Juan Carlos Oganes' film-making and work blog.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cultural TV pilot

So, my friend Jose Alexis asked me to direct for him a TV show pilot.

It will be about cultural anecdotes of many popular places in Lima and province but that few people know details about.

Gerardo Zamora was invited to host this first section and many known artists and actors will be invited to explain and interview historians, war heroes' decendants and people who can sum valuable info on this good idea.

This first chapter was shot inside the beautiful Real Felipe castle near the port of Lima.

Wanted to shoot it in HD but the producers wanted to keep it SD for compatibility issues with their editing system. The sights were beautiful so it was a pitty not to be able to show structures in all their detail glory. Nonethless, it's a little good project and I hope it works its way to the stations and to the public. So far, we wanted to keep it simple but aesthetic and fun.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nikon D90 - a new toy in town

Now this is a nice transition for all pro photo and video lovers out there.

I consider myself so much into capturing moments and freezing memories for life. And if they are in "motion", the better. Sadly, few cameras feature extreme quality in both worlds of still and moving photography. I guess with this new baby out, this is gonna end and a dream will come true.

Enter the Nikon D90 12.9 (12.3 effective) Megapixel Digital still camera WITH 720p HD video recording! Yes folks, this new thing can record at 720p at 24fps. No more of those aweful quality 640x480 VGA lousy videos captured with your still cam. Of course, as one would assume, it doesnt stand up to the professional digital HD camcorders out there but it still is a great progress in the arenas of the digital HD world (I wouldn't trade my HVX no way!).

There's a new CMOS sensor and according to the Nikon press release it's D300 quality output all the way up to ISO 6400 and one thing being borrowed by the higher end models is the awesome 3.0-inch VGA screen as the D3/D300. It also has a Live Preview function and the needed dust removal option too. Another awesome feature is its HDMI output for the video!!....but i'm sure it has some drawbacks. There's no free lunch, u know, and as I compare and see, there's a lot similar to the D80, though there is a new shutter and 3D tracking AF seen on the D3/D300.

When I checked it out, the D90 is very similar to it's ancestor (the D80) and it looks to me more of an upgrade more than a complete new model replacement of the prior model, but what will really catapult this one to be a fav for many amateur and prosumer user will be the 'world's first' DSLR movie mode. I certainly wouldn't recommend to use it to make your films, of course, but what I saw was that -having the CMOS sensor and the use of 35mm lenses- I could have that depth-of-field so loved by us filmmakers. The holy grail of our "religious" motion-picture career without the need of any expensive adapter.

So, in brief, the camera has this features:
  • 12.9 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor (effective pixels: 12.3 million)
  • Dust removal system
  • Bigger, better screen (as D3, D300)
  • Live View with contrast detect AF
  • Movie Mode
  • Wider ISO range, upgraded AF system (3D tracking, face detection)
  • Active D-Lighting, vignetting control and extra retouching options
  • Automatic chromatic aberration correction
  • Picture Control presets
  • Faster continuous shooting and larger buffer
  • Pictmotion slideshows
  • 3.0-inch 920,000 pixel (VGA x 3 colors) TFT-LCD (same as D3 and D300)
  • Live View with contrast-detect AF, face detection
  • Image sensor cleaning (sensor shake)
  • Illuminated focus points
  • Movie capture at up to 1280 x 720 (720p) 24 fps with mono sound
  • IS0 200-3200 range (100-6400 expanded)
  • 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting (buffer: 7 RAW, 25 JPEG fine, 100 JPEG Normal)
  • Expeed image processing engine
  • 3D tracking AF (11 point)
  • Short startup time, viewfinder blackout and shutter lag
  • Slightly improved viewfinder (96% frame coverage)
  • Extensive in-camera retouching including raw development and straightening
  • Improved user interface
  • New optional compact GPS unit (fits on hot shoe)
  • Same battery and vertical grip as D80
  • Vignetting control in-camera
  • 72 thumbnail and calendar view in playback.

