Graduating Cinematography students in the New York Film Academy Los Angeles MFA and 1-Year programs participated in a recent field trip to Dolby Laboratories to see the cutting-edge of theatrical projection. NYFA Los Angeles Cinematography department chair Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC set up the visit.
During the trip, NYFA Cinematography students were introduced to some of the technical aspects of Dolby Vision, and had a chance to see the color correction process in Dolby’s state of the art theater. Students asked questions of the Dolby staff, and got to see some of the possibilities available to shape the look and finish their images.
The trip gave these recent graduates a look at some of the latest innovations that they will be seeing in the industry very soon.
Best known for their work in the audio field, Dolby has recently introduced a new system for high-dynamic-range (HDR) projection in the cinema. Dolby Vision makes it possible to project images with a dramatic 1,000,000-to-1 contrast ratio, creating a far bigger range of brightness than previous projection standards.
Dolby simultaneously introduced a proprietary color correction system, creating a pipeline that will optimize films to take advantage of these new projectors. Recent blockbuster films including Incredibles 2, Ocean’s 8, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Jurassic World have been early adopters of this new technology.
Anthony Richmond recently employed Dolby’s new process in the color correction for the 4K restoration of the classic concert film The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, a film he shot for director Michael Lindsay-Hogg in December 1968. The film features performances from the Rolling Stones, The Who, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and other iconic musicians from the British music scene of the late ‘60s.
Speaking about his experiences, Richmond said “I think Dolby Vision is the most exciting thing that has happened in the way we color correct films. Most of the new televisions are now Dolby Vision ready, and Netflix is already broadcasting some productions in Dolby Vision.”
Richmond advocated for using Dolby Vision for this restoration, conducting a test to demonstrate the advantages to the producers. When Richmond showed them the results, they agreed that using the Dolby process would be an essential part of the restoration. The film will be released on September 27 for both Dolby Vision blu-ray and a limited theatrical release.
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) has just completed its annual MFA Production Design and Cinematography Practicum, as a three-day production at the Laurel Canyon Stages.
Throughout the practicum, NYFA Instructor Anthony Cook stepped in to offer guidance and support as the students worked through the many problems that can arise on set. Color theory, storytelling, and layout were all discussed throughout the class. Chair of Cinematography Tony Richmond oversaw the production.
“Production designers work hand in hand with the cinematographers,” Cook said. “Production Design is really another character in the film. It should be as carefully considered as the actors. It’s an unbelievably important component of crafting a good story.”
The New York Film Academy had created the Production Design Practicum for Cinematographers largely to help rising producers understand, through hands-on experience, the vital importance and intricacies of production design.
The three-day shoot took place at the Laurel Canyon Stages. The New York Film Academy has been working with the studio for several years.
“I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.” Over the span of sixty nine years, the recently deceased legend of music, art, film, theatre and pop culture, David Bowie was indeed as extraordinary as he set out to be. Always setting the trends and breaking the boundaries as an artist, the entertainment icon and pioneer of glam rock’s legacy will live on forever.
David Bowie on set of “The Man Who Fell to Earth”
“He was a major, major artist,” said New York Film Academy Cinematography Chair, Anthony Richmond, who was Director of Photography on the Nicolas Roeg film The Man Who Fell to Earth, which starred Bowie as a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. “He just kept reinventing himself.”
The 1976 British sci-fi film, which was actually shot in New Mexico, was originally cast for Peter O’ Toole. However, those who know the movie—which maintains its strong cult following due to its use of surreal imagery and unforgettable Bowie performances—know that it wouldn’t be nearly the same without him. “I don’t think there was another person who could play that part,” said Richmond. “Bowie was a bit like an alien himself—bringing his own artistry to the film.”
The British film was Richmond’s first film in which he spent the entire shoot in America. While on set, Richmond and director Nicolas Roeg would play some of Bowie’s hits, especially “Young Americans,” which was one of his more recent songs that Richmond was quite fond of.
Bowie would spend almost eight hours each morning getting into his alien costume. In fact, it was Richmond’s wife at the time who spent all morning dolling up Bowie.
“Unlike most rock stars, Bowie was incredibly professional,” said Richmond, a man who is no stranger to working with rock legends. Richmond was responsible for photography on the seminal British music scene of the late 60’s. He shot The Rolling Stones classic, “Sympathy For The Devil” for Jean-Luc Godard, and then collaborated with Michael Lindsey Hogg on The Rolling Stones’ “Rock And Roll Circus” and the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” His other rock and roll credits include: The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright,” as well as the Documentary “Glastonbury Fayre.”
