resolve. This is an important approach, since the lenses are designed primarily for use on the D16, a camera that has always had an emphasis on color rendition. 

“Top quality lens manufacturers spend a lot of time and money trying to get a lens’s performance curve to be consistent across a large F-stop range. This causes lenses to be much larger, have more elements, and of course cost much more... instead of building lenses with many thin elements, we designed lenses with fewer thicker elements. This is cheaper and easier to design, but much more difficult to manufacture. It took a long time, but we are now very happy with the lenses we have.”


The lenses are compatible with Micro-Four-Thirds format cameras too.  According to the folks over at Digital Bolex the 18mm and 38mm will completely cover the sensor of a MFT camera, while the 10mm vignettes just a small bit.  This is apparently because the newly developed lens housing
The lenses will be available for pre-order soon in the Digital Bolex store and are expected to retail for between $300-350 each.

United Photo Press contemporary artist Ricardo Praga and his Psychedelic Circus"

Ricardo Praga at the Gambit Gallery – Exhibition “Culture Clash – Deviations” – photography by_Alen_Nurkic

"Psychedelic Circus as never seen before" is the subtitle of the new exhibition “Culture Clash – Deviations” from the Portuguese contemporary artist living in Prague who claims to be Ricardo Praga. 

An exquisite melancholy from Prague´s streets in contrast with attributes of physical labor, military and the world of printed media - in hyperbole associated with clown noses - it is open to the public till the end of June at the Gambit Gallery.

Lovely morning after coffee – Artwork by Ricardo Praga
Ricardo Praga (1979), real name Ricardo Silva, quotes sophisticated arrangements and surreal sets with a distinctive view from the diversity of European cultures, that’s his perception several years after moving from his native city of Porto to Bohemia. Fascination with the Prague´s magical scene, its domestic and street motifs completed by the current symbolic portraits and photos with ready-made ​​elements. Lens skills are excited with a decadent touch, theatrical makeup and mysterious spirit. The important role of detail in rectangle geometry form of the window frame or fine woolen pompom within the sock.

Author of his pictures which with enthusiasm openly discussed his views with the interested visitors of the gallery, around him develops documentaries, participate in international festivals and other diversified art projects. "Many are not ready for a similar style, because it requires concentration from the side of the viewer. Is not only just about whether you like the work or not, but on the ability to transport it into another time, place or context." Transferring meaning and freedom of other interpretations, the viewer is immediately activated, which perceived the participants in the opening, where Ricardo outlined some of the possible interpretations of the “Footprints” series.

"I intend to stop the audience with the graphic aesthetics and through that, allow them to generate a personal relationship to the objects in the picture," says the Bachelor of arts and multimedia from ISMAI University of Porto. "Violin Time is part of the collection “Prague Fairy tale” that explores the beauty of Prague as a city, its magic and mysticism. In its contrast, “Lovely Morning After Coffee” focuses on the frustration and the dark dreams of those who live in the circus of life." Ricardo remembers his childhood backyard at home in its parents house in Porto. "It's a magical place full of fantasy, a circus, in which anything could happen."

Last month we had pieces of the Portuguese artist presented in Prague Photo Festival, where - in addition to demonstrations of the latest cycle - also exhibited partially the pantomimic collection “Pink Street” (Ružová Street). "It's amazing that I have as a Portuguese possibility to pass a little of the 'Czech culture' throughout the world," sums up while smiling the photographer who is just going to personally escort his Black & White and color formats to an exhibition at the Palais Kheireddine in Tunis. Within this year, it is also planned 2 exhibitions in Japan and 1 in Madeira.

Text by Dana Benešová-Trčková for the Czech Television (Channel> CT24)

View from the top: In depth Interview with Russ Dodgson, Head of Nuke at Framestore

Russ Dodgson is Head of Nuke at Framestore, and a VFX guru responsible for some of the most memorable CGI achievements of recent years

As part of their Velocity series designed for freelance video professionals, Scan Pro Video interviewed Russ Dodgson, Head of Nuke Worldwide at the award winning, multi discipline agency Framestore. They've given us permission to reproduce it here. Special thanks to Matt Aindow for writing this and pulling it all together. 