This new camera defintely is one to check (or to own for some serious photographers that would need the 720 HD feature). All in all this one is a serious contender to many still cams out there and for about $1 K (body only) its quite cheap for a model with this features.

UPDATE: It seems that some users have seen some "funny features" on this camera. The CMOS sensor has some serious issue that is skew: slow-read reset of the sensor and the results are some type of "funny" elastic motion like jelly shaking. Here is a video test I found on the net that shows it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Re-found an old treasure

Found again a little treasure I forgot its name of some years ago.
While doing some research for a TV show I was producing a few years back, the topic I wanted to focus on that week's show was our most old memories of my generation. Being in my 30's, all my farthest ones date back to second half of the 70's and all the 80's. Many people of my generation mostly run the media now in Peru and the lesser half are the old school who began doing TV way back in the 50's and 60's. Dinosaurs that have seen the progress of TV as we know it and live to tell it. My full respect to them.

I spent countless days laughing and amazed at some old stuff I couldnt even believe was still also being remembered by hundreds of other people: TV shows, old TV commercials, funny shampoo ads, old teenage bands, ridiculous girl stuff, memorable performances from long gone artists, places that were the "hot spot" back then, old fads, silly sneaker shoes that were the shit back then, videos that started a fashion, songs like "woodpecker's on space" that I used to dance to when I was so much into breakdancing, candy things that were the sensation, old sayings and slang words that started with my generation, when I used to chase the coca cola trucks all around the neighborhood in my BMX to collect their promotions when you saved ten bottle covers with the right word printed in the back, the late 70's jaopanese shows like Sankuokai or cartoons like Meteoro (Speed Racer now turned into a movie) which was the shit to me (and when I saw a rerun later in the 80's I was so surprised how in the world I could like that crap, but hey...I was just a kid!), old soccer games when I was heavy into soccer playing, Maradonna's "God's hand" when he scored against England and Argetina won the World Cup back in Mexico 86, watching my namesake Juan Carlos Oblitas do his amazing moves with the ball in Spain 82, etc, etc....and there is even this page that I was so crazed about called ARKIV (www.arkivperu.com) unmeasurable info on those years, years that are gone and won't come back but live in this colective memory of my generation in Peru....and Im sure of many in latin america!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The End of a Dream

After making the video many sensations came to me. One of the main ones was the fact of making a past dream that was good in its moment a present one. It was good while it lasted at least.

One of the things that sometimes one learns the hard way is the fact that one's dream is not necesarily other's no matter how good or similar they were to all. And although people that spent a part of their life together for a supposedly similar reason, they get their own personal impresions of one same experience instead of a colective one. Common sense as it should seem like, no matter how close a union can be, the parties get a hold of their own ideas out of something tangible no matter what.

And this is what I learned late -in a way- out of a colective musical dream that started sixteen years ago and that was put in hiatus several years back. As hard as it was to put together the members of this band for the video, it was good above all else to see my friends under one same roof performing what we shared "as-one" years ago. As sentimental as it may sound it was a good way to make things feel good nowadays.
Kinda like lighting a good old flame to make today good also. But sometimes things like that are just momentary or illusional....like this one.

Years pass, people change, priorities change and sometimes deep inside you think that people are remembering one simple time experience "as-one" but in most cases you are wrong. People form families, have kids, go on with their lives and eventually....change.

Anyway, it was good to see us back at least for one single simple video....while it lasted. Plans were made for a second one but the dream de-inflated and real personalities of each one came afloat making oneself hit a hard wall. Didn't see it coming but I kinda like thought about it lately.

People change....but dreams remain. At least in my head they will.
Maybe it was like my close friends said: "The music was your sole brainchild after all. Perhaps you needed a closure".
If it was like that then, as a good father, I will protect my child from loneliness.

Good bye hope....the music and the dream will be remembered always.