David Bowie, Nicolas Roeg and Anthony Richmond
Like most of us, Richmond was a huge fan of Bowie’s work and would frequently see him in concert and listen to his music whenever he could.
“I was deeply saddened when I read the news this morning. We lost one of the most extraordinary artists of our time.”
During their third semester, the MFA Cinematography students at New York Film Academy have a full schedule of workshops to keep them busy. With the Master’s Lighting Workshop, the Underwater Camera Workshop and the Alexa Workshop, the students are given an opportunity work with advanced professional tools and learn how to integrate them into a narrative film production.
NYFA Cinematography Chair Anthony Richmond with his students
In addition to these courses, the week-long Crane & Jib Workshop gives students the opportunity to work with a variety of camera movement systems from a broad range of the top manufacturers including J.L Fisher, Chapman/Leonard, and Service Vision. Cinematography department chair Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC led the class, introducing the students to a range of practical techniques for using both remote cranes and jib arms to construct powerful, dynamic shots. Richmond pushed the students to develop their operating skills using both the traditional geared head and the remote crane heads that are based on this classic design.
For the last day of the workshop, the class put their new set of skills to work on the Crane & Jib Practicum. They used the 45-foot Scorpion Crane, equipped with a Scorpion Remote Head, a RED Epic Dragon digital cinema camera, a Cooke zoom lens and a remote focus and iris system. With the camera flying on the crane throughout the shoot, the class captured a wide variety of moving shots designed to tell the story in a dynamic style.
By the end of the workshop, the MFA Cinematography students had a greater understanding of how to design visually stunning shots, and how to use professional tools to execute their ideas. As they look forward to next semester, these cinematographers will have a new set of skills to take their films thesis films to the next level.
On December 7, Anthony B. Richmond, ASC, BSC, New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA) Chair of Cinematography, was invited to the second International (Guangzhou) Film, Television and Animation Education Forum at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in Guangzhou.
In addition to working closely with talented, hard-working students as Cinematography Chair, Tony Richmond is a London-born, BAFTA-winning cinematographer who has shot numerous productions, including The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don’t Look Now, The Sandlot, Legally Blonde, and Sympathy for the Devil.
As the guest speaker of the forum in Guangzhou, Richmond was able to share his decades of experience in cinematography, highlighting his skills in visual storytelling through clips from many of the critically-acclaimed films he’s worked on. Richmond was also able to take questions and interact with the audience.
Two days later, on December 9, Richmond conducted a storyboard workshop at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, where he worked with students, designing storyboards and shot lists. They then discussed what they had done and how they would shoot their projects. Students really enjoyed the workshop and had done some impressive work on the storyboard designs.
On December 10, Anthony had a meeting in Shenzhen with Mr. Huang, Lin Ma, Xinning Wang and other senior filmmakers in Shenzhen. Mr. Huang is a director and the chief executive officer of Oriental Legend; Lin Ma is a producer; and Xinning Wang is the representative of Shenzhen Kingmouse Pictures Corporation. During the meeting, they exchanged ideas on the differences in filmmaking between China and America as well as the development of today’s movie market in China.
All in all, Tony Richmond’s trip was an informative and enlightening one that strengthened the continued relationship between New York Film Academy and the visual arts students and institutions of China.
The devastating bushfires in Australia have now been raging for their fourth straight month, scorching millions of acres of land and already resulting in the deaths of over two dozen people and more than one billion animals. The international community has watched in horror as the fires show no signs of slowing down, rallying together to do what they can through donations and charities. It has been estimated that over a million people worldwide have supported the relief with no amount considered too small for the victims, firefighters and wildlife.
The sheer magnitude of the devastation has been impossible to ignore, dominating the international news cycle and even the awards speeches of Hollywood’s Golden Globe Awards, held last Sunday. Several award winners took the time from their speeches to share their sympathies for the victims of the bushfires and urged anyone who can to donate to charities and organizations supporting Australia and those affected by the fires.
Other celebrities have taken to social media to do the same, using the massive goodwill and capital they’ve earned from successful careers in the entertainment industry to make large calls to action. Actors and performers like Nicole Kidman, Chris Hemsworth, Russell Crowe, Pink, Selena Gomez, Celeste Barber, Rebel Wilson, Naomi Watts, Kylie Minogue, Cate Blanchett, and Bindi Irwin have all implored their fans and followers to join them in supporting Australia in any way they can.
