Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Monday, June 9, 2014

San Marcos university: Seminar at the Education faculty

University of San Marcos once again. This time for the Education faculty. Shared the seminar with similar expositors very much knowledgeable about the Pacific War (Guerra del Pacífico). Once agian, it's good to share knowledge, history and also talk about the film with alumni....the future of our country.


Always good to share a seminar with knowledgeable people.






The future of our country. To know History is a must.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Storytelling: seminar in Piura

Piura: land of carob tress and mesquites, heat and semi-arid lands and also home town of one of our greatest national heros: Miguel Grau.

Invited by the University of Piura, gave a seminar about the war and about Gloria del Pacifico for its students and alumni this week in an event called "Storytelling: Stories worth being told" Protocol schedules were a bit varied and busy but all in all, exchanging and sharing experiences with young people is enriching.

Many from the audience will eventually become somebody in the business in the future and being a part of that is rewarding. You can tell from among the alumni who have the chops to do it, the curious ones, the ones interested in deeper topics about the field, the ones that have a broader picture of things without losing the details. Much enthusiasm is needed as a catalyst to do stuff here but experience and knowledge is the key. Told them that an "Initial spark and dreams is what everybody has....the chops and know-how not everybody....and that's what makes the difference between a professional work and an amateur intent."

Thank you Piura. Will be back soon to enjoy more of the city and surrouding beautiful areas. This time it was just work-hotel-airport.

Duty calls...

















Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4K: the next big thing

These weeks, while in the post-production process, was thinking again what has been in my mind for some time now: buying another higher-end camera.

As people can see, I used the amazing Panasonic HVX-200 together with the superb Letus Extreme to give it the best 35mm depth-of-field on the market. I bought them both back in 2008. I take great pride in having made the best selections when researching for a good film/video camera. Back in the late 90's it was the awesome Canon XL-1 and its subsequent revisions. I saw potential in a camera that had interchangeable lens capability and it opened a whole new door to me production and visual wise. It was still SD but, hey...it was the 90's. Early 2000s and I remember HD started to show its head. It was something we all filmmakers pointed at for superior quality. I don't remember what HD camera came out first, just that it was around 2002 that I read in an article. It used one CCD or something as it stated. I think it was JVC or Sharp and used the newly developed HDV compression format for use with DV tapes already used massively by all of us back then. In my case, I eye-balled it extensively but wasn't liking much the compression ratio HDV used. We all who did a lot of post and know how much a pain in the butt it was with the DV codec (difficult chroma-keying, blocky edges, moire patterns and pixelated squares when doing extreme color-correction), having further compression than DV and reading about the lack of intraframe qualities.....it was simply a huge thing to avoid for me. Thank God I never jumped the HDV wagon and the many disappointed users was my best proof. I simply waited for the best camera and compression scheme yet to come. Enter the HVX-200.

It came out in 2005 and bought it in 2008 when the A upgrade was released. Its ability to shoot many frame rates as a film camera and the DVCPROHD codec at 100 Mbps (4 times the DV data rate) simply was a no-brainer for me. I was bought. In addition, it used intra-frame compression so no artifacts in fast motion and beautiful chroma-key was finally possible, a big thing for me because of its 4:2:2 chroma sampling. More information to work in post without worries.

Now, after 6 years of filming videoclips, a commercial, TV pilots, some short films and the feature Gloria del Pacifico, pushing the camera to the limit with all its battle scenes and extreme weather conditions, I'm finally ready to move on to the next level and what is now a necessity to be up to today's standards: 4K cinematography.

