The Year’s Best Cameras and Lenses, According to European Pros

Sony, Panasonic, and Tamron dominate this year's EISA Awards.

The European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) is an association of over 50 photo, sound, and multimedia magazines across Europe, and it’s been offering up awards for the best in audio and video products for over 40 years. The awards place an emphasis on consumer products, but there are categories for pro and prosumer; now that the gap between professional and consumer-level tech is increasingly narrowed, their choices seem more relevant than ever.

One of 2017’s most anticipated cameras—the Panasonic GH5—nabbed a spot, as did a Tamron lens, which we’ve called “a cheaper alternative without the sacrifice.” The products in this year’s lineup of most useful to indie filmmakers (and EISA’s words about them) are listed below.

For the full lineup, check out the EISA site.

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Watch: The Single-Shot Film That Put Cannes-Winning Auteur Ruben Östlund on the Map

Ruben Östlund's 'Incident By the Bank' is finally available to stream online.

Before Ruben Östlund won the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2017 for his ambitious film The Square—and before he dazzled audiences with the tour-de-force that was Force Majeure—the director witnessed a bank robbery. Östlund and producer Erik Hemmendorff happened to be walking past a Swedish bank as two armed men wearing ski masks botched a robbery attempt. Witnessing the event was "a very absurd and surreal experience," Östlund told Vimeo, where the film premiered as a Staff Pick. "I was a complete cowardly bystander."

Years later, Östlund meticulously recreated the robbery with 100 actors in what appears to be a single-take short. Reminiscent of a Michael Haneke movie, Incident By the Bank turns the audience into voyeurs as the hapless robbery unfolds in real-time, playing with our expectations all the while. The thrilling and disturbing film went on to win the Golden Bear at Berlinale in 2009, and it is now available to watch for the first time online.

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Learn From Bresson: Be Precise and Keep it Simple

One of the greatest filmmakers to have ever lived demonstrates how less is, in fact, more.

The late Robert Bresson is responsible for an extremely influential roster of films including Pickpocket, A Man Escaped, and Au Hasard Balthazar. Every single one of them is brought together by a noticeable thread: simplicity.

The first thing to point out is that Bresson is very precise with what he allows the audience to see on screen. You could call this an effort in visual economy. He provides them with the opportunity to fill gaps in the storyline with ideas that he only alludes to. Here are some of the ways the director achieves this.

Withholding information allows for an ultra-effective cathartic release as it reaches its conclusion.

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8K is a Lie & Will the Controversial Plan to Make Movies Cheap Actually Kill Them?

This episode of Indie Film Weekly wonders if cameras have reached peak resolution, and if a new plan to let you see unlimited movies in theaters for $10 a month is too good to be true.

Jon Fusco, Emily Buder, and yours truly, Liz Nord discuss whether cameras have maxed out on resolution, a new $10/month movie theater subscription service, Facebook's aim to become the new YouTube, Apple's billion-dollar content investment, and more.

I also answer an Ask No Film School question about what the heck to do with your short film once it's finished, and we hear from the Safdie Brothers about their new film Good Time, which opens in theaters this week.

We also shout out to our own Jon Fusco's Kickstarter campaign for his short film The Guy. Support it here.

As always, the show also brings news you can use about gear, upcoming grant and festival deadlines, weekly words of industry wisdom, this week’s indie film releases, and other notable things you might have missed while you were busy making films.

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Female Screenwriters: Apply for a New Residency in Berlin

Are you an up-and-coming female screenwriter in Europe? This monthlong residency could be for you.

One of the most challenging parts of screenwriting is simply finding the time and space to do it, particularly if you are still up-and-coming and have to hold down a day job in addition to writing. This is where writing residencies come in.

A new residency, the Scriptwriter Residency from the European Women’s Audiovisual Network, aims at female screenwriters with a European nationality who have written or directed at least one feature film (fiction or documentary) distributed in one European country. The woman who is selected for the opportunity gets travel to and accommodation in a private room in Berlin from January 22-February 22, 2018. By design, the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) falls during this period, as well.

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The World’s Fastest 15mm Lens Has Arrived

Announced back in September, Venus Optics’ Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D lens has finally arrived.

Venus Optics’ Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D lens was designed specifically for Sony full frame E mount cameras. The "world’s fastest 15mm rectilinear lens" features a close-to-zero distortion with a 110° angle of view, hence the Zero-D in the name. Quickly attach filters to the 72mm thread for landscape shooting, and easily capture impressive astrophotography images with the lightning-fast f/2 aperture.

A specially designed aperture switch will give videographers the ability to quickly switch between click-less and clicked aperture. Take advantage of the super close focusing distance of 15cm and the f/2 aperture to create some bokeh shots and wide angle close-up shots.

The Laowa 15mm f/2 is available for pre-order at a price of $849 and will ship in late August/early September. The first 200 orders will get a set of Laowa 72mm screw-in filters (UV + CPL + ND1000) for FREE.

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Watch: How Edward Hopper’s Plaintive Visions of Americana Influenced Cinematography

Edward Hopper left a giant brush mark on contemporary cinema.

Paintings have influenced some of the most iconic compositions in the history of cinematography. From Michael Mann's dead-ringer recreation of Alex Colville's "Pacific" in Heat to Christopher Nolan's not-so-subtle homages to M.C. Escher in Inception, directors and cinematographers never cease to draw inspiration from the very first masters of light: painters. (In fact, Stanley Kubrick and his DP John Alcott meticulously shot the entirety of Barry Lyndon to resemble 18th-century paintings.)

But perhaps no other artist has left such an indelible mark on cinematography than Edward Hopper, America's most famous realist painter. Hopper's painting "The House by the Railroad" inspired not one, but two famous cinematic abodes: the Bates house in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and the farmhouse in Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven.

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5 Essential Books for Every Documentary Filmmaker’s Library

It's time to dust off your reading glasses and get comfortable.

This collection of documentary books offer a well-rounded look at the world of nonfiction filmmaking, featuring titles on history, production tips, and philosophy. Learn about the history of the genre, including the origins of the first use of the word documentary. Read Werner Herzog's bizarre Minnesota Declaration, where he voices his hatred of direct cinema in classic Herzog style. Listen to Walter Murch discuss his views of film editing and what his experience was like working on Apocalypse Now with Francis Ford Coppola. Find out about the father of documentary, John Grierson, and how he helped turn the genre into what it is today. And much, much more. Let's have a closer look at these five titles.

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