Absolutely devastated by the fires in Australia. Praying for everyone affected and all of the first responders. I’m making a donation and would love if you would consider doing the same if you can. Swipe up ❤️ https://t.co/aEqW5SPKPG
Hi everyone. Like you, I want to support the fight against the bushfires here in Australia. My family and I are contributing a million dollars. Hopefully you guys can chip in too. Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated.https://t.co/KcBpMe7QvYpic.twitter.com/gYuA4LELZM
As a family, we’ve donated $500,000 towards the immediate firefighting efforts and the ongoing support which will be required. Big or small, from near or far, any support will help those affected by the devastating bushfires. With love, The Minogue Family.
New York Film Academy Australia (NYFA Australia) students from both Australia and the international community have had the distinct luxury of shooting in one of the most beautiful and diverse environments in the world. It is no coincidence that the film industry has turned to the Gold Coast and Australia so often to shoot iconic films and television series—the charm and beauty of the island continent is effortlessly captured by the camera’s eye.
Films and series like Game of Thrones, Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok, San Andreas, The Shallows, Kong: Skull Island, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and the 70s Australian film Walkabout—as well as countless student films by NYFA Australia students and alumni—have all taken advantage of Australia’s scenic backdrops. Seeing the continued destruction of both land and lives has been unspeakably heartbreaking, and NYFA Australia encourages those who can to support the victims of Australia’s fires in any way possible.
In light of these devastating bushfires, the Gold Coast campus has been in contact with Foodbank Queensland to see how they can support those in need during this challenging period. Foodbank Queensland has requested much-needed toiletries and non-perishable items as donations for those affected. The NYFA Australia community has come together and collected donations at the Southport campus which will be sent down to Foodbank NSW Team on January 10th in support of the Bushfire Relief. The campus has received an overwhelming amount of support from staff and students who are keen to help out in any way they can which has been wonderful.
Donations collected by NYFA Australia for the Bushfire Relief.
Here’s How You Can Help
For those willing and able to help, here are some of the organizations you can support to aid displaced people, wildlife populations, and Australia as a whole during this unprecedented emergency:
The New York Film Academy (NYFA) in Los Angeles recently announced the second annual Young Saudi Film Festival (YSFF), which is slated for Feb. 18, 2018, at the Harmony Gold Theater on Sunset Boulevard. A showcase of recent Saudi films, YSFF is currently accepting submissions from filmmakers.
Director of NYFA Los Angeles Dan Mackler greets YSFF President Rakan Anneghaimshi.
“Last year Saudi filmmakers didn’t have any theaters where they could show their films and creative productions. With hope and consistent effort, cinema is now back again in Saudi Arabia,” said YSFF President and NYFA student Rakan Anneghaimshi (Spring 2016 BFA Acting). “Our goal since Abdulaziz Almutari (YSFF Vice President, Fall 2015 MFA Cinematography) and I started YSFF was to have a platform to link filmmakers to each other so they can exchange experiences, knowledge, and connections. It’s going to be the same case this year.”
Last year’s screening was attended by over 300 guests and presented eight short films. NYFA alum Maan bin Abdulrahman of Prince of Arabia Entertainment hosted the event and moderated a question-and-answer session with the filmmakers, which included Saudi Arabian filmmaker, Meshal Al Jaser (NYFA Fall 2016 BFA Screenwriting).
Regarding this year’s festival, Director of NYFA’s Los Angeles campus Dan Mackler said, “As an international film school and home to many Saudi Arabian alumni and students, the New York Film Academy is very happy with Saudi Arabia’s decision to reopen theaters. We share Rakan’s excitement for this second event and expect it to surpass last year’s impact on bringing talented filmmakers to light.”
While the festival focuses on the work of Saudi filmmakers, submissions from around the world will be considered, particularly those from Gulf and Arab states. A panel of NYFA faculty will select eight short films between five and 20 minutes long for the showcase. Judges include film star Miraj Grbic (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”), actress and comedienne Suzanne Kent (“Taxi,”The Groundlings), cinematographer Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC (“Don’t Look Now,” “Legally Blonde”), photographer/cinematographer Bart Mastronardi (“Tales of Poe”), director James Rowe (“Blue Ridge Fall”), and novelist Crickett Rumley (“Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell”).
For a complete list of rules and to submit a short film, please submit via Google form here or on the NYFA Student hub. The deadline is Jan. 28th, so hurry to submit your film!
The second annual Young Saudi Film Festival on Feb. 18 at the Harmony Gold Theater in Hollywood promises to be an inspiring event attended by both young filmmakers and Saudi esteemed officials. It is free and open to the public. In addition to the short films and a Q&A again moderated by Maan bin Abdulrahman, the event will feature a light reception and a performance by NYFA’s Improv Troupe.
YSFF President Rakan Anneghaimshi with filmmaker Meshal Al Jaser.