Been checking around the new options lately and a few months back I was about to go for the HD capable DSLR camera, the Canon 5Dm-III because of its unbelievable low-light sensitivity, a necessity I do have when shooting outdoors in the desert at night or in a dark 19th century town street. Wasn't too crazy about its small size (although, the HVX200 together with the Letus Extreme and all accessories makes all weigh around 25 lbs.) and the DSLR would be lighter. But still, not much sound control, etc. Then, I learned about the BlackMagic 4K Prodcution Camera. Was checking it out a couple months ago and compared to other stuff around, was beggining to like it because of the brand (BlackMagic DOES make awesome equipment, with super quality at unbeatable prices. Being the camera at nearly 3 grand, it was a sure contender. The specs were amazing. Only drawback was the reviews about it's lack of low-light sensitivity (a true sad thing for me) and that it was an energy hog....lasting only a few hours and having an internal battery. Id have to stop filming I guess, and charge it in order to be able to keep shooting. I just couldn't picture myself in the middle of the desert, filming, running out of time as the sun slowly disappeared in the horizon and me.....still charging the darn thing. No. Simply no.

Now, at this years NAB, the new BlackMagic 4K URSA is unleashed. I see that it not only has ALL the specs of a true film/video camera like XLR connectors, but also a huge 10-inch monitor and 2 other side screens also (handy for camera assistants and crew members) and a true feel of a big pro camera. Battery has more life and also can use Anton Bauer ones. Many models were released and the one with the EF mount at $5,995 is simply awesome and available by July this year. The Ursa records in 12-bit lossless compressed Cinema DNG raw and ProRes formats, and dual CFast 2.0 card recorders are built in. Having also a global shutter image sensor is such a plus (no more skew or jello-effect) and a true winner fact: it can be upgraded by the user if a new and improved sensor design becomes available in the future and that it would be a breeze to change it yourself. I guess I read somewhere that you would only need an Allen wrench.


I wonder if the sensor is the same as the prior 4K Production Camera. It would be a sad thing to be so....the low-light sensitivity is truly a downside for me as renting lights or even powering them up in the middle of the desert for the next film's battle scenes would be such an expensive task.

Let's see what the future holds. This camera seems to be the winner for me so far. I'm really not excited about the RED (too expensive, too many accessories that skyrocket the price tag well above 30K) so let's see what are the reviews for it when its finally released.

4K...... 4K....

Blackmagic Design launched two new camera lines at NAB this week—the Blackmagic Studio Camera with an MFT lens mount and a 10-inch viewfinder on the back, facing the operator, which is available in HD ($1,995) and 4K ($2,995) versions, and the 4K Blackmagic Ursa, which features a similarly distinctive 10-inch fold-out monitor as well as a second, five-inch screen for scopes, settings, and status views. The Ursa is slated to ship in EF- ($5,995) and PL-mount ($6,495) versions in June or July, and in a B4 (price TBD) lens-mount version later this year.
Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty said the design of the Ursa was inspired by seeing the way many owners tricked out their Blackmagic Cinema Cameras with rails and accesories that gave it a larger form factor that made more sense for production crews. "This camera is the center of a multi-person workflow," he said, with different "zones" for the DP, for the assistant, and for audio. The new design also allows efficient cooling to enable higher frame rates (up to 60p in HD and Ultra HD).
The Ursa records in 12-bit lossless compressed Cinema DNG raw and ProRes formats, and dual CFast 2.0 card recorders are built in. It also has a global shutter image sensor that can be upgraded by the user if a new and improved sensor design becomes available. We were told by Blackmagic's Bob Caniglia that all that is required is an Allen wrench.
Blackmagic is so confident this design is a winner that the Ursa will be available in a unique "HDMI" configuration ($4,495) with no sensor at all. The lens mount is replaced by a cheese plate and a HDMI input, allowing another camera (a DSLR, for example) to be wired into the URSA and take advantage of the body design.
- See more at: http://www.studiodaily.com/2014/04/blackmagic-announces-new-4k-ursa-studio-cameras/#sthash.Gt1XenyK.dpuf
Blackmagic Design launched two new camera lines at NAB this week—the Blackmagic Studio Camera with an MFT lens mount and a 10-inch viewfinder on the back, facing the operator, which is available in HD ($1,995) and 4K ($2,995) versions, and the 4K Blackmagic Ursa, which features a similarly distinctive 10-inch fold-out monitor as well as a second, five-inch screen for scopes, settings, and status views. The Ursa is slated to ship in EF- ($5,995) and PL-mount ($6,495) versions in June or July, and in a B4 (price TBD) lens-mount version later this year.
Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty said the design of the Ursa was inspired by seeing the way many owners tricked out their Blackmagic Cinema Cameras with rails and accesories that gave it a larger form factor that made more sense for production crews. "This camera is the center of a multi-person workflow," he said, with different "zones" for the DP, for the assistant, and for audio. The new design also allows efficient cooling to enable higher frame rates (up to 60p in HD and Ultra HD).
The Ursa records in 12-bit lossless compressed Cinema DNG raw and ProRes formats, and dual CFast 2.0 card recorders are built in. It also has a global shutter image sensor that can be upgraded by the user if a new and improved sensor design becomes available. We were told by Blackmagic's Bob Caniglia that all that is required is an Allen wrench.
Blackmagic is so confident this design is a winner that the Ursa will be available in a unique "HDMI" configuration ($4,495) with no sensor at all. The lens mount is replaced by a cheese plate and a HDMI input, allowing another camera (a DSLR, for example) to be wired into the URSA and take advantage of the body design.