We’ve noticed a rare but increasing trend in the creative industries known as Pay it Forward. Displayed by some of those eating the hard-won fruit at the top of the tree, the idea is that the help you received as a non-entity or runner from your guru was handed on with a caveat; that some day, should you be in a similar position, you had to inspire the next generation and reinvest your skills and knowledge, charging them in their turn to do the same.

Russ Dodgson is one of those wonderful industry aberrations paying it forward, sharing good practice and career development tips with the rest of us. He’s the Head of NUKE at the Academy Award winning VFX palace Framestore and a professor for the online training course FXPHD. We jumped at the chance to talk to someone at the fore-front of the industry and we asked the Velocity community to send us any career questions relating to working in Post. The response was tremendous and the overlap of wants and needs allowed us to synthesise a general list of questions. You’ll hopefully find the answers you need in the following interview.

His notable recent work includes lead compositing on Galaxy Chauffeur, the Skyfall title sequence, Pepsi Crowd Surfing, Coca-Cola Siege and The Tale of the Three Brothers from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Russ and his wife are expecting a visit from the stork any moment now so let’s get on with it!

SPV. Hello Russ and thanks for giving us your time to share your industry insights when you are on the brink of fatherhood. Well above and beyond the call!

RD. Hey no worries, it’s a pleasure...but I am indeed expecting a little one any day now so if this interview ends abruptly you know where I’ve gone.

You entered the industry about ten years ago after graduating with an MA in special effects. Can you describe a traditional and non-traditional route into the VFX industry and which would you recommend to someone today?

Wow, starting with a tough one! I think the traditional route is similar to a lot of other industries, and it involves a steady promotion-style flow through a company’s
ranks. In the slightly older traditional route, you’d start as a runner. Back in the day, access to equipment and training was hard to come by. You would take a job as a runner and from there it was all about the ‘hustle’; trying to get as much time sitting with an op as possible whilst being indispensable in an admin capacity, etc. Today, the more traditional route probably entails first going through a college programme or maybe starting as a runner having already done online tuition. Online teaching and downloadable PLE software has definitely democratised the learning process which has changed the entry-level landscape a fair amount.

The non-traditional route is far harder to define. I would probably say my route has been far less ‘traditional’. I started in college really; we weren’t allowed to use NLE systems until our 3rd year, which really annoyed me. So I took out a student loan to buy my own NLE system. This allowed me to accelerate my learning and help other people on the course with their edits etc. This taught me the importance of being self- reliant, which has stuck with me ever since. I did an MA in VFX and was then offered a paint and roto job at Framestore straight out of college. This would have been the beginning of a more traditional route for me. Instead I took a job at Pinewood working on a Jerry Anderson CG TV show. This was a definite baptism of fire and was a really exciting time. Following this experience, I started my own small company with a DOP friend of mine doing lifestyle shoots and post work for small clients. At this time I was also working in architectural visualisation and learning new skills and software including Nuke.

Learning Nuke at the right time allowed me to make a sideways move to Framestore, and eventually to build up the Commercials Nuke team as it exists now. So that is a fairly unorthodox route.

By far the number one question we had was “Did you work on Gravity?”

Sadly, no. Tim Webber and the team did an outstanding job. Objectively, I think it’s the best use and execution of VFX in a film that I’ve seen yet.

We agree. It’s a wonderful movie and I think it’s a tour de force of cinema synergy. Congratulations on winning the Oscar. How important are gongs for the facility, team and individuals involved?

I think when you have been working on a ‘labour of love’ for that long any form of positive reinforcement goes a long way. At the
end of the day the team worked on a milestone in VFX history and the pride and love the team had for the film was unique. They
truly deserved the Oscar and I think it means a lot to them but the sense of pride they feel as a group must be even more precious.

Which project has been the most rewarding for you to work on and why?

