Darren Aronofsky has undertaken a very difficult task in producing a film based on the Biblical account of Noah, his family, and the global flood that wiped out the entire living world. That last sentence alone contains enough “hot-button” words to send every studio exec from New York to L.A. running for the hills, taking their money (i.e. the film’s budget) with them. What Hollywood studio would voluntarily take on a Bible story? Well, probably quite a few more than you would think as it’s been proven that the “faith market” is a financially viable corner in an otherwise secular movie culture. The Bible’s not the problem for the studio heads; it’s certain stories in the Bible that are the problem. Specifically, wherever there’s a whiff of Old Testament there is always a bit of trepidation as it is undoubtedly the more controversial of the two “testaments.” Add to that the controversy that surrounds the whole “global flood event” that the entire story of Noah and his family is founded upon, which itself opens the creation/evolution debate due to the Creationist view of the flood’s impact on our current world (and on the methods which date our current world). Additionally, though nearly every ancient culture contains records of an ancient flood, the Bible is the only book which attributes it to the God of the Old Testament. And, finally, there’s the whole Christian message which becomes obvious upon the slightest inspection (let alone the direct parallel revealed by Jesus in the book of Matthew) . That last part may not seem as apparent until one realizes exactly how Jesus draws the final parallel to Himself.
[Mat 24:37-39 NASB] 37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Basically, just as people died physically because they didn’t believe then, they will die spiritually because they do not believe now. In case you didn’t notice, it’s not popular to talk about eternal condemnation, hell, damnation, punishment, or sin of any kind these days.
So, as I said, Aronofsky has taken on quite the task here. However, I think it would be a mistake to think that this will be a word for word dramatization of the story presented in Genesis and preserved in the history and canon of Christianity. This will worry belivers and probably relieve the “anti-religious,” but I guess this post is for the believer as there is no significant word of warning I can give those who don’t even really believe the original, Biblical telling of the story is true
But, to my brothers and sisters in Christ, let me give you a fair heads-up about, “Noah,” in the following points:
1. Darren Aronofsky is not a Christian or a practicing Jew. Though Darren is Jewish by blood, he has said in several interviews that he is an agnostic (i.e.from his perspective, there may or may not be a God). So, to expect him to treat the material with the same level of reverence as we do would be a mistake. Darren has no reason to make great strains to stay faithful to the Biblical text. And, if you know anything about Aronofsky as a director, one things become very clear: he will not care what we think of, “Noah.”
Aronofsky is known for being nearly unmovable on his principles. He picks hills and dies on them no matter the cost and it’s what makes him an incredibly good director and writer.
2. There are several accounts of a global flood outside of the Bible. Nearly every ancient culture accounts for this event and many tell the story in a very similar way to the Bible but with clear distinctions (namely, a lack of the presence or power of, “Yahweh”) .
There have been a couple of reviews of the original screenplay around the web, and while I’d rather not link you to them as I think they may do more harm than good to our objective perspective on the film, they have been anything but encouraging by way of reinforcing any hopes that this film would remain true to even some of the core elements of the story of Noah. This, on top of some reference to current, “global-warming,” political themes, evidently distract and steer the direction of Aronofsky’s story
3. There will probably be things depicted visually that we would leave to simple text. This includes some of the more wicked things Noah does as well as some of the controversial activity surrounding the Nephilim of Genesis 6 (both of which are sexual in nature), not to mention a portion that may depict Adam and Eve without attempting to cover anyone up. And, lest you think this director is one to approach such things “tastefully,” let me assure you…..he is not. So, don’t be surprised if you hear about the film containing some sexual content. (I don’t know this for sure and, to be fair, am basing this insight on some older comments made by Aronofsky, so, things may have changed)
So then where does that leave us? Is there a good reason to see this film? Of course!
Darren is about to pull off what few have been able to do: telling a Biblical story with seriousness and some amazing creativity. The trailer for this film is enough to induce goosebumps and you’d have to be blind, deaf or dead not to be moved by the gravitas this film will obviously command. My perspective? Why can’t believers make films like this?
The closest thing I’ve seen come close is Mel Gibson’s, Passion of the Christ. Christians have got to start seeing the people of Scripture as real people, not as “demi-gods” and they’ve got to start learning how to use their creativity. The stories are there. The people are real. God is real! What other motivation do we need? Where’s our courage?
I, for one, will be first in line to see this film, regardless of whether I agree with how Aronofsky presents the story or not. I want to learn from him and I want to admire his ambition to take the Bible seriously when it comes to the arts. I can only hope other Christians will follow suit
UPDATE: Peter Collister has posted his test footage from the Red Dragon and WOW. THIS is the footage people wanted to see. Jaw-dropping stuff
Though it has been a long time coming, the Red Dragon has taken flight and Mark Toia of Australia has posted the first real look at some of the footage.
For those wondering what’s impressing us filmmakers the most, it would undoubtedly be the dynamic range and light sensitivity, especially when paired with 6K resolution. There is, at this time, nothing like it.