The Studio Camera is built in a magnesium alloy body with a four-hour battery, mic connections with phantom power, and bidirectional optical fiber and SDI connections for connecting to a live production switcher. The HD version is shipping now and the 4K version is scheduled for June delivery.
- See more at: http://www.studiodaily.com/2014/04/blackmagic-announces-new-4k-ursa-studio-cameras/#sthash.Gt1XenyK.dpuf
Blackmagic Design launched two new camera lines at NAB this week—the Blackmagic Studio Camera with an MFT lens mount and a 10-inch viewfinder on the back, facing the operator, which is available in HD ($1,995) and 4K ($2,995) versions, and the 4K Blackmagic Ursa, which features a similarly distinctive 10-inch fold-out monitor as well as a second, five-inch screen for scopes, settings, and status views. The Ursa is slated to ship in EF- ($5,995) and PL-mount ($6,495) versions in June or July, and in a B4 (price TBD) lens-mount version later this year.
Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty said the design of the Ursa was inspired by seeing the way many owners tricked out their Blackmagic Cinema Cameras with rails and accesories that gave it a larger form factor that made more sense for production crews. "This camera is the center of a multi-person workflow," he said, with different "zones" for the DP, for the assistant, and for audio. The new design also allows efficient cooling to enable higher frame rates (up to 60p in HD and Ultra HD).
The Ursa records in 12-bit lossless compressed Cinema DNG raw and ProRes formats, and dual CFast 2.0 card recorders are built in. It also has a global shutter image sensor that can be upgraded by the user if a new and improved sensor design becomes available. We were told by Blackmagic's Bob Caniglia that all that is required is an Allen wrench.
Blackmagic is so confident this design is a winner that the Ursa will be available in a unique "HDMI" configuration ($4,495) with no sensor at all. The lens mount is replaced by a cheese plate and a HDMI input, allowing another camera (a DSLR, for example) to be wired into the URSA and take advantage of the body design.

The Studio Camera is built in a magnesium alloy body with a four-hour battery, mic connections with phantom power, and bidirectional optical fiber and SDI connections for connecting to a live production switcher. The HD version is shipping now and the 4K version is scheduled for June delivery.
- See more at: http://www.studiodaily.com/2014/04/blackmagic-announces-new-4k-ursa-studio-cameras/#sthash.Gt1XenyK.dpuf

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Another seminar at San Marcos

And invitations keep on coming. Because of my interviews on TV and news media, I'm being asked to many places here in Lima and provinces to talk about the Pacific War and the film. Others request also seminars and workshops for their students if its a university.