There have been quite a few and for very different reasons. I would say the Harry Potter ‘Three Brothers Sequence’ is up there for a number of reasons. The
director was great, the team did an incredible job, the animation was beautiful. From a 2D perspective, I was working with an incredibly artistic comp artist and the challenge was to make the renders look and feel like animated concept art. Other standout jobs were Coke ‘Siege’ which was great fun and a crazy challenge, the ‘Skyfall’ titles because they are so iconic and Galaxy ‘Chauffeur’ [the advert that brought Audrey Hepburn "back to life"] because it taught me a lot.

Why was Chauffeur such a learning curve?

Creating a CGI human face is still one of the most challenging and elusive goals within our industry. In this case we had an incredibly difficult brief. The human
face is difficult enough but the real killer was recreating someone that famous that so many people have a deep affection for. Audrey Hepburn is so iconic; she ‘means’ something different to different people. Some people see her as defining an era, some see her as playful, some as classy.

One person will consider definitive Audrey as her in her teens, some in her 20’s and others from her later career. Also in recreating someone so beloved that has passed away there is feeling of responsibility and in the end it had to be signed off by her family.

You work closely with Nuke developers and teach international masterclasses for the foundry about Nuke. You're also a professor for the online training course FXPHD. With the constant development of hardware/software, how do you keep up to date with new innovations? Do you ever stop learning?

I am a big believer in constant education. I’m always doing online classes and keeping up with what is being taught in case I have missed anything (which inevitably I do). I also think that you should try and get hands on experience whenever possible. I spend a lot of my spare time doing photography, carrying out tests, learning new tools, etc. Also a lot of reading and developing your own artistic tastes and opinions is important. It is also important to surround yourself with talented, proactive people and learn from them.

I often hear the excuse in creative circles that they don't have either the time or the inclination to get to grips with what's happening under the bonnet of a workstation. When it comes to understanding which components do what in your workflow and wider ecosystem I believe most creatives have been infantilised. As a Head of Department I know you are tech savvy, but is it on a need to know basis or do you think it's important for up-coming artists to have a deeper understanding of IT?

Personally I think it is really important to know how and why the systems you use work. The more disconnected you are from the technology the easier you can get left behind. I have always been into hardware. I love staying on top of camera equipment, shoot gear, PC components, developments in hardware, etc. It does evolve quickly so I can understand why it is easy to get behind. With all that being said I wouldn’t consider it critical for an artist to know the tech/systems side deeply but a general knowledge goes a long way.

Artists are notorious for bodging the costing of a project and undervaluing their work. A common question from our Velocity freelancers clearly stems from a concern about pricing a job correctly. What advice do you have for us? How do Framestore accurately estimate how much time a project will take to complete?

Let’s see...how long is a piece of string! This really comes down to what info we have been given up front. Sometimes we are just given a broad idea and we have to
guess what the reality will be. In these instances we have to rely on our experiences and the ‘type’ of job it is. From storyboards we can be more accurate as it gives
us a sense of timing. Often a written description of a scene can fill you with dread but actually it’s really simple. The next best is if we are given, or do our own, previs. This means we can get really granular with the quote. The best case scenario is if we can collaborate with the client to get them the best commercial for their money. Often resources are wasted due to a lack of transparency early on; if you collaborate, you can do the most effective work for the best price. All we ever want to do is give the client the best version of a project possible for the budget.

So your advice is to start with the budget and reverse engineer the amount of work that can be accomplished within that framework?

I think that is the best environment for creating good work, the more collaborative the process the better the outcome. Look at ‘Gravity’; we were heavily involved in the film making process and the end result was impeccable.

Another common thread from the list was a variation on the theme of ‘How do I gain experience if I need experience to get a job?’

The classic chicken/ egg question, eh? If you are happy to start as a runner, a very keen willingness to learn and ability to apply that learning practically goes a long
way. But you have to remember that you may be competing with college graduates who have had at least some basic structured training. Online course are a great way to get your hands on materials to make a showreel with. I am a big believer in going out and shooting your own material and making something that shows your artistic side; it’s always useful to see what the candidate considers to be a good-looking shot, without the filtering that happens with found footage or another director’s vision.

We’ve been watching some excellent showreels submitted as entries for the competition. How important is a solid showreel when applying for a position at a facility like Framestore?

