Drew Struzan and Navigating History

I’ve received a lot of comments, emails, and at last week’s NCFIC conference, lots of questions about the DVD cover for Navigating History. Lots of you have wanted to know who did it, how it was done, why it was done, and if I realized that it was copying Indiana Jones. In short, I painted this poster in an effort to communicate the vision of the first season of the Navigating History show, and I did my best to copy Drew Struzan’s style, partly because he set so many of the visual precedents that we associate with adventure, and partly as a tribute to him.

Navigating History: Egypt

Drew Struzan, now retired, was in many ways the most successful movie poster artist in the history of film. His technical ability was unmatched, and his aesthetic style was incredibly appealing, but his greatest skill was capturing the best elements of a film and making them stronger. He made adventures more adventurous, dramas more dramatic, and the posters were almost always better than the movies. When I became a man I put away childish things (and then watched as George Lucas made them into stupid, infantile things), but even so… I’ve got to admit that looking at the posters makes me want to watch Star Wars again.

Even though his work only involved creating advertising materials for films that were already complete, I believe that he had a significant influence on the direction of Hollywood in the 80s. Films with Struzan posters did well financially, and sequels, spinoffs, and imitations seem to follow the essence of the posters as much as the plots of the films. Also, in the same way that John Williams brought film scoring back to a symphonic and orchestral base after the improvisational synth soundtrack trends of the 70s, Struzan brought more of a fine-art sensibility of portraiture back to advertisements that were becoming crude and intangible.

Continue Reading

Canon’s New Digital Cinema Camera

It’s been a busy day for cinema camera techs, especially for camera techs like me, who picked today of all days to be away from real internet. Canon and RED have announced new products and new details about old products at back-to-back conferences in Hollywood. I’ve had to glean the details from various livebloggers on my phone, but I do have a basic summary. The Red event was basically just new specs and pricing for the long-awaited Scarlet camera, first announced more than three years ago, so I’ll start with Canon’s announcement.

Canon's EOS C300

The Canon EOS C300 is an all new digital cinema camera in the $15-20,000 dollar range. It’s meant to compete with the Arri Alexa and Red Epic, but in many ways is most similar to the Sony Cinealta F3. There are technically two versions of this camera, one with an EF mount, and one with a PL mount, but otherwise they are identical. Both cameras will be shipping worldwide by January 2012.

Continue Reading