American Cinematographer

American Cinematographer is the monthly magazine published by the American Society of Cinematographers. American Cinematographer covers film and video production techniques.

Articles from Vol. 61, No. 10, October

A View from the Kitchen
Despite all of the electronic and computerized magic of modern special effects, some of the most impressive for COSMOS were created "by hand"These seem to be feverish times in the special-effects business. Ever-more complex motion control systems are...
Cinema Workshop
48FPS-A NEW STANDARD?There has recently been some new experimentation with frame rates higher than 24fps in order to achieve sharper and higher quality images. Some of the proposed alternatives are seriously attempting to challenge the long incumbent...
Computer Magic for "Cosmos"
Creating "artificial reality" through the use of computer graphics made possible many scenes that could not have been simulated otherwiseWe call it "artificial reality"-the result of using computer graphics to produce images of objects that exist only...
Cosmos and the Cmx 340 System
One-inch videotape machines gave post-production on COSMOS very much faster and simpler ways to achieve a final product. The COSMOS project was the first project at KCET to utilize the new production techniques that the one-inch machines offer, such...
"Cosmos" - a New Video Look
Although the film portions of the series comprised more than two-thirds of the program material, in the end everything had to be on video tapeFilm or videotape? There is clearly a difference between the two "looks". In COSMOS we have a wide variety of...
Cosmos in Czechoslovakia
It was not unusual, during the planning stages of COSMOS to be confronted with scientific concepts that had little or no screen potential, yet were intrinsic to an episode. Sometimes difficult ideas were made comprehensible and interesting by complex...
Cosmos Post-Production: An Overview
When the shooting stops, the task of putting it all together begins and in this case it was a jig-saw puzzle involving many techniquesMany times, the post-production staff may say, "the show was made (or saved) in the editing room." While that's almost...
Cosmos-The Locations
Ranging over 40 locations, many of them in foreign countries, the COSMOS camera crews spared no effort to film very special footageAlmost two thirds of the thirteen-hours of COSMOS was filmed on 16mm film on location. We faced three major problems:(1)...
"Cosmos" - the Making of the Series
Bigger than all outdoors, this ambitious 13-part series takes the viewer to the edge of the Universe and beyond in the realm of ideasDr. Carl Sagan, the distinguished space scientist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is the author and host of COSMOS, a thirteen-part...
Dreaming to Scale
Reproducing an area as vast as the Cosmos itself, plus the recreation of huge buildings long vanished, was accomplished by utilizing MAGICAMTHE DREAMCOSMOS seemed a grand and audacious dream. The objective was to turn Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist...
"Film" as "Tape" Sound: New Reflections on the Old Battle
Sound (as well as visuals) have the distinction of being an intricate array of optimums balanced by real-life compromises in order to get out the best quality product affordable. On COSMOS, we tried to devise a system that suited us optimally, and I...
How Baksheesh Makes Things Happen on Location
Much of the success of managing the logistics for a film unit on location in one of the developing countries hinges upon the timely and proper application of that most ubiquitous of economic lubricants, baksheesh (or simply 'sheesh as it is usually hissed...
Location and Special Photographic Effects
"There are more stars in the cosmos than there are grains of sand on all of the beaches of the planet earth." "To ride on a beam of light." "In 1908 a piece of a comet hit the earth."These mind boggling concepts, among others, along with Executive Producer...
Location Shooting for Kcet's "Cosmos"-India, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and England
In the autumn of 1978 Andrew Lee, Managing Director of Platypus Films, and myself, were contacted by David Kennard to offer us the possibility of working on the KCET project COSMOS. Naturally we were delighted to be considered for this major production....
On Transporting an English Village to the Victorian Era
The year is 1894 . . . the era of steam traction engines and horse and cart. The assignment . . . recreate a day in the life of a typical English village-a day that H.G. Wells might have enjoyed-the summer village fete. As annual fundraisers for the...
"Retrofitting" Kcet for Audio Post-Production
Production had begun in the spring of 1978. COSMOS was becoming a reality. It was considered to shoot it all on videotape . . . locations, studio, everything. I thought how wonderful it would be to do a television program like this and really care about...
Seven Directors, No Waiting
This series offered me more in terms of photographic challenges than any single show I had ever done. COSMOS was a one year commitment, with all the forms a documentary series can have, and then some. We did dramatic historical reenactments with a feature...
The Bookshelf
THE REFERENCE SHELFPublished under the auspices of the American Society of Cinematographers and compiled by George Kent, MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION DICTIONARY ENGLISH-RUSSIAN, RUSSIAN-ENGLISH satisfies a conspicuous need. Some 600 pages containing...
The "Cosmos" Cinematographers
Working long hours under difficult conditions and with many directors, camera crews roamed the world to shoot vital sequences for COSMOSA series the size and nature of COSMOS relies heavily on the skills of its cinematographers in order to maintain visual...
The Spaceship of the Imagination
"Constructed of light and powered by music", this magic ship takes the audience on a mind trip through the far reaches of deep spaceThe cornerstone of the COSMOS series is a "spaceship of the imagination" through which we gaze at the wonders of the universe....
The Special Visual Effects of "Cosmos"
Achieving the "out-of-this-world" illusions necessary to the series required the use of nearly every available special effects technique"The reality of the cosmos exceeds our ability to imagine- truth is stranger than fiction!"This is what we were striving...
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