Reflecting on the upcoming festival, YSFF President Anneghaimshi complimented NYFA’s continued involvement, saying, “I would like to thank Dan Mackler for his endless support and caring, and I would like also to thank Tami Alexander, Crickett Rumley, and Brian Dillon.” He also had kind words for those submitting films: “I wish all the best for all filmmakers applying to the festival.”
To RSVP to attend the Young Saudi Film Festival on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., please RSVP here.
The Spring 2016 MFA Cinematography students at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles completed their Production Design workshop last week, spending two days building a three-room set. They worked on a soundstage at Burbank Studios, famous as the home of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, among many NBC Studios productions. The class painted and dressed the set to incorporate a high level of detail, then rigging a 50’ translight backing of the New York skyline to complete the illusion. The translight will be seen outside the set windows, lit for both day and night at different points in the story.
This workshop was part of the Production Design course in the MFA Cinematography program, taught by instructor Francis Pezza, whose credits as an Art Director include “Outbreak,” “Dante’s Peak,” “Big Fat Liar,” and the original “Miami Vice” TV series. In addition to learning the fundamental concepts of production design, the students worked throughout the semester on designing a set that fit the needs of an original short screenplay.
The script was written by NYFA directing instructor Anthony Cook, whose credits include writing and directing the independent feature film “Wal-Bobs,” and producing the upcoming Lionsgate series “Dead House” for actor and former NYFA student Andrew “King Bach” Bachelor and executive producer Kevin Hart. For this workshop, Cook wrote a story about an obsessive-compulsive man who must defend his carefully manicured apartment from a trespassing mouse.
Once the set was completed, the students shot for three days on stage as the final part of the Cinematography Practicum class. The project was photographed on the Red Dragon digital cinema camera, allowing the cinematographers to shoot in 6K and utilize a RAW image workflow.
Cinematography instructors Anthony Richmond, ASC, BSC, Jacek Laskus, ASC, PSC and Rick Greenwood joined the class on stage for the shoot days. They offered guidance on lighting and blocking the scenes, helping the student cinematographers to realize the story and make best use of the intricate set. Richmond showed the students one of his trademark techniques for creating transitions in camera, teaching them how to use nets and dimmers to recreate one of his signature visuals from films including “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”
With guidance from their instructors, the MFA students leave this workshop with an understanding of what it takes to build a professional set, and how to shoot it. Having completed their final Cinematography Practicum shoot at New York Film Academy, the students will incorporate these ideas in their work as they begin their MFA Thesis Films next semester.
Following a screening of Men of Honor, students at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus welcomed Director George Tillman, Jr., Producer Robert Teitel, and Cinematographer and NYFA Cinematography Chair Anthony Richmond, for a Q&A. Men of Honor, starring Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Charlize Theron, is based on the true story of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, a man who overcame racism and the amputation of his left leg to become the first U.S Navy Master Diver. NYFA’s Dean of the College, Sonny Calderon, moderated the event.
Director George Tillman, Jr. and Producer Robert Teitel
George Tillman, Jr. is a director/producer/writer, best known for the Barbershop franchise, Notorious, a film about rapper Notorious B.I.G., Faster, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and the adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, The Longest Ride.” Tillman also wrote, directed and produced the award-winning film Soul Food, with his producing partner, Robert Teitel. Teitel is a producer best known for his work on Tillman’s films, as well as Jayne Mansfield’s Car, and Nothing Like the Holidays (for which he wrote the story). NYFA Cinematography Chair and Cinematographer Anthony Richmond has had a long and illustrious career, starting in the 1960s with the Rock and Roll scene, working with, Jean-Luc Goddard, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, and then making his way into features on films such as The Man Who Fell to Earth, Legally Blonde, and The Sandlot, among many others. The tight-knit group reminisced about their experiences on Men of Honor, relating fascinating tales from the production, as well as invaluable words of wisdom.
Tillman spoke very fondly of working with Robert De Niro. He related one episode on set in which the legendary actor picked up a phone while acting and the heavy prop struck him in the head. De Niro quickly regrouped and yelled for the cameras to “Keep rolling!” and to start the scene again. Without missing a beat De Niro recognized that this incident provided him an opportunity and he used the unexpected emotions to give a better performance in the next take.
Cinematographer and NYFA Cinematography Chair Tony Richmond related a funny anecdote about his experience with the costume design for the film. A U.S. Navy ship provides the backdrop for the film, which of course means the story involves many sailors in uniform–white uniforms. Anyone who’s tried to film an actor wearing white knows that achieving proper exposure balance within the scene becomes very difficult. When Tony first got to set on the deck of the ship and saw a hundred extras wearing white under the blistering sun he said he almost had a heart attack. However, the highly skilled DP quickly found solutions to make all the shots work.
