Dillon Novak is the director of Rob Drabkin's new music video Hope in a Hopeless World, which debuted Monday on Elmore Magazine. Watch the video below.
We shot “Hope in a Hopeless World” up at my Dad’s Victorian house in Sequim, WA. He just moved into the place, which was built during the Civil War and hadn’t been occupied for the last couple of decades remaining completely furnished with the majority of it’s original pieces. Over the course of the week that we stayed there, Rob and I realized more and more that between the location and the idea, it almost felt as if out of a storybook, similar to Roald Dahl.
Continue reading “Guest Post: Dillon Novak on Hope in a Hopeless World” »
Earlier this year, Daniel and Andrew Zox shot an amazing music video that combines footage from the Digital Bolex D16 and a more expensive camera. The video premiered at the UN for International Day of the Girl on October 10th. We were very excited by the finished project, and asked Daniel to share his process of shooting and matching two cameras in very different price ranges. Can you tell which camera is which? Read on to find out more about the shoot and the choices Daniel and Andrew made.
Continue reading “Guest Post: Daniel Zox” »
The statistics are startling. Fewer than 2% of working cinematographers are women. No female cinematographer has been nominated for an Academy Award. There are 11 active women in the ASC--out of 330+ active members. The first studio film to have a female cinematographer was released in 1980.
Women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera for decades, and these statistics prove that the problem is systemic and culturally enforced. Laura Mulvey's much-discussed concept of the "male gaze" puts women's place in front of the camera, as living props to be photographed and judged, not to make decisions about how they are portrayed or participate in the creation of their own image.
Rarely do you see a set with women in the camera department, which I lovingly dub the "dude swarm". There's nothing wrong with the dude swarm, inherently, except it creates a set culture where anyone not wearing cargo shorts is an outsider. And too many women in the camera department as treated as outsiders.
I've heard plenty of horror stories--women cinematographers with strong reels who, making it to a live interview, are told "oh, we thought you were a man," and suddenly not the right fit for the job. I've had male crew members fight every camera choice I make on set, I've seen female cinematographers work retail at clothing stores because directors (90% male) didn't have confidence in their abilities. The cycle is vicious; men and women start in the industry as equally green amateurs, and as men hire more men, suddenly the women become "unqualified" to work alongside their former peers.
As Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers wrote in the LA Times this past December, studies show that "for promising men, potential is enough, whereas women are judged on what they've actually done." In the film industry, men judge each other on what they could do, if they pooled their resources and worked together as a team.
Women don't count as resources because, with "potential" and brains left out of the equation, women are less likely to own the expensive, tangible resources like film equipment that more and more play a deciding factor in who gets hired for what job. But how can a woman cinematographer who has to fight for the lowest of the low jobs afford the hot new camera on the block? They can't.
Women are less likely to own equipment not only because of the cost of equipment versus the amount of work they're being hired for, but because women are taught to look and not to touch when it comes to technology. I can't count the male and female partners I encounter at trade shows where the male partner grabs a camera excitedly while his female partner watches passively over his shoulder. And try to engage a single woman perusing a tech booth? Forget it--ask if they have any questions and the answer is "no thank you" and they're gone. Women aren't taught to be entitled to technology in the way that men are. Men are entitled to put their hands on cool gadgets. Women are entitled to watch, but not to participate.
Just listen to the way men explain technology to women at a trade show and this dichotomy becomes readily clear. Women are expected not to be able to use technology, instead of trying it for themselves and playing, they must be hand held, guided, 'splained. And that's a huge turn off to wanting to participate. It's not a surprise to me that 99 of 100 requests I get to borrow one of our cameras for a project come from men. Women are taught not to ask. And if we as a company choose to work with, say, 5% of people requesting cameras, the numbers aren't looking too great for the ladyfolk.
But let's say that's not the case. Let's say a woman has surpassed all these odds, and has a fancy camera and knows how to use it. Would the industry be willing to accept the potential of such a woman and hire her to shoot a film?
I think so.
Which is why I'm going to stop soapboxing on the internet (okay, maybe not) and put my money where my mouth is. I'm very pleased to announce the Digital Bolex Grant for Women Cinematographers.
Starting this summer, we will be offering a pair of Digital Bolex D16 kits, featuring $10,000 in gear and accessories from some wonderful soon-to-be-announced sponsors, on a rolling basis to any narrative short or feature film project to be shot by a female cinematographer.
As one of a handful of female cinematographers at the SXSW Film Festival, I am acutely aware that my ability to purchase, train with, and bring equipment to gigs over the past decade is what has gotten me to this wonderful festival with a feature film. I want to give other women that same ability to use their potential.
The relationship between a director and cinematographer is perhaps the most important in filmmaking--we see male duos with collaborative relationships spanning decades creating masterpieces. I'd like to see women involved in that kind of intimate collaborative process, and I hope that I can start to help move our industry in that direction.
Stayed tuned over the next few weeks to hear about our sponsors and application process. And for those extra proactive ladies, feel free to start reaching out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Macro photography is awesome because it allows you to see everyday objects in a fresh way. Our team feels similarly about the D16--that when you review footage from our camera, you see footage differently than you would view video; there is a quality to the image that makes you see the images in a new light.
So it made perfect sense to throw some macro lenses on the D16 and capture some fresh perspectives in a new way. But always with a bit of vintage flair, of course!
The following piece was shot with a series of different macro lenses and regular lenses on extension tubes. All of the lenses were set on F5.6 or F4 / 5.6 split to try and regulate the light / depth of field a little bit. The intention was to find macro lenses that would lend a narrative feel to 3 inch tall characters.
After shooting many tests across a few days, here's our finished piece! We're really proud of this one and we hope you enjoy it and share it with anyone you know who loves macro photography!
Macro Droids - shot on the Digital Bolex from Digital Bolex on Vimeo.
For those of you interested in a more detailed breakdown of how this piece was shot, here's a step by step walkthrough of what we did for each image: Continue reading “Macro Photography on the D16” »
Hey everyone! It's been a busy few days in Bolex land. We got back from Vegas on Thursday night, and we're already back in the office fielding phone calls and meetings. For those of you who weren't able to get out to NAB this year, I thought it would be fun to do a quick recap of our experience.
Continue reading “NAB 2013 Recap” »
One of the fun things we are showing at NAB is a set of prototype Kish Lenses. This post goes into some more details about the lenses, their look, and the quality testing.
Continue reading “Kish Lens Tests” »
I'm so excited to finally tell you the details about our first set of Super 16mm Digital Bolex lenses! I know this idea is a little unconventional to say the least, but I think we've come up with something that will impress you!
Continue reading “The first set of Digital Bolex Lenses” »
Jacques Bolsey’s films, cameras, and inventions, artifacts of a seminal life and legacy, lay buried in the anonymity of a group of dusty and water-stained boxes. Their resting place: a cramped basement in the suburban community of White Plains, NY. Forgotten, these boxes would remain sealed for 42 years following the inventor’s death.
Continue reading “The Bolex Vision” »