Showreels are important but I often go off a resume and references first. Everyone looks for something different. In commercials, I’m less interested in whether someone has worked on a big film shoot than in what they have specifically contributed to a particular shot. Often different candidates have the same shot or sequence on their reel because so many people worked on it. I’m actually a really big fan of personal work as it shows the individual’s artistic intent and gives me an idea of what they themselves think is good. But at the end of the day I like good references. Obviously the interview is critical. When hiring a junior artist, for example, if the person’s skills aren’t quite there but I can see that they are driven to improve, and that their character is a good fit for the team, I’ll give them serious consideration.

You are a Head of Department at a multi-award winning agency. How difficult is it to get to your level in the industry?

That is a bit of an abstract question. For me, getting to this level is the result of my putting in a consistently high volume of effort purely out of a love for my job. But, generally speaking, so many things can affect the process of getting where you want to be. I was very fortunate that I learned Nuke at the right time when very few people in town were using it. This along with the fact that I get on really well with the developers at the Foundry means I was in a great position when the opportunity arose. When you get opportunities, though, it is all about what you do with them. I spent my whole childhood learning martial arts and learned that the best opponent is yourself. I think this has helped me to never be so satisfied with where I am at the moment that I can’t see where I’d like to be in the future.

Can you briefly describe a typical day at the office?

I used to have a more typical day but these days it is pretty wild, which suits me well. I cover quite a few bases at different times. If I am VFX supervising a job I’m either doing meetings upfront, on a shoot or comping/supervising in the office. A day in the office then normally starts with (offensive) banter with my team, a sit down with the producer to catch up on the day’s goals, checking the team is on track with their shots, comping, and then maybe a review session.

When I’m not VFX supervising I’m normally doing HOD (Head of Department) tasks. At the moment, for example, we are developing our pipeline so I’m spending lots of time designing workflows with the pipeline team. The most common joke is that I’m never at my desk for more than five minutes before I’m pulled into a problem solving session or involved in a meeting. I love it though, keeps things interesting!

We’ve noticed an imbalance in the ratio of male/female entrants for the competition. Is this still a male dominated industry and if so how are Framestore encouraging young women in to the workplace?

Hmmm, I guess you could say there is a bit of stronger weighting towards men in the industry but there really isn’t a reason why that should be. I don’t think we do anything different to encourage women or men, we just look at the strongest showreels, resumes along with their references. At present my team has a really good mix and some of the more senior artists and figures within the company are female. My advice to everyone is focus on the work.

Before you dash off, what advice do you have for someone who wants to work in post?

Firstly, decide if ‘the juice is worth the squeeze’! This means that to get far in the industry, you have to accept that it can be a cruel mistress sometimes. You need to decide if you are hungry for it and prepared to put in the time, or if you want to it to be more of a steady job and want to ‘leave it behind’ when you go home. I’m not saying either approach is bad or that you can’t make it work another way, but from experience what doesn’t work and can lead to disappointment is if you can’t or don’t want to put in the time but then expect to move up the ranks. VFX is the type of industry where there is always someone else willing to go the extra mile. A lot of artists are in it because they love what they do and consider it to be more than just ‘work’.

My biggest piece of advice, probably for any career, is to make sure you don’t become self-entitled it can be a really ugly and destructive trait. I try to remember that I’m not owed anything and have to work hard for what I want or think I deserve. I find this keeps me grounded and balanced and stops me getting in my own way.

We made it to the end and you’re still with us. Looks like baby Dodgson is dug in and quite happy where s/he is. We should give you leave to be with your family, so finally on behalf of Scan Pro Video and our Velocity 2014 creative community we would like to congratulate you on your impending new arrival and wish you good luck with that . If you aren’t too busy, will you come and say ‘hello’ to the Film & MoGraph category winners when they come along to collect their Framestore ‘Goodie Bag’? Maybe even a mass selfie alongside the Gravity ‘Oscar’?

Of course, it has been great to be involved and to help out with these questions. Good luck to all the entrants and if I can free up I will definitely come and say hello.