Mark shot at a 17:1 compression ratio, which, in laymans’ terms, means he opted to save space on his hard drives by compressing the image 17x over from it’s original, true, 1:1 form, where there was no compression (compression being the changing of a file, normally reductive, by getting rid of some of the information that was in the orignal file. In terms of photography, it normally means getting rid of redundant parts of a photo or video to save space (i.e. when shooting a red apple fully framed, compression will drop some of the red pixel information because it has enough other red pixel information to make up for it). Everyone of course would want to have completely uncompressed footage all the time, but that’s just somewhat impractical seeing as Mark said in his post over at Reduser that even these files (per frame) were coming in at 109MB a piece, which, if you are doing the math and know about file sizes, amounts to 2.6 GB per second if shooting 24fps (normal cinema mode)! Now, imagine shooting at 100fps (slow motion)! That’s nearly 11GB per second! And, if I’m understanding Mr. Toia correctly, that’s at the 17:1 compression. Imagine shooting double that data (using compression like 8:1 or 9:1)!
That above paragraph, which was supposed to be in laymans’ terms, basically means this camera gives you the absolute biggest bang for your buck. (the only camera that Mr. Toia claims comes even close is the Sony F65, which starts at a cool $65,000). Landing somehwere between $27k to $30k for the body, this more than halves the price of the F65 and outperforms it in seemingly every way ( pictures, resolution, color fidelity, camera size ).
Now this is the Epic Dragon (which either comes as the Epic M Dragon or the Epic X Dragon), not to be confused with the Epic MX, or the Epic M MX, or the Epic X MX, or the Red one MX or Scarlet MX. Confused? Basically boils down to this: Epic X vs Epic M refers to how it was manufactured, either by Machine (X) or by hand (M). Then you have the sensor types: Mysterium, MX (Mysterium-X) and Dragon. So if you Got an Epic X Dragon. You’d be getting an Epic Camera body with all of it’s internal processors (which provides for much better Slow Motion and other feautres as opposed to the Scarlet camera body), that was crafted by Machine with a Dragon Sensor inside. Scarlet X Dragon would have the Scarlet Body, machine made, with the Dragon sensor.
Very excited to see more in the next week (i’m sure there will be footage galore soon)
Just in case you missed it the other day, the Magic Lantern team have hacked into the 5d Mark III and given it the ability to record resolutions up to 3.5k in the Raw format. Granted there are some output resolution limitations to those things but I’ve found the best looking, absolutely jaw-dropping, footage is coming form the 1920×1080 Raw videos. I’ve included them below
It is widely accepted that the Canon 5D Mark ii was the product that started the “DSLR Revoultion,” thereby reawkening the independent spirit of American Filmmakers. It’s been about 5 years since it first hit the scene and it’s been about 4 years since the whole indi-dslr-filmmaker market shot up.
Since then, Canon has released the mark ii’s big brother, the mark iii, and while it has had fairly successful reviews, it was beginning to seem like Canon couldn’t finish the fight they started with companies like Blackmagic, Red, Sony, and Arri all starting to beat them at their own game.
Now, however, thanks to the infamous Magic Lantern group (who are responsible for the infmaous Magic Lantern hack which let’s you customize certain settings on your canon DSLR’s) the Canon 5d mark iii and soon to be 5d mark ii and 6d and the whole canon family willl be making the ultimate comeback as the newest hack allows you to get full RAW video at 24fps in resolutions up to 3.5k!!! And that is on a full frame sensor!!!
Who does this hurt most? Probably blackmagic and Red, though probably the former a bit more as they were just beginning to make some big splashes in the market for pocketable 1080p raw. They should stil fare well but this resurrection of the 5d family is about to rock the world of filmmaking all over again.
UPDATE 2: Cinescopophelia has the full scoop on what’s going down with Aaton (in the long and short, getting bought out, Delta had sensor issues on mass production, going forward with a new audio recorder and a new, less expensve presumably, digital, documentary style camera http://cinescopophilia.com/jean-pierre-beauviala-outlines-the-future-for-aaton/
UPDATE: Looks like aaton is unfortunately going out of business (at least, probably) which means we probably won’t get to see the Aaton Penelope Delta out in the wild, which is a shame because it was one of teh most exciting cameras to hit the market. Hit the linnk for more info http://cinescopophilia.com/have-aaton-have-gone-out-of-business/
There are few cameras I’m as excited to see and hopefully use as teh Aaton Penelope Delta and now Mitch Gross of Abel Cine has a really nice breakdown of Aaton cameras and specifically the features of teh Aaton Penelope Delta. Check it out!
So IMAX is actually trying to bring their experience to the home. Yes, the incredibly immersive, epic format is finding it’s new home in…your home. But, alas, just as their ticket prices, the ratio of cost to standard home theater setups (which, on their own, are plenty pricey) is evidently too much to be mentioned on the site. When you consider that imax projectors are in the $100k range, it’s understandable that this would be at least triple that with screen, seating, and room costs. Group buy anyone? Kickstarter maybe :)?
A couple weeks back I wrote a post taking a high level overview of what I thought to be the most impressive products coming out of NAB 2013. One of those products (maybe the MOST “showy” one) was the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. While I was excited to see it’s specs and that it performed RAW HD capture all while fitting into something just slightly thicker and taller than an iPhone 5, I was skeptical until some footage hit the internet market. Low and behold, we have our first glimpse thanks to Blackmagic’s go-to tester, John Brawley, and, to me, it’s extremely impressive. Click on the still below to see the video
Oh yeah, and it clocks in at about $995….which…for what you’re getting is beyond a steal.
So what do you think?