NYFA’s Dean of the College, Sonny Calderon, Director George Tillman, Jr., Producer Robert Teitel, and NYFA LA Cinematography Chair, Anthony Richmond
Producer Robert Teitel related the importance of how film school supplies students with the opportunity to create a “calling card” with which to break into the business. This is what he did with his 30-minute short Paula, which won several awards, including the Student Academy Award. This is also when he forged what was to become his very successful long-term partnership with George Tillman, Jr., who directed the short. The short helped Robert and George raise $150,000 and produced Scenes for the Soul, a feature film that was shot in Chicago, using local talent and resources. Scenes for the Soul was sold to Jackson-McHenry at Savoy Pictures for $1 million.
We thank George Tilman, Jr., and Robert Teitel for visiting our school and wish them the best of luck in their careers!
Last week, students at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus spent an evening with the creators of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, one of the most celebrated films of the English rock music scene of the 1960s. Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Cinematographer (and NYFA LA Cinematography Chair) Tony Richmond regaled the students with tales of a wild 30-hour shoot that took place in December, 1968.
Featuring performances by The Who, Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal, Marianne Faithfull, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones themselves, The Rock and Roll Circus was a one-time event staged by the Stones to offer local fans an intimate concert experience set in a tawdry European traveling circus tent. The idea was to celebrate the music and not the trappings of the glamorous rock and roll life. The attendees of the concert were witness to music history as they watched a gathering of rock superstars playing for the fun of it to a crowd of about 300 people. The students at the film screening witnessed a document of one of the most creative and influential musical scenes—namely, London in the late ‘60s.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed the film, is a music video and documentary pioneer. He made (with Tony Richmond), the Beatles’ final feature film, Let It Be, as well as Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park; Paul Simon, Graceland; and Neil Young in Berlin, among many others. Michael also directed many seminal music videos including videos for the Stones’ songs “Start Me Up,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Angie,” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Michael also directed many Beatles music videos, including “Paperback Writer,” “Hey Jude,” and “Revolution.” All this, in addition to directing many critically acclaimed feature films including Master Harold and the Boys, Nasty Habits, and Frankie Starlight, and television series such as “Ready Steady Go” and “Brideshead Revisited (for which he won the BAFTA award).”
Anthony Richmond was a camera assistant on Dr. Zhivago, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, From Russia With Love, and Francois Truffaut’s Farenheit 451. Tony then went on the be the cinematographer of dozens of films, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, Don’t Look Now (for which he won the BAFTA award), The Sandlot, Stardust, Legally Blonde, and Ravenous. Tony was also responsible for lensing many seminal rock and roll films, including Sympathy for the Devil (for director Jean-Luc Goddard), The Who’s The Kids Are Alright, and Glastonbury Faire.
NYFA Dean of the College, Sonny Calderon, who moderated the evening’s Q&A, encouraged the students in attendance to take Michael and Tony’s lead and do what they love. “After speaking with these two legends, I was impressed by just how much they love telling stories. They cannot imagine a life where they weren’t constantly creating films, videos, and shows, and they do it for the love of sharing stories.”
When asked what he hoped NYFA students would take away from the screening, Tony responded “We were veritable kids when we filmed the show. We were inventing techniques as we went along in order to accomplish our vision. We even engaged a French camera company to fashion a system for us that enabled Michael to direct the film like a live show, thus preserving the energy of the performance. These cameras were regular TV studio cameras but had beam splitters installed into them so that 50% of the light coming in through the lens would be funneled to Michael in the control room, and 50% went to a built-in 16mm camera that served as our image capture medium. Michael was cutting on the fly like a live TV show in a control truck, calling the shots to the various camera operators. To my knowledge, this was the first time film had been used for a live show in this way.”
About the screening, Michael says “Under Sonny Calderon’s alert questioning, Tony and I were able to re-create for the students the making of ‘TRSRNRC’ and also about those times, the middle 1960s, when the world was changing under our feet and before our eyes. London then was a terrific place when all these extraordinary musicians were exploding and sending their shards of brilliance around the globe. But we hoped the students didn’t just see this as a trip to Lake Nostalgia, but also as something made by a group of people who were passionately involved with what they were doing, and wished to encourage them to find their own heroes and heroines and projects to go for and things which may seem at first daunting but with application and wit, will soon be theirs.”
Many of the insights shared by Michael Lindsay-Hogg can be found in his recently-published memoir, “Luck and Circumstance,” which details his fascinating life growing up and working with many of Hollywood’s greatest talents.
New York Film Academy thanks Michael Lindsay-Hogg for speaking with our students, and we very much look forward to more conversations with him to come.