Was invited to participate in a small conference at San Marcos university for the alumni of the History and Social Sciences career. The name in spanish is "New Ways to make History". Love to explain to students how important History is and show them how we see it from outside their campus., how valued it is and how important and vital it is to keep it alive. A country without history is a country without culture, and in a way, the film is a voice to those who are behind closed doors making research and to those who spend their lives between bookshelves and corridors. After it, some other proposals came. Let's see what happens. Like I told them, I'm in a way a frustrated historian and would have also loved to study it but, anyway, I read and research a lot about it so I'm following their path basically.

Its always good to be able to talk to alumni of this wonderful career and answer their inquires.

Apart from that, days before the event, I had a surprise call from someone I wasn't even expecting from: a descendant from a war hero in Arica: A direct descendant from Marcelino Varela. It was such a nice gesture from him to be able to to attend the seminar and talk afterwards about his ancestor. He was quite excited to see footage of the film where his great grandfather fought in.





With the organizers. Thank you guys.


With the great grandson of Marcelino Varela.



Signing of Pacific War books. One on the way.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gloria del Pacifico's website soon!

Getting close to finishing the film's official website. Had to dump the prior designer for not progressing at a steady pace and stalling delivery times (a thing I hate and specially when people make stupid excuses like if I were dumb or something) so now I'm working with the guys at Heedcom. Cristian Alvarez is such a great guy and very much into making something good and delivering a polished product. I like people like this. People that like to feel proud of their work.

Dropped by their office this Saturday to supervise the progress and its looking good so far. Brought an intro video that will play automatically. The idea came out from the film Gravity's website and similar ones. The video in Gravity's site is an 23MB MP4 video file having an HD resolution and it took maybe a minute or so to load here. The idea is to have my video play as quickly as possible but the problem is that we still don't have here in Lima high-speed internet so over there at the US it would play almost immediately while keeping the resolution high. I had to compress the video as much as possible down to 9 MB while keeping the same HD resolution. It loaded kinda quick and looks smooth and fine so....problem solved!

Also, I want the site to be very informative, not just show about the film but also proven war facts so anyone from students, history fans and serious people can learn from it. If I can entertain and teach at the same time I can consider myself satisfied.

I'm eager to have it done fast to put it online.

The intro video.

Testing smoothness and initial play speed.

Results overview.

Important to also show war facts from the film.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

A friendly chilean visit

My good chilean friend Enrique Robles visited again Lima and had the chance to meet again tonight. Being an army history magister himself, his interest and knowledge in the field and about the war is deep. Owning a collection of over 2,000 books in the topic, he truly is "talking library" and sharing info and talks about it is such a pleasure. Showed him some finished scenes from "Gloria del Pacifico" like last year and specially scenes that weren't finished yet so he could see the before-after comparison.

Thank you for your visit, my friend. I'll be seeing you soon but next time over there at your place in Santiago. :)

Thank you for your visit, Enrique.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gloria del Pacifico film seminar

End of last year, I was proposed to start expos and seminars about the film but time was tight and many things were restraining these from happening. Now its different and gave the first of many in schedule. This time at the Joint School of the Armed Forces (Escuela Conjunta de las Fuerzas Armadas).

200 + attendees among some civilians. A packed house meant a lot of interest and its a heart-warming experience to see interest in history and "Gloria del Pacífico". Showed a bit of scenes that were already finished and colored-corrected. Had the chance to talk about the process of creating the film, how it all came together, how my idea started, the hurdles passed in general and the mission to make audiences in Peru reflect on the errors made in the past and how we can avoid them now.

I can't stop mentioning my friend and fellow history-buff Peruvian Navy officer Captain Juan Carlos Llosa, who gladly invited me to the event.

Starting the seminar

A packed house of around 200 people.


Showcasing scenes of the film.





Shaking hands with people of similar history interest.